Sustrans Cymru believes that the success of the ‘Yes’ vote in last week’s referendum in Wales on giving the Welsh National Assembly greater legislative powers, rather than waiting on approval from Whitehall, can be a catalyst in boosting provision of infrastructure for walkers and cyclists in the principality.
Last month, we reported that the Welsh branch of the sustainable transport charity had given its backing to the ‘Yes’ campaign, with Lee Waters, director of Sustrans Cymru, highlighting the obstacles caused by the current system.
In the wake of last Thursday’s vote, Sustrans Cymru says that it “is looking forward to helping Wales lead the way as a walking and cycling-friendly nation following success for the Yes Campaign.”
The proposal to grant the Welsh National Assembly greater law-making powers was enthusiastically endorsed by voters, who were in the majority in 21 of the 22 local authority areas in Wales.
When the issue was last put to the vote in 1997, the Yes vote secured a majority of just 0.6% across Wales as a whole, an insufficient margin for the proposal to be adopted.
This time, however, the ‘Yes’ camp clearly won the day by a factor of nearly two to one, gaining 517,132 votes, 63.5% of the total, against the 297,380 (36.5%) voting ‘No’.
Mr Waters, who acted as one of the principal organisers of the ‘Yes’ campaign, which attracted cross-party support, undertaking the role of vice chair, said: “Sustrans has been backing the Yes campaign based our own direct experience of the slow law-making process in Wales.
“We're delighted to have played a part in reforming that process, allowing Wales to lead the way in requiring Highways Authorities to provide for walking and cycling in the same way they do for car travel.
“It's an important development for Wales' transport system that has been held up in Whitehall for three-and-a-half years. Now that obstacle has been removed we can look forward to making active travel a more realistic option for everyone.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.