'A golden opportunity for change' £38m announced to make Wales a safer place to cycle and walk

More people in Wales have been cycling and walking during the pandemic Credit: Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has announced £38 million to make Wales a safer place to cycle, walk and scoot.

During the coronavirus pandemic, more people in Wales have been choosing to walk or cycle to work, the shops or the park. Deputy Transport Minister Lee Waters said this has made it a "golden opportunity for change". He said he wants to use this opportunity to ensure people continue to ditch the car in favour of cycling or walking when the pandemic is over.

Last month, the Welsh Government announced £15.4 million to go towards temporary cycle lanes and street closures around schools. Together, with the £38 million, this is the largest ever investment in local active travel improvements in Wales.

Deputy Minister Lee Waters said: "The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed our lives. It stopped our daily routines in their tracks and has forced us all to live differently.

The Welsh Government wants to encourage more children to cycle to school Credit: PA

The money will go towards funding projects to make it safer for children and adults to get to school or work on foot, bike or scooter.

Some of the projects include:

  • £259,500 to build a walkway over the railway bridge near Ysgol Ty Fynnon in Shotton and install traffic calming features (like speed bumps) along King George Street. It will also go towards improving a footpath to provide better access to the Job Centre, swimming pool and library.

  • £205,000 to implement 20mph speed limits outside six schools in Neath Port Talbot, as well as improving road markings and laying anti-skid surfacing to make it far safer for children walking and cycling to school.

In Cardiff, measures have already been put in place to encourage people to drive less. Castle Street in the city centre has been closed to cars and in Roath, the parking bays have been removed from Wellfield Road.

Lee Waters said our roads must remain safe to ensure people keep walking and cycling after the pandemic Credit: ITV Wales

Lee Waters said he hopes the investment will give people the confidence to cycle and walk around Wales even when our lives "return to normal".

He said real progress on active travel so far has been "too slow". He is calling on local authority leaders to develop schemes with their communities to encourage more people to walk or cycle instead of using the car for everyday journeys.