Agenda item

Active Travel Plan


(a)       That the consultation programme of events be noted; and


(b)       That the Committee receives a further report on the outcome of the consultation.


The Chief Officer (Streetscene & Transportation) introduced the report to outline the background to proposals on the Active Travel Draft Integrated Network Map and details of the public consultation programme.  The Welsh Government (WG) placed a duty on councils to meet requirements of the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013.  As part of these obligations, the Council’s existing Active Travel route maps had been approved by WG within the deadline.


The Highways Policy Officer gave a demonstration on how to access the public consultation documents on the Integrated Network Map (INM) through the link on the Council’s website.  The INM would feature proposals to improve the infrastructure for walkers and cyclists to access services and facilities across the county as well as offering recreational provision.  The proposals (some of which were subject to further agreements) were shown on six maps of different settlement areas along with an overview map of the county.  The website also included details of public consultation drop-in sessions.  The public consultation was due to conclude on 24 September 2017 at which time all responses would be considered to enable the final INM to be submitted to the WG for approval by 3 November 2017.


Councillor Carolyn Thomas explained that Active Travel would underpin planning developments and that the original settlement areas prescribed by WG had been broadened to consider all ‘routes with purpose’.


Councillor Cindy Hinds spoke about encouraging parents to walk their children to school to alleviate parking outside schools.  Councillor Richard Lloyd, who was present in the public gallery, felt that the width of pavements and overgrown hedges in some areas was an issue.  The Highways Policy Officer referred to a link recently emailed to Members on work being undertaken by Public Health Wales and partners on this topic.  She said that some of the proposals included existing route maps and that bids could be made for funding on safety schemes.  Once the INM had been approved, the Council would work with other organisations to access funding streams available to them.


On road safety outside schools, Members were asked to raise areas of concern to officers’ attention.  The Council had been successful in securing funding for three schemes to reduce parking outside schools and welcomed opportunities to extend this to other areas.  Progress was acknowledged by Councillors Chris Bithell and Paul Shotton in respect of consultation on proposed schemes in their wards.


The Chief Officer clarified that limited funding had been provided by WG for councils to meet the Active Travel requirements.  He encouraged responses to the consultation to help access grant funding to carry out the schemes.


Councillor Owen Thomas called for more frequent grass cutting along roads give greater visibility to cyclists and help prevent accidents.  The Chief Officer advised that a future report was scheduled on grass cutting standards which had not been changed and he urged Members to report any specific areas where safety was a concern.


Councillors Owen Thomas and Haydn Bateman both gave examples of routes involving disused railway lines which had previously been surveyed.  In respect of the latter, explanation was given on why this particular route was unviable due to the permissions needed by landowners.


Councillor Chris Dolphin expressed his disappointment on Active Travel outcomes and felt that some schemes were not viable from the outset unless funding was allocated.  He also felt that more frequent grass cutting was needed along rural lanes to help cyclists.  The Highways Policy Officer said that all of the proposed schemes had been audited and were achievable if funding could be accessed and appropriate land ownership issues and legal agreements/licences overcome including successful Road Traffic Orders.  The Chief Officer said that the proposals included some priority schemes as well as those requiring development over the longer term.  He encouraged responses to the consultation as demand for evidence-based schemes would make a stronger case for funding bids.  The Chief Officer (Planning & Environment) highlighted the importance of working with Planning to maximise funding opportunities from the private sector.


In response to a question by Councillor David Evans on the interactive mapping page, the Highways Policy Officer would ask that these be removed from the website as they were out-of-date.


Councillor Andy Dunbobbin commented on working partnerships to benefit the Deeside Enterprise Zone and Northern Gateway.  He stressed the importance of Active Travel in areas such as Shotton and Connah’s Quay and the need for the UK to adopt an improved infrastructure for cyclists as seen in Europe.  The Chief Officer referred to proposals on the North East Wales Metro as an integrated transport solution involving joint working between councils, the WG and local businesses.  On links to community transport, an update was scheduled for a future meeting on the rollout of specific projects.


In response to comments, Councillor Carolyn Thomas emphasised the Council’s decision to expand routes outside the original settlement areas and said that all suggestions would be considered including those mentioned on disused railway lines.  On grass cutting, she said that the policy would be considered at a future meeting including funding implications.  In referring to the information circulated on Public Health Wales, she asked that future emails be accompanied by a briefing note to draw Members’ attention to the matter.




(a)       That the consultation programme of events be noted; and


(b)       That the Committee receives a further report on the outcome of the consultation.

Supporting documents: