The Board was given a presentation on the Economic Contract review. A task and finish group have reviewed the current contract and set out its recommendations to the Minister. This includes strengthening the contract, increasing its impact, reaching more businesses, celebrating the best companies, supporting the recovery and supporting Welsh Government staff and businesses to achieve the best outcomes.
The proposed changes include updating the names of the four pillars and addressing the misapprehension that a ‘gold standard’ is adopted through the Contract. Instead the Contract provides assurance of a minimum standard and supports companies to improve.
The Board offered advice for how the Economic Contract could be strengthened going forward and suggestions for how their own organisations could help develop this area of work.
Learner travel measure review
The Board was given an overview of the Learner Travel Measure Review, with the principle aim to revisit provisions 2-10. As part of the review, stakeholder views and comments are welcomed. There has been a lot of data received from local authorities and it is clear there is a huge disparity in provision across Wales. With the review ongoing it is likely that further work will be needed in the next administration to fully define the scope, benefits, costs, and implications of making changes to the measure.
The review was welcomed by the Board who raised some areas for consideration including the impact assessments on areas such as Welsh medium education and faith schools. It was also highlighted that the existing requirement for Ministers to promote sustainable travel should still be included and in addition examples provided of how this could be implemented. The provision in Scotland allows for financial support for purchasing bikes instead of bus fares and it was suggested this could also be included in Wales. There was also a discussion on consideration for disabled students who often have to travel further for appropriate education provision.
Active Travel targets and themes
The Chair presented the Board with an overview of setting targets and themes in relation to active travel. This work has been requested by the Deputy Minister. The Board was encouraged to provide comments and views in order to strengthen the advice given to Ministers.
The Wales Transport Strategy (WTS) sustainable travel hierarchy was stressed as critical for funding and set the tone for the kind of Wales and environment we want to live in, highlighting the need for communities built for people instead of private cars. This requires a whole area approach and feeds into other key strategies and plans such as the 20mph zones and pavement parking. The Chair stated the economic benefits of active travel should be discussed and considered more. It was also emphasised that targets should adopt an overall mode share, consider what data is available, the practicability of targets and also the inclusivity of targets.
The Chair also stated the creation of an Active Travel for All sub-group, with involvement from Disability Wales, will be crucial in engaging with key partners.
The Board welcomed the presentation and discussed how the proposals could be strengthened and progressed to ensure they are effective in promoting and encouraging more active travel in Wales.
ATB sub group: Active Travel to schools
The Board was provided with a brief update on the Active Travel to Schools sub-group. Unfortunately due to other priorities, as a result from the ongoing pandemic, the group have not been able to meet until very recently. The long term plan for promoting active travel to school will be developed and a further update will be provided as soon as possible. It was confirmed the Hands Up Survey will be rolled out in September.
ATB sub group: behaviour change
There was a brief update on the sub-group’s progress. This includes the plan to develop a case study, which will focus on a particular area and produce a specific design of measures. The case study will then be used as a success story to encourage other stakeholders.
ATB sub group: training
The Board was updated on the Training sub-group. Involvement of members of the group in discussions with local authorities preparing for the appraisal of the Active Travel Fund, has helped inform the understanding of training needs. The group intends to widen its membership to include professional institutions and academics. Sustrans has been carrying out work internally, assessing how their own training could be introduced to external stakeholders. It was also highlighted that Phil Jones Associates had provided active travel training to construction firm Amey.
Date of the next meeting 3 June 2021