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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 23rd July, 2012

 

Report for the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Active Travel (Wales) Bill Consultation 2012

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise Cabinet that the Welsh Government is seeking views on proposals for an Active Travel (Wales) Bill and on broader proposals included in this White Paper which will place specific duties on Local Authorities. The duties of the Bill are designed specifically so that there is not a requirement to have a separate “walking and cycling plan”, and that prioritised list of walking and cycling schemes will form part of the Regional Transport Plans. The South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA) will be responding to the Welsh Government separately.  The Welsh Government believes that having a clear visual tool that shows intentions in an unambiguous way will assist Local Authorities in incorporating this vision into their plans in this way. The consultation period runs until the 14th August. All consultation responses will be taken into consideration when drafting the Bill, before it is introduced in the National Assembly for Wales in spring 2013.

Recommendations

1.             That the contents of the Active Travel (Wales) Bill document be noted.

2.             That the response to the document as attached in Appendix 2 of the report be endorsed, and issued to the Welsh Government in advance of the deadline for comments.

3.             That the Urgent Decision Procedure under Article 13.09 of the Constitution be implemented to authorise the Director of Development Services issue the response to the Welsh Government in advance of the deadline for comments as recommended in recommendation 2.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure that the Vale of Glamorgan has every opportunity to ensure a fair and consistent approach in providing walking and cycling opportunities in the Vale of Glamorgan.

2.             To ensure that the Vale of Glamorgan has every opportunity to ensure a fair and consistent approach in providing walking and cycling opportunities in the Vale of Glamorgan.

3.             To respond to the deadline set by the Welsh Government.

Background

2.             The Welsh Government believes that it’s White Paper, Consultation on Active Travel (Wales) Bill, recognises some of the key benefits that can be realised through enabling more people to walk and cycle, including providing opportunities for people to experience the health benefits that walking and cycling can offer. The Bill is also viewed as an opportunity to strengthen the Welsh economy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help address poverty and disadvantage in Wales.

3.             Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities believes that  “This Bill is not a short term quick fix. This is aiming to shift attitudes and change minds so that we all think about travel in a different way”.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The White Paper proposes four duties for Local Authorities in Wales as follows:

1.           To identify and map the network of routes within their areas that are safe and appropriate for walking and cycling

Local Authorities would have a duty to identify the routes within their areas that are safe and appropriate for walking and cycling. These routes would consist of a combination of traffic-free routes, on-road provision and access through public spaces such as parks.

The White Paper states that where pedestrians or cyclists are in proximity with motorised traffic there should be provisions in place to make these routes safe for pedestrians and cyclists, for example through traffic calming, 20mph zones or through segregated routes. Local Authorities would also have a duty to identify the facilities that are publically available to enable active journeys by foot or bike, such as cycle storage, toucan crossings and wash facilities.

Once the current routes and facilities had been identified, Local Authorities would have a duty to mark them onto a map that would be publically available and promoted as appropriate. The map would need to be updated on a regular basis.

2. To identify and map the enhancements that would be required to create a fully integrated network for walking and cycling and develop a prioritised list of schemes to deliver the network

Using the map developed under the first duty, Local Authorities would then be required to identify where significant numbers of shorter journeys are being made and there is no safe route for pedestrians or cyclists. They would then need to identify what enhancements, upgrades and new infrastructure would be required to enable people to make continuous and safe journeys on foot or by bike.

From these identified improvements, Local Authorities would have a duty to create a second map, showing these proposed upgrades and enhancements. This map would set out an integrated network to enable the majority of shorter journeys made in Wales to be made by walking or cycling.

The White Paper states that this map should be an ambitious vision that takes a long term view, setting out what Local Authorities feel could be achieved over decades rather than the next few years.

3. To deliver an enhanced network subject to budget availability and following due process

Local Authorities will then be expected to deliver continuous improvements to their integrated network, subject budget availability and following due process. The routes identified on the maps would be adopted by the Local Authorities.

The Government are also consulting on whether the network of routes available for all users could be extended by reviewing the definitions of rights of way. The White Paper recognises the potential risk to both pedestrians and other path users, and in making any changes would seek to ensure that Local Authorities retains powers to keep certain routes for pedestrian use only.

4. To consider the potential for enhancing walking and cycling provision in the development of new road schemes

When new road schemes are planned, Local Authorities would have a duty to consider the potential these schemes could have for enhancing walking and cycling infrastructure. Incorporating walking and cycling provision into new road schemes could help Local Authorities to deliver the maps, or could present new opportunities for connecting existing infrastructure.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

5.             There are no financial or resource implications relating to this report.  However, any amendments to the primary legislation may have financial and resource implications to the Local Authority. In addition the delivery of an enhanced network will have resource implications related to design, feasibility, delivery and maintenance of routes.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

6.             Any legal implications will be considered as part of the Bill.

Crime and Disorder Implications

7.             Whilst there are no direct crime and disorder implications associated with this report, any new walking and cycling infrastructure will have a positive affect on the reduction of crime and the perception of crime within the communities.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

8.             New walking a cycling routes can provide new transport options that allow persons without access to a private car to travel and access a range of services.

Corporate/Service Objectives

9.             To provide sustainable alternatives to the car.

Policy Framework and Budget

10.        This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

11.        No Ward Member consultation has been undertaken as this report has implications for the Vale of Glamorgan as a whole, rather than specific wards.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

12.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Welsh Government Background Papers:  A Summary of the White Paper Consultation on Active Travel (Wales)

 

Contact Officer

Clare Cameron - Planning and Transportation - Tel: 01446 704768.

 

Officers Consulted

Finance, ICT and Property - Financial Services

Legal Services - Committee Reports

Operational Manager - Engineering and Highways

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services

 

 

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