Spend on active travel in Wales will hit £20 per head during the 2021/22 financial year, far above the per capita investment in walking and cycling in the other countries that make up the UK.
News of the iinvestment follows the publication on Sunday of the Welsh Government’s Llwybr Newydd – New Path transport strategy, under which it aims for 45 per cent of journeys to be made by public transport, walking and cycling by 2040.
The first tranche of money released under the Active Travel Fund will total £47 million to be shared between 44 projects, with further funding of £20 million coming later in the year. Separately, £6.4 million will be provided to help fund safe routes to schools.
The Labour-led government says that the investment, which marks a near-fifteenfold increase on the spend at the start of the current government term in 2016, underlines it commitment to putting the new transport strategy into force.
Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, commented: “Over the past five years we’ve been able to dramatically increase the amount we spend on active travel, and this shows our commitment to taking forward the vision we outlined in our new transport strategy.
“Before the establishment of the dedicated Active Travel Fund, active travel projects not focused on schools had to compete for general local transport grant funding, without a set budget. The Active Travel Fund has grown since 2018 from its initial £10 million to £70 million for 2021/22.
“Continuing our funding to create safe routes to schools is particularly important as we know that embedding healthy travel habits early leads to lasting benefits.
“Our investment will lead to better connected towns and cities and contributes to efforts to tackle the climate emergency, cut congestion, improve public health and clean up our air quality,” he added.
Responding to the publication of the Llwybr Newydd – New Path strategy, Christine Boston, Director of Sustrans Cymru said: “We are pleased to see a clear steer away from the private car in this final edition of the Wales Transport Strategy.
"We commend the way the Welsh Government have embedded modal shift, the sustainable transport hierarchy, and recognised the need to focus on changing people’s behaviour to achieve a transformation in the way we travel.
"This transport strategy will ensure a cleaner, greener and more inclusive transport network is established, that will better connect communities now and create a lasting legacy for future generations.”
She added: "We truly hope cross-party support for this agenda will enable the next Welsh Government to move ahead swiftly with the delivery plans once the new Senedd term starts.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.