The Welsh Government has issued new Active Travel Act guidance to assist local authorities in planning for and effectively designing high quality walking and cycling infrastructure.
The devolved Government is taking a different road to England, opting to trim back its future road building plans in the face of an intensifying climate crisis, instead pledging further support to active travel; albeit with just £75 million in funding available to make progress.
This approach fits with a broader vision displayed by the Welsh Authorities to decarbonise quickly. Meanwhile, the UK Government is being taken to court over its insistence to forge ahead with a British road building programme totalling £27 billion in spend, 13.5 times that budget given to both walking and cycling combined.
Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change announced the 476-page guidance at the weekend, at the same time stating: “We know that getting people out of cars for short journeys to cycle or walk is an ambitious agenda, but if we’re to meet our net zero carbon emission target by 2050 we need to take action now.
“Having the right infrastructure in place is key to encouraging more people to feel safe to walk and cycle and that’s why we’ve committed to investing significant funding in active travel this year.
“The guidance I have published today sets out our expectations of councils to take bold and ambitious steps when developing new infrastructure, so that more people have the confidence to make a change to the way they travel, benefitting both their own health and wellbeing and helping to reduce the impact on our environment.”
The guidance is thorough, delivering everything from design standards for both cyclists and pedestrians (also now available to English authorities) through to how to appropriately surface tracks and manage cycling alongside motoring where pinch points exist. The delivery of infrastructure standards is not just laid in tarmac either, cycle parking is covered off, as are electric bike charging facilities, suggesting some future proofing has been considered.
You can read the Active Travel Act guidance document in full here.