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Residents’ views sought on Neath Port Talbot Walking and Cycling routes

Credit: Neath Port Talbot Council

People living in Neath Port Talbot will soon be asked for their views on both existing and planned walking and cycling (Active Travel) routes in the county borough.

This follows earlier Active Travel consultation which took place from November 27th, 2020 to January 15th, this year with a total of 2,642 contributions received and 1,040 people responding.

Active Travel, aimed at giving as many people as possible the ability to choose an alternative to motorised travel, is defined as walking and cycling for everyday purposeful short-distance journeys, not including journeys purely made for recreation or social reasons.

The Active Travel Act (Wales) 2013 requires Welsh councils to prepare, publish and keep under regular review an Active Travel Network Map (ATNM) which comprises:

• Existing routes – a public record of the existing routes in the County Borough the council considers suitable for Active Travel meeting Welsh Government standards; and

• Future routes – setting out the council’s aspirations for the next 15 years, identifying improvements to existing routes or additional new routes the council considers should be added to the network.

The council’s ATNM has been reviewed, taking into account earlier comments received from the public and interested parties, and a new Consultation Draft ATNM has now been prepared. This sets out existing routes in built up areas and the council’s aspirations for the next 15 years.

Towards the end of next month (July 2021), a 12-week public consultation exercise will begin on the revised map enabling comments to be submitted and considered and changes made where appropriate to ensure the ATNM is fit for purpose.

At the same time the council will also be launching an active travel video competition with the opportunity to win one of ten Fitbits  –  keep an eye on the council’s social media accounts for further information!

Among the future routes included on the map are Brynamman to Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, Glynneath to Blaengwrach, Croeserw to Cymmer and other routes in areas such as Pontardawe, Seven Sisters, Crynant, Cwmavon and Resolven.

A total of 35 existing routes that have previously not met Active Travel requirements have been re-audited and as a result, a further 10 routes are now considered to meet Active Travel requirements and have been added to the revised ATNM as existing routes.

These include Neath Canal and the cycle route in Pontardawe following the implementation of improvements on these routes.

The map will be an important document for the council and should be considered part of the planning decision making process so aspirations are realised as part of ongoing developments, either directly or by means of financial contributions from developers.  Welsh Government Active Travel funding is also available to deliver the maps.