Climate Ambassadors Focus on Active Travel
Community climate ambassadors met with representatives from Torfaen Council recently to discuss plans to increase active travel in the borough.
Road Safety Strategy Officer Pat Bates outlined what the council has done to improve active travel routes since the introduction of the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Act and outlined what the authority plans to do over the next few years.
During the presentation, Pat Bates said, “Since 2017 the council has created new walking and cycling routes, improved existing routes, and widened pavements on busy pedestrians routes to school.
“Our long term plan aspires to add 75 miles to the active travel network in Torfaen. This will involve new construction and upgrading of routes, continuing to improve routes with dropped kerbs to make them fully accessible, and working with schools to update school travel plans to make them active school travel plans.
“There is also a potential regional cycle hire scheme being investigated into by Transport for Wales, so there’s lots of discussion going on in the background.”
The impact the pandemic and the war in Ukraine has had on the cost and availability of material needed to improve routes was also discussed and the ambassadors were given the chance to ask questions about the current strategy and talk about their own experiences of walking and cycling around the borough.
Patrick Jarvis, from Blaenavon, who is a keen cyclist, said, "The meeting was a very insightful view into Torfaen Council’s approach to active transport. It gave me a better idea of the challenges that are faced, and I am hoping climate ambassadors will be able to assist in overcoming them.
“The war in Ukraine is having a huge impact on the cost of building street infrastructure. I believe this is an opportunity to look into alternative approaches to building active travel networks, rather than smothering everything in asphalt.
“I am passionate about active travel because I want to reduce my own carbon footprint and how I travel is something I can easily change,” he added.
"Picking to ride my bike rather than drive is not a "green" choice, it is the common sense choice. It saves me money, improves my health both mentally and physically, and it’s fun. It's also allowed me to explore my local area, given me the opportunity to engage with my community, and just as an added bonus it's climate friendly.”
Mel Morgan, member of the climate ambassador’s group, said, “I was so inspired by other members of the group last time that I decided to buy a bike and use it for short trips.”
Active travel refers to walking or cycling for short journeys, such as going to school, work, to the doctors, or shops and increasing the number of active travel journeys in Torfaen is a key priority for the climate ambassador network.
If you are interested in joining the Torfaen’s climate ambassador network, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org