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Walk the talk.

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Children's Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, is backing an assembly committee attempt to increase the number of traffic-free paths for walking and cycling.

The proposal to impose a duty on local authorities to develop and maintain a network of paths for walkers, cyclists and disabled people was made by a coalition of organisations in Wales led by Sustrans.

"A legal duty on Highway Authorities to develop and maintain a network of traffic-free routes could make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people in Wales. It could benefit their general health and well-being, tackle childhood obesity, provide safer routes to schools and greater access to play areas," said Towler.

"It is also refreshing to note that children and young people's issues have been raised in what might traditionally be seen as an adult-dominated arena,"

This is the first time a proposal has come forward from civil society under the Welsh Assembly's new law making powers. It has the support of organisations representing businesses, children, older people, health experts and a range of environmental charities.

Lee Waters, National Director of Sustrans Cymru, commented: "We are delighted that the Children's Commissioner for children in Wales has now added his independent voice.

"To encourage people to walk and cycle more often we need a network of well-maintained traffic-free paths. Left to their own devices Highway Engineers will not put pedestrians and cyclists first. Our proposal will help address the problems that the Assembly Government is committed to address. Now is the time for ministers to follow through."

Further information about Sustrans, including detailed online route mapping, is available at: www.sustrans.org.uk
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Title Annotation:COMMUNITY FOCUS; proposal to increase the number of traffic-free paths
Publication:Green Places
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2009
Words:275
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