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Instructions for use

This guidance relates to all improvements to trunk roads in Wales.


The Welsh Government wants to enable as many people as possible to walk, cycle and generally travel by more active methods. This will enable more people to experience health benefits, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help address poverty and disadvantage and help the Welsh economy to grow by unlocking sustainable economic growth.

One of the major steps in achieving these goals was the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 (hereafter referred to as the Active Travel Act) which gained royal assent on 04 November 2013. This created new duties for local authorities in Wales and the Welsh ministers. It also gave the Welsh ministers the power to issue guidance on the location, nature and condition of active travel routes and facilities to ensure they are suitable for use.

Research indicates that for many people, the biggest barrier to walking and cycling is concern for their safety. These concerns relate mainly to the existing infrastructure, such as difficult road junctions. The design of active travel infrastructure is critical in addressing safety concerns, both real and perceived, and is therefore key to achieving the aim of increasing active travel.

There is already a requirement for new active travel infrastructure on trunk roads to be planned and designed only after considering advice in current active travel guidance. This is reinforced by requirements in Welsh annexes to individual Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) standards.

This PAG requires trunk road schemes to be planned, designed and implemented in a holistic way across highway authority boundaries, maximising their contribution to promoting active travel.


This PAG applies to the planning, design and implementation of all improvement schemes on trunk roads in Wales. The guidance does not apply to trunk road maintenance works.

Active travel provision on trunk road improvement schemes

Before planning, designing and implementing trunk road improvement schemes designers must:

  • understand the duties placed on Welsh ministers by the Active Travel (Wales) Act in the exercise of their functions. In particular: 

Section 9 of the act which requires the Welsh ministers to take reasonable steps to enhance provision for walkers and cyclists when exercising certain functions (including the construction, maintenance or improvement of roads) under the Highways Act 1980 (and other highway legislation), where it is practicable to do so.

Section 10 of the act which requires the Welsh ministers to exercise their functions under the act in a manner designed to promote active travel journeys and secure new and improved active travel routes and services and:

  • consider fully the advice in current active travel guidance.

The Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (WelTAG) represents best practice for the identification, development, appraisal and evaluation of transport interventions in Wales. It has been developed in consultation with the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales to ensure it aligns with the requirement of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 that public bodies in Wales carry out sustainable development. Active travel can contribute to all the goals of the Future Generations Act. The WelTAG process must be applied to all transport projects funded in part or in full by the Welsh Government, including improvements to the trunk road network.

The need, nature and extent of any improvement to a trunk road must be determined by application of the WelTAG process. The WelTAG process will also help establish the nature and extent of active travel provision and promotion to be incorporated in the improvement subject to compliance with the Active Travel Act and the Welsh Government’s policy and strategy for active travel.

WelTAG engagement and consultation exercises must include active travel and Local Access Forums together with all other delivery partners and groups.  

Consideration must be given to the updating or re-running of WelTAG studies on trunk road improvement schemes, when greater than 3 years old.    

All new active travel infrastructure on trunk road improvement schemes must be designed in accordance with current active travel guidance.  

A clear audit trail of all active travel decisions made during the course of the planning, design and implementation of the trunk road improvement scheme should be kept to inform future practice and drive continual improvement in the enhancement and promotion of active travel. This must include a full departure from guidance submission, endorsed by the Welsh Government’s Chief Highway Engineer (CHE), in all instances of non-compliance with the active travel guidance. The CHE’s endorsement of any departure submission will be based on the recommendation of a Technical Review Panel (TRP), totally independent of the project team and including at least one member with specialist knowledge of active travel.

In addition, within the immediate geographic area over which WelTAG studies indicate that the trunk road improvement scheme has the potential to maximise its contribution to enhancing active travel, reasonable steps must be taken to:

  1. upgrade any existing trunk road active travel infrastructure to current active travel guidance standards;
  2. work with the local authority to complete any routes on their approved Active Travel Network Map (ATNM) in parallel with completion of the trunk road improvement scheme; and
  3. work with the local authority to upgrade any of their existing active travel infrastructure to current active travel guidance standards in parallel with completion of the trunk road improvement scheme.

Withdrawal conditions

This PAG will remain in force until such time as this guidance is either superseded by another PAG or the guidance within it is incorporated in a Wales specific annex of an updated Design Manual for Roads and Bridges Standard (DMRB).


Any queries relating to this PAG should be submitted to: StandardsFeedbackandEnquiries@gov.Wales