Major funding boost to promote healthy travel

The Welsh Government has unveiled a new £55 million funding package offering local authorities the opportunity to improve walking and cycling routes.

Councils are being encouraged to put forward ideas and projects that could boost active travel networks and Wrexham’s Member of the Senedd, Lesley Griffiths, has written to Wrexham Council encouraging them to take advantage.

The record funding boost represents an eleven-fold increase in the dedicated budget for investment in Active Travel in the last five years.

As well as looking to capitalise on changing travel habits during the coronavirus pandemic, the significant rise in investment is part of a major push to support sustainable transport as part of the Welsh Government’s action on climate change.

Lesley Griffiths MS has written to the Leader of Wrexham Council on the matter and said: “Changing people’s travel habits is not an easy task but an unexpected consequence of the pandemic is a visible increase in the number of people walking, jogging and cycling around Wrexham.

“It’s important we grasp this opportunity to make lasting change.  Improving our active travel routes will make walking and cycling a more attractive proposition, ultimately encouraging more people to forget about using their car for those everyday journeys.

“Local authorities in Wales are required by law to make ongoing improvements to walking and cycling routes and I have urged Wrexham Council to submit their latest proposals to Welsh Government.”

The new funding is part of a reform package which includes a major local consultation exercise in every local authority area to create a pipeline of schemes to make it more attractive to walk and cycle.

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, as well as for the planning of bigger and more complex schemes.

Councils will be encouraged to work together to better connect places that may happen to lie in different council areas, but where many people travel between.