Monmouthshire County Council is launching a three-month Active Travel consultation and is inviting residents to have their say. The consultation is a requirement by Welsh Government under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 and outlines draft proposals to encourage more cycling and walking. Draft Maps (called Integrated Network Maps) have been developed which show suggested routes for improvement for settlements in Monmouthshire. These are available to view online from 1 August until 31 October, 2020.
The Mon Life service within the Council has worked hard over the past six months to increase the focus on Active Travel. The aim is to encourage those who can, to leave their cars at home when travelling to work, shops, schools, a place of leisure or to get to a train station. Active Travel is not about walking and cycling for leisure but it could also significantly enhance leisure activities by helping link up existing path and road networks, and is an important contributor in addressing the current climate emergency – helping to reduce vehicle emissions. It also has the benefit of improving physical and mental wellbeing.
Due to the restrictions in place as a result of COVID-19, digital consultation is a key part of the process. There will be webinars in addition to socially distanced face-to-face events. Details about the webinars, the interactive maps and residents’ surveys can be found on the council’s website: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/active-travel-consultation.
Lord Burns’ South East Wales Transport Commission has published its Emerging Conclusions. Here are extracts from the Summary of a lot of information available at https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-07/emerging-conclusions.pdf:
Congestion on the M4 is largely a peak-hours problem, predominantly associated with commuting. A relatively small increase in traffic leads to a disproportionate increase in congestion. Many people do not have good transport alternatives to the motorway. The combination of the rail, bus and active travel networks do not accommodate the range of the journeys that people are undertaking, particularly commutes. All of the rail, bus and active travel networks are offering insufficient services. The individual modes are also poorly integrated, in relation to interchange, timetables and ticketing. This limits the value of each part. There is insufficient regional coordination. Land use decisions with respect to homes, offices and retail parks have contributed to congestion and, on the current trajectory, this looks set to continue. At the same time, the population of the region’s cities is projected to rise considerably. Without action, this will place additional pressure on the motorway.
If we are to alleviate congestion, we need to create attractive and viable alternatives for people. Until these exist, it is very difficult to solve the problem sustainably. Of course, the COVID-19 epidemic has radically changed the situation – the question is for how long. Traffic is at a much lower level and we expect congestion to be less problematic while social distancing is in place. In the long term, a substantive and sustained increase in remote working could have a meaningful impact on reducing traffic. However, our view remains that in order to function efficiently, the region requires additional, non-car transport options. Overall, a key emerging recommendation is a ‘Network of Alternatives’ for South East Wales. A network approach puts a focus on integration, allowing for flexible journeys, reflecting the diversity of types of trips that people want to make. When the different parts work together, its value can be greater than the sum of its parts. Our final report will make specific recommendations to the Welsh Government. These will cover all modes of transport, as well as wider policy on land use, governance and charging.
GAVO has arranged a FREE online Grant Writing Workshop on 23 July 6-7pm. Book your tickets on Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/introduction-to-grant-writing-online-workshop-virtual-tickets-110102523612. The workshop is aimed at helping groups to improve the quality of their funding applications and is being offered by Be Community in partnership with GAVO. GAVO development officers will be available for follow up support. It’s a great opportunity to learn the basics or to hone your skills in preparing grant applications..