The Welsh Government has allocated the first funding for councils to implement schemes developed under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013.
The Act is the world’s first legislation requiring all councils to map and subsequently construct active travel networks. The first years since the Act was passed have been taken up with mapping existing and future provision.
The Welsh Government has earmarked £60m over the next three years for authorities to begin implementing their plans. The first £10m of the Active Travel Fund has now been awarded. Each authority was invited to bid for one strategic scheme and one local scheme or package of local schemes. From the total of 35 bids, the Government selected 11 strategic and 13 local schemes, from 18 councils, to be designed or delivered this financial year.
Swansea is the biggest winner, receiving £1.1m for a package of schemes and £968,000 for its northern strategic route. Flintshire is awarded £1m for active travel and bus infrastructure in Zone 2 of the Deeside Industrial Park, and £697,000 for an active travel path in Greenfield Valley.
Cardiff will commence construction of Wales’ first cycle superhighways, with £880,000 for works in the Cardiff University area and a route known as the South West Link. Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire and Powys receive funding for new bridges.
Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) receives £125,000 for a strategic “Merthyr tunnels” active travel route. Last month Assembly Member Lee Waters, who instigated the Active Travel Act when he was national director of Sustrans Cymru, said active travel funding should not be used for schemes to open two former railway tunnels – one of which connects RCT to Merthyr – as walking and cycling routes. He argued that they would be leisure routes rather than active travel routes (LTT 20 Jul).
Merthyr and Wrexham receive funding despite the Government rejecting their network maps in February. They were ordered to submit new maps by 27 August, as were Anglesey and Blaenau Gwent, which receive no funding. Newport and Gwynedd receive no funding, though their maps were approved.
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