report was noted.
Members received an update on Active Travel as presented within the report circulated. Officers also explained that there have been some organisational changes in the Environment directorate from April 1st 2023 and Active travel has been consolidated under the Head of Engineering and Transport service portfolio area.
The Active travel network map and policy driven areas were under planning previously. These functions are now integrated under the engineering consultancy area. Officers advised that the report is a transition report and covers last year and taking things forward from now.
Members commented that in the corporate plan it was set out for the need of a 5-year plan on active travel within Neath Port talbot. Members wanted to know when this plan would be available to view.
Officers explained that there are short, medium, and long-term plans and officers have been trying to establish how to how to prioritise the program. There are 400 Active travel routes in the active travel network maps with 100 given a high priority. Transport for Wales are developing a system to help authorities prioritise these further, once this is available officers will be able to start to develop the plan.
Members expressed the importance of promotion of active travel. Members also pointed out that on the Active travel map, the link takes you to a map with no Key or details. Members suggested that this could be changed to a different page that provides a key and additional information as well as a link that takes you to the NPT page.
Officers agreed that they would get this link updated. Officers also highlighted that they are working on different ways to promote active travel and are intending to go out to events to promote it. Officers also advised that they are open to ideas and suggestion on promotion.
Officers further explained that embedded in the road safety teams and primary education teams is the promotion of walking and cycling. Over 12 months these teams get to nearly all the primary schools and work is also done in secondary schools. This aids in the promotion of walking and cycling.
Members also suggested that officers pass on the information to community councils so they can promote it in the local community. Officers agreed that this was a good idea and that they would send it out to the town councils when the link had been updated so they too could add it to their websites or share the link.
Members asked for an update on the 2 new posts that the budget had allocated for active travel. Officers explained that in June the Active travel manager position was filled by someone from another team. A position as Active Travel officer is being job evaluated and has taken longer than expected.
Officers also added that with the Active travel roles they, want to respond to the plan and implement mores schemes on the ground. If they are successful in securing grants, then the consultancy service area has several engineers who will help support the active travel role and be able to manage the resource and help deliver that work.
Officers advised that after 2 years, the financing is intended to be self-sufficient. Officers advised that they have expressed concerns to central finance around this. Officers explained that it will generate income, but it has been highlighted that there are uncertainties that it would be 100% recoverable. This could result in a financial pressure and will need to be monitored over the next 2 years.
Members expressed gratitude for this update as they weren’t able to recall the time limit on the funding of the roles when members went through the budget setting process and had thought they were placed in as investor save initiative and in the base budget, but now see that it is not in the base budget.
Officers confirmed that while not in the base budget there
is a commitment by central finance that if they couldn’t fully recover the
costs, it would be dealt with as a pressure going forward so the permanent
posts would be dealt with like any other pressure within the Environment
Following Scrutiny the report was noted.