Fifty years ago, cyclists in England and Wales were granted access to just over 20 per cent of all rights of way by the Countryside Act 1968. To mark the occasion, Cycling UK is asking the Welsh government to improve on this percentage by following through on its own proposals to increase access.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Improving public access, particularly in the creation or restoration of connected routes is a public good. Farmers, visitors and local communities in Wales will all benefit – but let’s not wait another fifty years for this to happen.”
Last year Cycling UK and OpenMTB backed Welsh Government proposals to open up most footpaths in Wales to cycling and horse riding, calling on the public to show their support via the Trails for Wales campaign (link is external).
However, in June the Welsh Government changed tack, saying it was, “not the right time for substantive reform.” It cited “strong but differing views,” by way of explanation.
The move came despite huge public support for the proposals, with 16,468 out of a total of 17,391 responses to a September 2017 consultation supporting change to access laws.
“There’s a huge sway of public support for change to rights of way in Wales, and it’s a missed opportunity if they continue to sit on the fence on this important issue,” said Dollimore.
The UK’s rights of way network frequently changes between footpaths and bridleways, with often no noticeable change in quality between the two apart from a different signpost.
This has created confusion among the nation’s cyclists with Cycling UK’s Rides of Way report revealing that 74 per cent of people cycling on the network find it “unsuitable”.
Cycling UK has written to Minister for the Environment, Hannah Blythyn AM, seeking an explanation for the government’s position, and also seeking a meeting to discuss next steps and how to improve countryside access pending future changes to the law.
Cycling UK calls on Welsh Government to increase access to rights of way network
road.cc) Alex Bowden Fifty years ago, cyclists in England and Wales were granted access to just over 20 per cent of all rights of way by the Countryside Act 1968. To mark the occasion, Cycling UK is asking the Welsh government to improve on this percentage by following through on its own proposals to increase… [Read More]