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Bill passed to boost cycling in Wales

Monday 4th November 2013

Better walking and cycling networks around Wales have been promised under a Bill passed by the Welsh Assembly Government (BBC News).

The Welsh Government says The Active Travel Bill is designed to encourage alternatives to car use, but the BBC News report says that some councils are concerned that they will not be given sufficient funding to realise plans. John Griffiths, sports minister, said £12m is available for new travel routes.

Speaking before the vote, Jane Lorimer, national director for Sustrans Cymru, the transport group, told BBC Radio Wales that the bill “is a good piece of strong legislation that will really make a difference in Wales”.

However, Jeff Jones, a local government consultant and former leader of Bridgend Council, said the bill was “gesture politics” that was not backed by enough finance to make a real difference.

Mr Jones said: “Producing a map is not going to produce a culture change. If you are serious about this it requires a lot of money.”

John Griffiths, culture and sport minister, said: “Once we have got our legislation on the statue book it is going to be a really important focus. £12m is a considerable amount of money and, of course, we are not starting from scratch.

“There are already some really good cycle routes in Wales but they are not extensive enough and they do not connect up well enough.

“So we have to build on what we already have but a lot of this is about changing mindsets, encouraging people to make the transition, get out of their cars, and on to their bikes and walking.”

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Yes hills can be a problem, but most utility journeys are within the community which, having been established before the age of the car, generally follow the contours of the valley. Also, large parts of our coastal cities are generally flat and that is where most of the population and cycling is.
Mark, Caerphilly

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)
+3

When I learned to ride a bike in West Wales, hills seemed to be a problem - but how I longed for them when I moved (briefly) to Cambridgeshire! Not just for the wonderful views but also for the downhill adrenalin.
Idris Francis Fight Back with Facts Petersfield

Agree (4) | Disagree (3)
+1

It's going to take a lot more money, billions in fact, and a lot more time, maybe 10 or 20 years and quite severe legislation (I am just waiting for that one) to effect a so called 'culture change' in favour of bicyclists. Cynic that I am.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)
+6

Maybe flattening a few of those somewhat inconvenient hills might give cycling in Wales an even bigger boost.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)
+3