Active travel law to boost cycling and walking in Wales

School children are helping draw up safe routes

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A law intended to help people in Wales become healthier, more active and more environmentally aware has been launched.

One group said the Active Travel Bill had the potential to be one of the most effective public health interventions since the creation of the assembly.

If it becomes law then local authorities will have to make it easier for more people to walk and cycle.

Transport Minister Carl Sargeant has launched the bill at a Cardiff school.

Start Quote

This bill should not be about the nanny state telling people what to do, but about making it easier for people to include exercise in their daily routine”

End Quote Byron Davies AM Conservative, transport

Councils will be required to connect key sites such as hospitals, schools and shopping areas with traffic-free routes and cycle lanes.

Assembly members will now begin a process of scrutinising the bill ahead of a future vote.

The sustainable transport group Sustrans Cymru said the bill was a practical response to high childhood obesity rates in Wales.

Byron Davies, Conservative spokesman for transport, said: "This bill should not be about the nanny state telling people what to do, but about making it easier for people to include exercise in their daily routine.

"As a constructive opposition, Welsh Conservatives will thoroughly scrutinise this legislation and work towards the implementation of a robust strategy to encourage active travel."

Cycling golds

Last summer, as Team GB basked in its Olympics success and with cycling in Wales at an all-time high, calls were made by Sustrans Cymru to ensure people kept using their bikes.

It said an integrated cycle route network must be properly established.

Great Britain won seven out of 10 track cycling golds at the London 2012, and on the road Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins won gold in the men's time trial and Lizzie Armitstead won silver in the women's road race.

Governing body British Cycling said there had been a 25% increase in Welsh members in the year to August 2012 - about 70% of those are competitive cyclists with the rest including commuters.

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