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Agenda Item No. 6 

 

VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM: 22ND FEBRUARY, 2012

 

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY

 

SYNOPSIS TAKEN FROM THE MEETING NOTES OF THE NATIONAL ACCESS FORUM FOR WALES (NAFW) HELD ON 10TH NOVEMBER 2011

 

 

TOPIC

OUTCOME / RESULTANT ACTION

 

1.   Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) Enjoying the Outdoors Newsletter

 

 

CCW is seeking feedback on the newsletter to ensure that it is as useful and helpful as possible to those with an interest in access in Wales.  To do this CCW had launched an online reader survey at https://www.survey.bris.ac.uk/ccw/etonews

 

2.   Update on Proposed Single Environmental Body (SEB)

 

 

Further information and updates are available on the Welsh Government Living Wales website (http://wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/

consmanagement/nef/?lang=en).

 

The Chairman of the NAFW commented on the above as a member of the CCW Council and read the following extract of a letter addressed to the Director of the Department for Environment, Sustainability and Housing at the Welsh Assembly to the meeting about points particularly relevant to the business case.

 

Council Members continue to be enthusiastic about the proposals for a Single Environment Body, and in particular we were pleased to see the Business Case making reference to the Natural Environment Framework as it is this that provides the strategic context within which the proposed Single Environment Body will operate.  In simple terms the NEF is the “what” and the SEB is the “how”.  Because of this the form and function of the SEB must be designed to deliver the NEF.  We feel strongly that the SEB consultation must be linked to that of the NEF and the Project Team and Programme Board must have this in mind before considering how to respond to the delay in the NEF consultation.”

 

3.   Welsh Government Priorities for Access

 

 

John Griffiths, the Minister for Environment and Sustainability was in attendance. 

 

He stated that delivery is at the heart of the Welsh Programme for Government and there is a clear commitment to increase and improve access for everyone, a particular group which would need to be targeted was families with young children.

 

The Welsh Government would be introducing duties to increase the facilities available for walking and cycling, and the Wales Coast Path would be opened on 5th May 2012.

 

As well as the opportunities, for example in National Parks and on National Trails, quality doorstep opportunities within the urban environment were also needed to make the difference.

 

With regard to the general network of public rights of way, the Minister said that he was hoping to secure funding for ROWIP implementation next year at the same level as this year.

 

He was looking forward to working with all the Forum members to increase participation in responsible recreation in Wales and emphasised the opportunity that responsible outdoor recreation had to bring benefits to individuals, communities, businesses and society in general.

 

The Minister indicated that he took a rounded view to access provision including horse riding and pony trekking.  The Minister acknowledged the point that the Welsh Government and local authorities have to address riding in the Welsh outdoors.

 

4.   Walking and Cycling: The Highways and Transport (Wales) Bill

 

 

The Director of Sustrans was in attendance.

 

Sustrans had been instrumental in getting a commitment in the Programme for Government for a Highways and Transport Bill.

 

One of Sustrans’ activities was the provision of infrastructure and opening new paths using the European Structural Fund.

 

The Programme for the Welsh Government now includes a proposal for a Bill for local authorities to have a duty to develop and maintain a network for Walking and Cycling in key areas. 

 

Following a lengthy discussion on the above and related matters, it was agreed that the Minister for Local Government and Communities be invited to the next meeting and that before the next Forum meeting, CCW to organise a NAFW Subgroup meeting with a view to producing a paper that should then go to WG Transport officials.

 

5.   Coastal Access Progress Update

 

 

The Wales Coast Path is 96% complete.

 

There would be three launch events likely to be held at Flint Castle, Aberystwyth and Roald Dahl Place, Cardiff Bay.

 

There would be a full item on the Wales Coast Path at the next NAFW (6th March, 2012).

 

6.   Mentro Allan

 

 

Mentro Allan was one element of a Programme called the Community Sport Initiative which looked at barriers to activity.

 

Rowland Pittard said that the YHA had benefited from Mentro Allan projects and that if work were to be supported, continued funding is needed.

 

Another comment was that having more people would bring more pressure and more maintenance requirements.  Jean Rosenfeld said that this was the reason he had asked the Minister about valuing rural services to the wider community and paying for these services.

 

Link to the Mentro Allan website: http://www.mentroallan.co.uk

 

7.   Glastir

 

 

The first intake of some 2,217 applications for the All Wales Element (AWE) was currently being processed.

 

Under the AWE agreements, landowners must have their public rights of way open, this will be inspected and the routes will be shown on CCW’s access maps (Outdoor Wales online).

 

The Targeted Element (TE) has a specific set of objectives.  Access is an option as part of the TE.

 

Jean Rosenfeld expressed the view that the LAFs should be included in the consultation process.

 

 

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