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Wales Active Travel Bill to boost bike use passed in Senedd

image captionCouncils will have to make it easier for more people to walk and cycle under the law

Better walking and cycling networks around Wales have been promised under a bill passed in the Senedd.

The Welsh government says The Active Travel Bill will encourage alternatives to car use but concern has been raised councils will not be given enough funding to realise plans.

But Sports Minister John Griffiths said £12m was available for such travel routes and the cost of producing route maps would be met.

AMs approved the bill on Tuesday night.

Jane Lorimer, national director for Sustrans Cymru the transport group, said the move was creating the start of a future framework to encourage less use of cars on short journeys and would be cheaper to deliver than other public transport programmes.

media captionJane Lorimer from transport group Sustrans Cymru welcomes the bill but not everyone is happy

Speaking before the vote she told BBC Radio Wales: "We are very happy now that the bill coming forward in the vote this evening is a good piece of strong legislation that will really make a difference in Wales."

'Changing mindsets'

But local government consultant Jeff Jones, a former leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said the bill was "gesture politics" that was not backed by enough finance to make a real difference.

"Producing a map is not going to produce a culture change," he said.

"If you are serious about this it requires a lot of money."

Culture and Sport Minister John Griffiths said: "Once we have got our legislation on the statue book it is going to be a really important focus.

"£12m is a considerable amount of money and, of course, we are not starting from scratch.

"There are already some really good cycle routes in Wales but they are not extensive enough and they do not connect up well enough.

"So we have to build on what we already have but a lot of this is about changing mindsets, encouraging people to make the transition, get out of their cars, and on to their bikes and walking."

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