News comes ahead of Welsh Environment Minister riding 285 miles from Holyhead to Cardiff to promote cycling

Welsh Transport Minister Carl Sargeant has announced a number of initiatives in Wales that will benefit from a total of £5 million funding made available by the Welsh Assembly Government to local authorities to help develop safe walking and cycling routes across the principality.

The news was announced on Friday, two days before one of Mr Sargeant’s ministerial colleagues embarked upon a bike ride from one end of Wales to the other to promote the benefits of cycling.

Among the projects that will benefit from the funding announced by Mr Sargeant, and which are due to e delivered in 2012/13, are:

  • Aberbeeg  Community Link - improvements to pedestrian & cycling routes between Aberbeeg & Six Bells - £156,000
  • Coychurch - speed reduction measures, reduced kerb heights, improved junctions, signage improvements - £180,000
  • Pembrey - 20mph zones, traffic calming measures, provision of new & improved crossing points, road widening - £558,000
  • Bodedern – including a new footpath, zebra crossing, speed restrictions and improved pedestrian facilities in the community around the school - £184,000
  • Ruthin – scheme will provide improvements across the community by introducing additional pedestrian crossings and cycle storage facilities - £120,000.

Mr Sargeant commented: “Only by providing people with realistic and enjoyable alternative options to the car can achieve our aim of changing people’s attitude towards transport and develop a truly sustainable transport system in Wales.

“The benefits of using sustainable transport are wide ranging, from enjoying healthy exercise as you walk or cycle to work to reducing congestion in our towns and cities,” he continued.

“We are all aware of the need to reduce our carbon footprint, and walking and cycling instead of driving can help to make a real difference."

“This welcome funding will go towards enabling local authorities to promote sustainable travel through a combination of initiatives that will encourage people to walk and cycle more,” Mr Sargeant concluded.

Meanwhile, John Griffiths, Assembly Member for Newport East and the Welsh Environment Minister, set out on his 285-mile ride from Holyhead on Sunday. He is due to arrive in Cardiff on Wednesday afternoon.

The trip , which is aimed at emphasising the benefits of cycling, will also raise money for the Welsh Government’s nominated charities for 2012, Tools for Self Reliance Cymru and The Alzheimer’s Society.

“I am delighted to be undertaking the 285-mile bike ride from Holyhead to Cardiff," said Mr Griffiths.

"I am very much looking forward to cycling through Wales’ stunning countryside and to making use of some of our fabulous cycling routes which attract so many tourists to Wales,” he explained before embarking on his trip.

“Although 285 miles might be a bit much for some people, I would encourage anyone to get out on their bikes. It really is a great way of keeping fit, and an enjoyable way of enjoying Wales’ unique coast and countryside, particularly over the Easter break," he added. 

“Cycling is also often a quick, cheap and easy way of travelling short journeys and could really help us to reduce our reliance on cars and cut down on our carbon emissions.”

Mr Griffiths, who has previously completed the Wiggle Dragon Ride, is being accompanied on various parts of his journey by Welsh Government staff, as well as a representative of sustainale transport charity, Sustrans.

You can follow Mr Griffiths’ journey through his official Twitter stream, @EnviroMinWales.

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.