Ahead of our supporters’ conference on 27 June, Sam Coates our Supporter Coordinator asked our keynote speaker what we can expect.

At this year's supporters' conference we'll be considering the question "How do we build a movement for walking?"

The issues Living Streets campaigns on affect large numbers of people, and some of our solutions are very popular, so how do we activate that potential support to win the change we want to see?

Phil Jones is our keynote speaker this year. He's a leading transport planner whose projects include working on the UK government's Manual for Streets, and chairing the group that wrote the design guidance for the Welsh Active Travel Act.

The Act is thought to be a world-first and I'm looking forward to him talking more about this during his presentation at our conference, to see what it means for our campaigns in the future.

I asked Phil how the Act come about, and why in Wales…

“Transport groups wanted to find out how the devolved powers could be used for promoting active travel," he told me.

"An opportunity was found in Wales, but there was a need to get confirmation from Westminster that the Welsh Government had the powers to make the new law. At that point I was asked to do some research to help make the case for such a Bill, and eventually the powers were confirmed.

“The Wales Active Travel Act has been heralded as a world’s first, a ground-breaking piece of legislation that will require all local authorities (even the reluctant ones!) to properly plan and implement measures to achieve more walking and cycling.”

Many transport and walking campaigners have found that when trying to get local problems fixed, for example pavement parking or crossing times, that councils either lack efficient powers or the funding to make the change.

So how has a law to promote active in travel in Wales changed things? Will it be sufficient to achieve a step change in active travel?

When we spoke, Phil outlined some questions of his own that he will explore in his keynote address on 27 June:

  • How is the Welsh Active Travel Act working out so far?
  • Is it sufficient to achieve a step change in active travel?
  • What can the rest of the UK learn from the Welsh experience?
  • What does thinking about ‘active travel’ tell us about the differences and the similarities between walking and cycling?
  • Do we even want an Active Travel Act elsewhere?