Today, I am announcing the allocation of £38m in grants to local authorities across Wales for active travel and road safety schemes.
In May, we notified local authorities of their successful schemes under the Safe Routes in Communities Grant and the Road Safety Grant, which will be complemented by the Active Travel Fund, which I am allocating today.
Together with the £15.4m funding, which was released on 19June to reallocate road space and create safe conditions for walking, cycling and public transport users in response to Covid 19, these grants represent the largest ever investment in local active travel improvements in Wales.
The Active Travel Fund provides £20m to directly fund 25 larger schemes and packages of schemes in 14 local authorities. In addition, it provides all local authorities with a share of £9m to take forward smaller improvements in their active travel networks and prepare larger schemes to be brought forward.
The Safe Routes in Communities grant of £4.14m will support 22 schemes, specifically focused on creating safe walking and cycling routes to schools across 17 local authorities.
The Road Safety Capital grant of £3.88m will support 18 schemes across 12 local authorities. All local authorities have been awarded a share of £950,000 revenue to take forward training initiatives.
Over the last few months, during the lockdown period, we have seen many more people walking and cycling to make everyday journeys. Collectively, the funding we are making available will create routes and connections in towns and cities across Wales to give people the confidence to continue walking and cycling.
The Welsh Government is prioritising considerable resource to deliver active travel schemes. We now expect to see local authorities committing to work with their communities to come forward with a pipeline of future schemes, which will encourage more people to walk and cycle for everyday local journeys. This needs to follow the best practice design advice we are consulting on.
This is a long-term agenda to change our travel habits in ways which benefits people’s health and the environment. The approach to date has not achieved the change in behaviour we want to see and we expect all partners to raise their game to match the additional resources we are committing.
Many of the schemes supported through this funding will enable people to access town and city centres across Wales and complement our wider efforts to reinvigorate our town centres across Wales through the Transforming Towns programme.
A full list of successful schemes supported by each of the grants will be published on our website at: https://gov.wales/active-travel-safe-routes-communities-and-road-safety-schemes-funding-allocations-local-authorities
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.