[:en]Cynnal Cymru has recently been involved in a very interesting project; helping Cardiff Council develop a clean air and transport green paper. In the research phase we talked to a number of experts, attended and staged several relevant events and did a lot of reading. It is clear to us that we are at the dawn of a new technological age. What isn’t so clear is how market forces, legislation and people’s behaviour will interact in response to the technology on offer.
The current Cardiff Council cabinet has laudable ambitions to decarbonise transport in the city. Admittedly this is in part driven by legal pressures to achieve higher levels of air quality but the ambition is also driven by a genuine commitment to improve the health and well-being of residents and visitors.
There is a growing body of practice across the globe which shows how municipal governments can transform the urban environment, creating city centres in which active travel dominates. This necessitates a considerable degree of behavioural and cultural change. It is not surprising that some people are unsettled. Some of the big ideas proposed by Cardiff Council, most notably the suggestion – and at the green paper stage it is only a suggestion – of a charging clean air zone, will no doubt surprise and alarm some people. Residents and visitors have to bear in mind however that if the city is fined for not improving its air quality, that economic penalty will have wide repercussions. Some kind of change is unavoidable. The weight of evidence from around Europe and the wider world compels the city to act or get left behind. Bristol, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Birmingham, Liverpool and many other cities are implementing plans to increase active travel, reduce car travel and improve air quality.
It has been a fascinating journey for us; horizon-scanning, working our way through the knowledge base, collaborating with senior officers and elected members. There are many exciting initiatives happening across the UK; from journey planning apps, integrated ticketing systems, electric and hydrogen busses, electric and fuel cell cars, local smart grids, electro-push freight bikes, pedestrianisation of city centres, last mile delivery hubs, through to the headline-grabbing world of “driverless cars” and “connected autonomous vehicles”.
How much of this will be seen on the streets of Cardiff any time soon is largely dependent on the response of the public and businesses to the green paper as much as it is on the successful roll-out of the south Wales metro concept. We suggest that the current Green Paper consultation is a rare chance for you, our members, to endorse some pretty radical ideas for our capital city. Here’s how you can have your say….
Changing how we move around a growing city
“We all know Cardiff’s transport network needs to change. Too many of us have been stuck in traffic trying to drop off our children, or late for work because the bus didn’t turn up, and whilst a growing number want to walk or cycle, the facilities to do so are often inadequate.
There is also now a more alarming and pressing matter. Pollution levels in Cardiff are now damaging our health. Improving the air we breathe has become a matter of life or death. The latest figures from Public Health Wales suggest that the number of death per year that can be attributed to poor air quality has increased to over 225 across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. With Cardiff growing faster than any other UK city outside of London and projected to grow by more than every other local authority in Wales combined it is essential that action be taken before it is too late.
This Green Paper sets out our big ideas of changes we could make that we believe would improve transport and air quality in our city. They are all possible but we want to have a conversation with the people of Cardiff about the issues, and how changes could impact their lives because, ultimately, we will all need to shape our future together.”
Cllr Caro Wild, Cabinet Member for Transport and Strategic Planning
The consultation on this Green Paper closes on the 1st July 2018.[:]