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Connecting Communities – Aberystwyth to Machynlleth

19 September, 2021
By Freya Price

The UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere area has a wealth of people and communities who want to do things together. But like many rural communities, we are divided by dangerous roads and unequal access to transport. 

The A487 trunk road between  Aberystwyth and Machynlleth, for example, discourages our community from being active, impacts the climate and puts lives at risk. We want improved access to healthy travel, like cycle paths and public transport between all the communities from Aberystwyth to Machynlleth. We know that connecting our towns and communities by making it easier to walk and cycle between them will improve wellbeing, air quality and health, and reduce noise pollution and carbon emissions. 

Safe, direct cycling and walking routes, and electric public transport could transform the Dyfi Valley, uncovering massive economic, health, and environmental benefits. With improved active travel infrastructure, we would inspire many more people to take up the bicycle, walk or use the bus for daily trips, AND create a resilient, fairer sustainable future /reduce emissions.

During the pandemic in 2020 we experienced peace, the lack of fumes, safe bike ride to the beach when there were few cars on the roads. We have all the ingredients for a healthy, vibrant, sustainable community, except for safe ways of getting to each other. 

“The way we design our towns and villages can affect our culture, and our relationships with each other. We have a massive car culture here in Wales. Car culture erodes opportunities for better health, well being, empathy and trust, which, I believe, are the foundation we need to move together into the future. We are facing a massive transformation like never before with the climate crisis – let’s restore calm  in our communities and bring optimism at a time when we must hold on to and look towards positivity, solidarity and tenacity.” – Sarah, Taliesin

We want to be able to cross the road without fear; speak to our neighbours across the street; cycle or walk to school, work and our local shop; see friends and family; breathe clean air; and get around safely without needing cars. The remaining vehicles must be electric, and many of them could be shared. This is what a zero carbon future could be like – even in a rural area.

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