Welsh Government promises to build “stronger, fairer, greener Wales”
As the wider UK faces uncertainty in the run-up to Christmas, the Welsh Government has taken the initiative to plan for the future as it outlines its spending commitments for the next three years.
The draft Budget aims to respond to the climate and nature emergency facing Wales, while also looking to support key public services such as the Welsh NHS.
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said:
“This Budget will support the Wales of today and shape the Wales of tomorrow. It will support our public services to be stronger, put Wales further down the path to being a net-zero nation, and create a fairer nation with equality at its heart.”
The Welsh Government currently has a target of 45 percent of journeys being made by sustainable modes by 2040, and in its draft Budget has allocated £220m of capital in Active Travel infrastructure programmes up to 2024-25.
An additional £107.5m capital investment up to 2024-25 has also been pledged towards a sustainable transport system, which includes the wider roll-out of a 20mph speed limit reduction.
Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK’s spokesperson in Wales reacted positively to the news.
“Cycling UK welcomes the Welsh Government draft budget three-year commitment to significant investment in active and sustainable transport,” said Ms Owen. “We hope the promise of continuing high levels of funding through the active travel infrastructure programme over the next three years will enable local authorities to be bold and better deliver on the promise of the Active Travel Act.
“Additional financial support for the planned 20mph roll-out, to ensure that new schools are accessible by active travel could go a long way to creating communities where cycling is an easier choice to make.”
Additional financial support for the planned 20mph roll-out, to ensure that new schools are accessible by active travel could go a long way to creating communities where cycling is an easier choice to make.
The Welsh Government has also recognised the need to help the people of Wales engage in the need to take action over climate change. To assist this process it is investing an additional £3.5m up to 2024-25 in research, behavioural and social science.
An additional £12m revenue and total £900m capital over the same period has also been earmarked for the development of net-zero schools and colleges, which will link up with active and sustainable travel routes.
Both moves are welcomed by Cycling UK.
“Transport contributes towards 20% of emissions with 56% of those journeys under five miles,” points out Gwenda Owen. “Cycling UK therefore urges the Government to direct its investment towards behaviour change programmes which encourage more cycling and walking for local journeys.”