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Council secures £6.94m funding to support active travel plans

Credit: RCT Council

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has secured £6.94m funding support from Welsh Government across its Active Travel and Safe Routes in Communities funds for 2024/25 – to help progress and deliver several schemes this year.

The two funds are available for councils in Wales to bid to each year, with officers putting forward local schemes for consideration. The Active Travel Fund supports projects that contribute to a shared vision that walking and cycling is the natural mode of choice for people’s short, everyday journeys.

With a similar aim, the Safe Routes in Communities Fund supports ‘school streets’ schemes that improve pedestrian safety in areas near school sites.

Welsh Government has recently confirmed its funding allocations for 2024/25 – £6.253m has been secured from the Active Travel Fund, while £695,000 will be received from the Safe Routes in Communities Fund.

A breakdown of these successful funding allocations is included below:

Active Travel Fund (2024/25) – £6,253,700

  • Core Allocation (£1.05m) minor improvements/scheme development:

– Cynon Trail improvement, Cwmbach Road/Canal Road in Cwmbach.

– Taff Trail upgrades south of Nant Cae Dudwg Bridge, Trallwn.

– Active travel route between Treorchy and Treherbert.

– Town centre enhancements in Aberdare.

– Town centre enhancements in Pontypridd.

– Various route enhancements, including Lady Windsor in Ynysybwl.

– Promotion and monitoring and updates to the Active Travel Network Map.

  • Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route, Phase Four (£4.269m):

– Delivery of Phase Four works through Ferndale.

– Completion of design work for Phase Five.

  • Cynon Trail Link and Enhancements (£934,700):

– Upgrading the Riverside Bridge in Llwydcoed to an active travel compliant structure, and river embankment improvements.

Safe Routes in Communities Fund (2024/25) – £695,350

  • Hirwaun Safe Routes Scheme, year two (£379,350)

– Pedestrian crossing installations at Rhigos Road and High Street, along with improvements at the Brecon Road/Harris Street junction.

  • Hawthorn Safe Routes Scheme (£316,000)

– Pedestrian links, road safety measures and active travel provision in the streets near Hawthorn High and Hawthorn Primary schools.

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Investment, said: “I’m pleased the Council has secured significant funding of almost £7m across the Active Travel and Safe Routes in Communities funds for the year ahead. We’ve been successful in bidding to these funds for several years, helping us develop and deliver local projects – as we share Welsh Government’s aim of encouraging more people to walk and cycle everyday journeys, as an alternative to driving.

“More than £4.2m is secured to continue our development and delivery of the Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route, a 10km shared path between Maerdy and Tylorstown being built in five phases. The allocation will enable us to construct Phase Four through Ferndale and complete the design work for Phase Five.

“Several schemes were developed using last year’s Active Travel Fund and will be progressed to the next stages of design in 2024/25. They include town centre work in Aberdare and Pontypridd and Cynon Trail improvements through Cwmbach. Construction works will also include the replacement of the Riverside bridge in Llwydcoed. Upgrades to the Lady Windsor route from Ynysybwl to Pontypridd were completed in early 2024, and funding is now secured for a second phase of work. Investigations also recently took place for Taff Trail upgrades at Trallwn, which can now be progressed.

“Meanwhile, Safe Routes in Communities schemes for Hawthorn and Hirwaun have also received combined funding of almost £700,000. As part of our major school investments, we look at how the streets surrounding each school can be improved – to promote walking and cycling, and to improve safety. We recently delivered such a scheme in Church Village, ahead of the brand new main building for Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School opening in April 2024.

“The scheme in Hawthorn will get underway from May 13, with improvements to various footways and active travel provision being implemented in the weeks ahead – to complement the opening of Ysgol Afon Wen in September. The Hirwaun scheme represents a second phase of work after the completion of pedestrian safety upgrades at various locations throughout the village – which started in January 2024. Again, this complements the investment in a brand new school for Hirwaun Primary, which was completed in 2021.”