ACTIVE TRAVEL WALES – the hypocrisy of government.

posted in: Cycling advocacy.

Active Travel crisis looming.

Barely two years after the enactment of the Wales Active Travel legislation we see disturbing signs that nothing much has changed.  On the slightest pretext innovative access for cycling and walking is being hindered by political chicanery, often driven by pressure groups with little interest in the many social problems arising from our over-dependence on the motor car.

In Scotland there is a plan to rip up a cycleway.  Feelings are running high locally. The same short sighted decisions are taken In North Wales.  We’ve had a perfectly reasonable proposal to create a first phase  cycle route linking the market town of Denbigh to the adjacent settlements rejected by the county’s planning committee under very questionable circumstances.

At Conwy we have the highway authority sidelining the protests of CyclingUK and Sustrans on what should be, but isn’t a safe route for cycling across the Afon Conwy.  And in Gwynedd we have protests by walking and cycling groups at the proposal to create safety hazards at the Llanwnda Goat roundabout which directly affects National Cycle Route 8 (Lon Eifion) . Yes these are local anomalies.  But they illustrate the Jekyll and Hyde delivery of government policy.  This does not auger well for the implementation of the Active Travel  legislation.  It reflects a systemic malaise affecting all corners of the United Kingdom. .

Colchester raps South Ayshire knuckles.

We print below a letter sent from William Bramble of the Colchester Cycling Campaign to South Ayshire County Council.  It resonates what every responsible citizen caring for our public health should be thinking.

Dear Mr Dorans

 I’m from Colchester in Essex so I’m very unlikely to use the Bears Way Cycleway.
 It does, however, look to be a first-class facility which should be kept and extended and replicated elsewhere.
 The UK (and Scotland in particular) has a huge problem with obesity, as well as other public health issues, which this cycleway is beginning to help to address.
 Instead of taking too much notice of angry people, talk to the doctors at your local hospital. Go to the schools to see pudgy children (especially the 10-11 year-olds). Ask what can be done to get more children riding to school in safety.
 Fat children turn into fatter adults, and unless this is tackled, diabetes, obesity and heart disease will bankrupt the NHS in 15 years.
 So many car users take their “right to the road” for granted and they will howl when that is taken away.
 That said, your local authority has done exactly the right thing and their councillors should be supporting them. You and your colleagues should be travelling by bike and ebike to set an example.
 Given the level of the obesity problem, ripping up this route will compound the “Fried Mars Bars” image of Scotland around the world. I’m sure the people of the Netherlands will be sniggering at you.
Please reconsider your stance.
William Bramhall
Colchester Cycling Campaign


CyclingNorthWales says:-

Well said! William Bramhall.

You speak for many astonished at the contradiction between the UK’s population growing in girth, and  government’s lack of guts in facing up to the motor lobbying; the latter often not reflecting the growing number of car owners now realising that motoring must give way to allow more space for cycling and walking.

2 Responses

  1. Matt

    I sent the following email to Mr Dorans:-

    I am an Englishman living in Lancashire but I have toured Scotland with my wife on a tandem or our recumbent tandem trike at least fifteen times in the last twenty years. I am not alone, Cycle tourism is a significant contributor to the Scottish economy. We have spent on meals and accommodation from Dumfries to Lerwick and from Barraigh to Aberdeen. I even bought Recumbent Trikes for myself and my wife from Laid Back Bikes in Edinburgh so you will appreciate I have a keen interest in cycling in Scotland.

    While most roads in the Highlands and Islands are fine for cycling there can be serious problems in the central lowlands. We have had problems around Edinburgh, Falkirk, Prestwick and most of all making our way from East Kilbride through the outskirts of Glasgow to Loch Lomond. To encourage both adults and children to develop the habit of active travel which will improve their health and life prospects you should be building more cycle facilities not destroying those you already have. Cycling can improve the health and wellbeing of your people and the air quality of your cities.

    Also if you get a reputation of being against cycling you will lose many potential future cycle tourists. Those of us who know and love the Highlands and Islands will still come but potential visitors will be put off by a country that does not value cycling and tears up cycle facilities. It is hard enough to get some of my cycling friends to try Scotland because they think of France as a cycle friendly country. Don’t reinforce their prejudice by the misguided plan to destroy cycleways.

    • Roy Spilsbury

      Thank you Matt. Written from the heart and the head. I entirely agree with your sentiments. Onward Onward!!