To encourage people to take up healthier travel for short local journeys, the Welsh Government have unveiled a £55 million funding package for Councils.
This record funding boost represents an eleven-fold increase in investment in Active Travel in the last five years. As part of a major push to support sustainable transport this big rise in investment supports the Welsh Government’s action on climate change.
“We want to make it easier for people to make everyday journeys in ways that benefits their help and the environment” Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said concerning the funding.
The 2021-22 budget has allocated more than £55m to be spent on active travel. This is an increase of £20m from last year – up from £5 Million in 2016 at the start of this Welsh Government term.
Making active travel more attractive
Aiming to create schemes which make it more attractive to walk and cycle the funding is part of a reform package which includes a major local consultation exercise in every local authority area.
Councils have been invited to apply for schemes that can make a real difference to the numbers walking and cycling in their areas.
They can use the money for small-scale schemes like upgrading narrow routes that have become overcrowded or removing barriers that block wheelchairs or cycle trailers. The funding can also facilitate the planning of bigger and more complex schemes.
We want local authorities to be ambitious in their plans
“Changing travel habits is not easy to achieve but we have to make a big effort if we are to tackle our health crisis and our climate crisis. We want local authorities to be ambitious in their plans, and to reach out to people who currently would not consider swapping a local car journey for a bike ride or a journey on foot and design safe routes that would encourage them to give it a try,” explained Lee.
Having published two sets of guidance designed to further improve conditions for active travel, the Welsh government want to ensure safety for cyclists and walkers when street works are put in place. They also outline guidance to ensure there are improvements on trunk roads.