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Welsh government to spend £5 million improving children's routes to school

From next year pupils will be involved in bidding for funding for their own cycle routes to school

The Welsh government is to spend £5m of new money on safe cycle routes for pupils cycling to school.

The fund will be spent on 30 new project with the aim of making children more active, and as stakeholders in the programme, all local authorities will have to involve pupils in their funding bids from next year.

Transport Minister Edwina Hart told Wales Online: “It’s very important children’s views are taken into account because what we don’t find scary, they might find scary.

“They might not want to walk down a dimly-lit path at dusk. We really want to encapsulate the concerns of the children,.”

Nineteen councils have been apportioned a share of the funding, which can be used for cycle paths and footpaths, secure cycle facilities and for lighting, crossings and traffic-calming measures.

One participating school reported how the paths had improved punctuality, with one pupil from just over two miles away saying it now takes him five minutes to cycle in, but half an hour to travel in by bus.

“If children get into good habits with their bicycles when they are young, perhaps they will carry that on when they get a job when they are older,” said Mrs Hart.

A full list of where all the money will be spent can be found here.

Since 2008 the Safe Routes in Communities programme in Wales has provided around £42 million to communities and schools. It forms part of the Walking and Cycling Action Plan for Wales which aims to triple the percentage of children cycling to school in Wales from 1-2 per cent to 3-6 per cent depending on age.

78 per cent of primary school children live less than three miles from a school, considered a reasonable distance to travel by bike.

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