The Welsh Assembly Government has shifted position on cycling and has put its weight behind a Sustrans-led campaign to develop and maintain a network of paths for walkers and cyclists.
Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, transport minister has confirmed that the Assembly will now back the National Assembly Enterprise and Learning Committee’s proposed legislation on Highways and Transport.
Sustrans made its proposal two years ago to help tackle obesity and climate change. Following the proposal the cross-part committee drew evidence from a number of organisations, including the British Medical Association, BT and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, backing the creation and maintenance of a network of paths for cyclists and walkers.
Gareth Jones AM, chair of the Enterprise and Learning Committee said: “We are delighted that the Welsh Government is supporting our Committee as it is a perfect example of the law makers in Wales listening to the needs of the people of Wales. It’s democracy in action.
“This is a triple first when it comes to creating new laws for Wales.
“Not only is this the first LCO to be proposed by an Assembly Committee but it is also the first to come directly from the National Assembly’s petitions process. Furthermore, the petition came directly from civic society. It was proposed by Sustrans and backed by many other voluntary organisations”
Sustrans Cymro director Lee Waters said: “Two years ago Sustrans presented a petition to the National Assembly for Wales with the backing of a wide range of organisations concerned about climate change and the growing problem of obesity in Wales.
“We know the challenges that exist to get people to leave their cars at home and walk and cycle instead. Our proposed new law is designed to help remove some of the blockages in the system. When a Council builds a mile of road, for instance, they get money to maintain it, but when they build a path for cyclists and pedestrians they get nothing. So many Councils don't want to create a financial liability and therefore don't put in place attractive facilities to encourage people out of their cars. Our proposed new law will address that.”