Figures for active travel in Wales show it has a long way to go to become a 'walking and cycling nation', a minister has warned, despite the country being an international leader in legislation.
The news comes as the first maps to be produced under the pioneering Active Travel (Wales) Act are due to be submitted to the Welsh Government on the 22 of this month.
The Act, which is a world first, requires all Welsh local authorities to map existing and aspirational active travel networks and implement the identified routes progressively.
Changing gear? Will active travel maps change transport culture in Wales
However recently released baseline data for 2014-15 shows that only 6% of Wales’ adult population use a bicycle for active travel at least once or twice per week (4% of women, 9% of men), and less than half (43%) walk for active travel purposes at least three times per week.
Walking to school is common among children who live within half a mile of their school, but overall the proportion is 49% for primary pupils and 35% for secondary. Less than 1% of secondary pupils typically cycle to school.
Transport minister Edwina Hart said the first annual report on the Act provided a baseline but raised concerns over low levels of active travel.
‘The figures for the current levels of active travel in Wales show that we have some way to go before we reach our ambition of making Wales a truly “walking and cycling nation”,’ she commented.
The Department for Transport's Active People Survey 2015, last year, gave active travel figures for England, however these calculated by the month rather than the week.
At the national level in England, it found the proportion of people walking at least once per month has stayed the same since 2012/13, at 86%, although however at once, three times or five times a week there were increases in walking in most regions.
And the proportion who cycled at least once a month was unchanged between 2012/13 and 2013/14 at 15%.
This year the Welsh Government will appraise the maps of existing routes and publish an Active Travel Action Plan setting out it’s wider approach to supporting active travel across the Welsh Government’s departments.
The original September 2015 deadline for councils to submit maps of existing provision was deferred to this month to enable better public consultation.