The four year blueprint aims to get more people to walk and cycle safely as part of their daily lives. It brings together a range of key initiatives and policies with the sole objective of getting more people, both young and old, to walk and cycle more.
Launching the plan at the Wales Millennium Centre, the Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones and Environment Minister Jane Davidson underlined the importance of the initiative.
Mr Wyn Jones said:
More walking and biking in Wales is a win-win situation on all fronts. It will ease congestion, lower emissions and address growing obesity levels. If levels of activity increase we will have a healthier nation. Surveys show that 57% of adults in Wales are either overweight or obese. We can transform this through making changes to our daily lives.
Ms Davidson said:
The truth is too many of us still opt to take the car when we could walk or cycle. The car is still king in Wales, with the majority of journeys being less than five miles long. This plan aims to change that. We want to enhance and link up cycle routes on an all-Wales basis and support communities to make a difference. Importantly, we want to change people’s behaviour and attitudes.
More walking and cycling will mean a healthier Wales, but also be good for the environment. Making more trips by bike or on foot will mean fewer cars on the road, lower carbon emissions and will contribute to our fight against climate change.
Main points of plan
Jane Davidson also revealed new targets:
We will take action to encourage people to change their behaviour when it comes to travelling to work or picking up the children from school. Currently, only 39% of children walk to school. I want to see this figure increased to at least meet the UK average of 46% by 2013. Only 10% of adults walk to work, and I want to see this doubled to 20%, again by 2013. I also want to triple the number of people who use a bike to get to work.
The Walking and Cycling Action Plan identifies a number of actions, including:
Prioritising walking and cycling in public transport investments
Encouraging employers to offer incentives to employees; for example through the tax free bike purchase scheme and the use of a mileage expense rate for cycling
Introducing National Standards for cycle training and supporting cycle instructor training
Ensuring that local authorities provide and maintain high quality routes and facilities for cyclists
Increasing provision of safe traffic free walking routes to schools and workplaces through continuation of the
Assembly Government’s Safe Routes in Communities Programme
Using EU funding to improve the quality of the cycling and walking tourism product
Opening an all Wales Coast Path, including provision for bikes in appropriate places, which be complete in time for the 2012 Olympics
Implementation of Rights of Way Improvement Plans by all local authorities
Introduction of the Sustainable Travel Town project in Wales
Sustainable transport charity Sustrans Cymru is marking today’s new plan by launching a toolkit of advice, which is already helping staff at the Wales Millennium Centre to make their commute more active.
Jane Lorimer, Deputy Director for Sustrans Cymru, said:
We have become far too reliant on using the car for short journeys that a generation ago we would have thought nothing of walking or cycling, and this is increasing health problems such as obesity. Yet it can actually be quicker and easier to walk or cycle many everyday journeys – whether it’s to work, to school, the shops or to visit family and friends.
23 February 2009