Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities
The Active Travel (Wales) Bill has been laid today. The Active Travel Bill is a key action in the Programme for Government and is included in the Welsh Government’s Legislative Programme.
The purpose of the Bill is to require local authorities to continuously improve facilities and routes for pedestrians and cyclists and to prepare maps identifying current and potential future routes for their use. The Bill will also require new road schemes (including road improvement schemes) to consider the needs of pedestrians and cyclists at the design stage.
Specifically, the Bill makes provision:
- for approved maps of existing active travel routes and related facilities
- for approved integrated network maps of the new and improved active travel, routes and related facilities needed to create an integrated network of active travel routes and related facilities,
- requiring local authorities to have regard to integrated network maps in preparing transport policies and to make continuous improvement in the range and quality of active travel routes and related facilities, and
- requiring the Welsh Ministers and local authorities, in constructing and improving highways, to have regard to the desirability of enhancing the provision made for walking and cycling.
The Bill is intended to enable more people to walk and cycle and generally travel by non-motorised transport. We want to make walking and cycling the most natural and normal way of getting about. We want to do this so that more people can experience the health benefits, we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and we can help address poverty and disadvantage. At the same time, we want to help our economy to grow, and we want to take steps that will unlock sustainable economic growth.
We are seeking to use legislation to reinforce the idea of active travel as a viable mode of transport and a suitable alternative to motorised transport for shorter journeys. We want to have better information provision, and better forward planning processes, which allow a more strategic use of funding and drives activity so that it is focused on promoting active travel. The ultimate aim of the legislation is to create an environment where it is safer and more practical to walk and cycle than it is at present.