Cabinet have recently noted and formally approved the results of consultation on the draft Active Travel Network Map (ATNM).
The Cabinet’s approval enables Caerphilly County Borough Council’s ATNM, that was conditionally submitted to WG by the 31st December 2021 deadline, to be formally endorsed and ensures that the Council’s statutory obligation is met.
Since the formal approval of the new maps, it is the intention of Welsh Government to publish this on their datamap website. This will hold not only Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Active Travel map but also other maps provided by Local Authorities throughout Wales. Stakeholders will be able to view these in the coming weeks.
A three-stage public consultation was undertaken, the final stage of which encompassed a statutory 12-week public consultation to seek residents’ and stakeholders’ views on the existing and proposed new routes. Approval of the final version of the ATNM was required to endorse the conditional submission of the map to Welsh Government made by their deadline of the 31st December 2021.
The Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 requires all local authorities in Wales to continuously improve their active travel routes and plan how routes will join up to form networks so that people can more easily get around by bicycle or as a pedestrian for their everyday journeys to work, school and other local destinations.
Active travel means walking and cycling, including the use of mobility scooters, for everyday journeys. This includes journeys to school, to work, to the shops or to access services, such as health or leisure centres. Active travel does not include walking and cycling for recreational purposes, however, there are obvious benefits from such routes. Active travel is important in promoting healthier lifestyles and reducing the negative impacts of traffic upon our neighbourhoods and communities.
The Act aims to make active travel the most attractive option for shorter journeys. In addition to producing active travel maps, the Act requires LAs in Wales to deliver year on year improvements in active travel routes and facilities, to make enhancements to routes and facilities for pedestrians and cyclists in new road schemes, to have regard to the needs of walkers and cyclists in a range of other highway authority functions and to promote active travel.
The Act only applies to specific ‘designated’ areas in Wales, which have been determined by WG and are based on the population size of settlements. Those communities/ areas included within the Act within Caerphilly County Borough are as follows:
The map includes details of:
- The existing active travel routes already approved by WG following submission of the Integrated Network Map (INM).
- Future proposals for improving and expanding the active travel network.
Details of the consultation exercise are laid out in section 10 of the report presented to Cabinet, along with a summary of the responses, but there was broad support for the proposals of the ATNM as presented. This information was also reported to the Environment and Sustainability Scrutiny committee at their meeting on the 7th December 2021 and the draft ATNM was unanimously supported. Therefore, the ATNM as it stands was submitted to WG by the 31st December 2021 deadline, subject to formal approval by Cabinet.
The development and delivery of the proposals will be dependent on funding continuing to be available for active travel schemes, primarily from WG. The requirements of future funding opportunities for active travel may influence which schemes are progressed in the short-term, in order to ensure those schemes that have the greatest likelihood of obtaining funding are prioritised.
Cllr James Pritchard, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure & Property commented, “I would like to thank those who participated in the consultations to allow us to get to this stage.
“We, as a local authority, are committed to working towards re-imagining and reshaping our spaces to accommodate cycling, walking and active travel. We have an opportunity to build a better future that delivers more for our residents and future generations, socially and economically, creating cleaner, greener and healthier communities.”