WENVOE FORUM CONSIDERING TODAY AND TOMORROW
Reducing Air Pollution and Carbon Emissions
Last month we wrote about harmful pollutants that may be hiding in the Wenvoe air. Much of the time roads through the village are quiet but at peak hours traffic pressures combine with HGVs and vans with diesel engines, people using Old Port Road trying to avoid queues, parents doing the school run. Those parts of the village that are close to the busy Port Road will also experience higher levels of emissions. What can we do, as village residents, to reduce the pollution?
At its most basic, reduction of air pollution from vehicles is obvious. Reduce the time engines are running. Let’s start with the quick wins:
- Reduce the number of vehicle journeys. Plan your vehicle use to minimise trips. Walk, cycle or use public transport if you can or share vehicles.
- Reduce the mileage and time of journeys. Choose to use local services and make journeys when the roads are quieter.
- Keep engine running time to a minimum. Make sure all the passengers are ready to depart, before you start the engine. Don’t leave the engine idling. On a public highway this contravenes the Highway Code and is liable to an on the spot fine of £20.
You may have all these things in mind already and they make good sense. If we each find one extra reduction we can make, it will make a difference.
Let’s think in a bit more detail. Firstly, considering the centre of the village, especially as the school is at the heart of the densest traffic and therefore our youngest residents are at greatest risk. Consider walking to activities within the village rather than driving. For most people it’s only a few minutes’ walk to school, church, the library, the shop, the Wenvoe Arms. The school is already in a scheme to promote walking to school which has many advantages beyond pollution reduction – well done Gwenfo Primary. The Forum will help if we can.
No-one is going to blame anyone for jumping in the car when it’s raining hard, and those a bit further away might have to adopt other strategies but every vehicle journey saved will improve the air. In time we are likely to be moving to electric cars which will help, though still create some local pollution through brake and tyre particles and asphalt dust.
Turning off engines whilst stationary makes a difference. Some car models do this automatically but if you are going to be stopped for a minute or more it’s worth turning off the engine. Be conscious and conscientious! Some of the vehicles left idling while passengers are in the shop come from outside the village. With the help of the Vale of Glamorgan Project Zero team who met with us all in July, the drivers of council vehicles at the Alps Depot have been alerted by senior managers that they need to switch off their engines. We are exploring signage to ask other drivers for the same courtesy.
We hope to be able to measure the air pollution and wouldn’t it be nice to declare Wenvoe a VERY LOW pollution zone? We are told it adds to house values. Perhaps in time we might be able to put signs at each end of the village to deter those who use the village to dodge queues on the main road too.
Turning to those parts of the village nearer the main road which are predominantly used by non-Wenvoe residents, it may feel that pollution in these areas is outside residents’ control. Working on the basis that every little helps all, the suggestions already made still hold true. It is possible that we can do more.
The Welsh Government plans to introduce legislation in 2023 on reducing the speed limit to 20mph in many places that currently have a 30 mph limit. Initial research showed that the public is generally supportive. ‘There is evidence that lower speeds result in fewer collisions and a reduced severity of injuries, as well as bringing environmental benefits by decreasing emissions from vehicles and by encouraging active travel.’ (Beaufort Research 2021)
There is a public consultation exercise and Wenvoe Forum will submit its comments. As well as supporting speed reduction, we will also highlight how our community is divided by a busy through route which will retain a much higher speed limit. We will underline how the lack of safe crossing points impacts on residents and restricts their capacity to walk or cycle safely and reach public transport provision. We will stress that consideration should be given to providing road crossings as part of the plan. Any roll out of this plan and decisions on which 30mph zones will be lowered will involve the local authority, so we will also copy our response to the Vale of Glamorgan LA.
This development is in an early stage. As it progresses, we can try to shape developments to provide the most benefit to us and our environment.
If your What’s On is delivered in time you can personally respond to the consultation which closes on Oct 1st https://gov.wales/proposal-reduce-speed-limit-20mph-residential-streets
We will keep you informed of other opportunities to influence. Comments and new members welcome.
List of Suppliers: Other ways of reducing vehicle miles are to plan your weekly menus and have food and goods delivered. Back at the beginning of lockdown the wonderfully community spirited team behind Wenvoe Community Support Group Facebook page created a list of traders who will deliver to Wenvoe. We have added to and updated it and you can find an expanded version on our blog https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/ Please let us know if we’ve missed anyone.
@ForumGwenfo; e-mail Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/ Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402;