Agenda item

Active travel update April 2023 and use of former railway lines for cycling / walking


Councillor Keith Henson (Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management) explained that the purpose of the report was to give an update on the developments since the previous report/ discussion. A meeting had been held with Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change on the 1st of December 2022 to provide an overview of Active Travel in Ceredigion. At present, there were only three Welsh Government-designated Active Travel Settlements in Ceredigion under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 (namely Aberystwyth, Cardigan and Lampeter) and therefore, there was an aspiration to expand on this. Thanks were extended to the service for progressing with the work to improve the accessibility of Active Travel and safety for the county.


Phil Jones, Corporate Manager: Highways Services explained that The Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 places a duty on local authorities to plan for, improve, and promote routes for walking and cycling for everyday journeys. The authority was grateful to WG for the funding to improve the Active Travel network but having an improved plan for the next 3-5 years would be beneficial for all. An overview of the background as included in the report was provided. Given the aspirations to improve the railway links from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth, assurance was given by Elin Jones MS and Ben Lake MP in a recent meeting that these proposals would not be developed for a significant number of years, therefore essentially, it was possible to proceed with expanding Active Travel on those lines.


Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by Officers, Professor Stuart Cole CBE and Councillor Keith Henson. The main points raised were as follows:

·       Professor Stuart Cole CBE clarified that although WG had not confirmed whether they planned to develop the railway from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth which would cost approximately £800million, there was insufficient funding and not enough population to run the railway, hence why the T1 TrawsCymru was in place. In his opinion, it was very unlikely the railway would be developed in the next 30-40 years.

·       Raising concerns with WG/ UK Government around the lack of or uncertainty with funding streams was important. In addition, further relaxation of the restrictions would benefit the whole county, not only the 3 towns named as Active Travel Settlements and it would also enable local authorities to plan resources better and deliver locally.

·       Support was given to the utilisation of Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers, which may be required to acquire land for walking and cycling routes. Although it was considered a complex and lengthy process, the use of CPO in conjunction with discussions was considered important for delivering plans in the county. Work was done in the background to progress this including with Rhiw Goch Hill, Aberaeron. 

·       It was noted that not all routes would attract Active Travel Fund (ATF) and so other funding streams were being explored. Feedback following an unsuccessful grant application for Cylch y Cardi Trail Phase 1 Levelling Up Fund 2 (LUF2) (Transport) had not yet been received.

·       An ATF application has been submitted for 100% funding for the first phase of the proposed IBERS to Waun Fawr active travel path. Work was ongoing to secure land for the preferred route.

·       As no plans appeared to be in place to improve the route from Newcastle Emlyn to Llechryd, officers noted they would provide an update to the local member in due course.


Following questions by the Committee Members, it was agreed to note the report.

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