Heavy traffic: Sandy Road

SANDY Road and Felinfoel Rd in Llanelli have been over the health limit for readings of air quality for the whole of 2018.

The Air Pollution Figures (fig1) show Sandy Road 2 having all 12 yearly readings over the health limit of 40 and furthermore even after the average and bias factor has been taken into account they are still over the limit. That claim is being made by local campaigner Ray Jones.

Sandy Road resident: Ray Jones

Mr Jones contacted Llanelli Online when he was sent the results. He said: Not only are the levels dangerously high, but now we have another receptor (Sandy Road 3) showing 10 out of the 12 readings over the limit and the two that are under both read 38.9.

“This was the trend originally with Sandy Road 2 that showed over the limit readings and after the average and the bias factor were added the readings registered a total below, that was the same scenario as Sandy Road 2 did originally.”

Mr Jones has long campaigned for a bypass, which he believes will take most of the queuing traffic off Sandy Rd by easing congestion. It is a model some say is flawed, including Llanelli’s AM Lee Waters.

We contacted the Llanelli AM to put the latest results to him. We asked what the Welsh Assembly were doing to reduce air pollution in the two areas and what they were doing to minimise the impact on the health of local residents.

Frustrated with the council: Lee Waters and Nia Griffith

Lee Waters AM said:  “I have just come from a meeting with air-quality experts to discuss this very subject.

“As you know this is an area of responsibility for the county council. Nia and I became so frustrated at the lack of willingness of the Council to engage people with the problems on Sandy Road that we held our own public consultation exercise last year and presented a report to Carmarthenshire Council.

“We have been very frustrated at the time it is took them to meet with us after we presented our findings, and the lack of action that flowed from it.

“We agree with experts that altering the sequencing of the traffic lights can make a difference. It is not clear to us what the council is doing about this.

“We know that at some times of the day that the quality of the air on parts of Sandy Road and Felinfoel Road are dangerous.

“This has been made worse by the decision of the council to build so many houses on an already congested road.

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“I have taken the initiative to work with the schools on Sandy Road to try and get them to encourage pupils and staff to car share, walk and cycle as well as use public transport.

“The level of engagement from the schools has been mixed and the willingness of the council to follow through has been disappointing. I hope that will change.

“Fundamentally there are two things that need to be done to improve local air quality, we need fewer car journeys and we need cleaner cars.

“At the national level the expectation is that the take up of electric cars will help local air quality, and the Welsh Government is currently rolling out a program of £2 million investment to encourage more charging points so that people can be encouraged to shift to electric.

“We are also beginning a major overhaul of the way we run buses in Wales, to deliver better services that will encourage people to use more sustainable forms of transport.

“We are also investing in cleaner, electric, buses.

“And as the deputy minister for economy and transport I am looking at how we can make cycling and walking a more attractive option for people to travel short distances.”

We also contacted Carmarthenshire County Council to ask what was being done at a local level.

Ruth Mullen, Director of Environment, said: “We have an Air Quality Action Plan in place that engages residents and schools in improving air quality in key areas, as well as regular monitoring and measuring that is reported to our Environmental and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee.

“We continue to work across council departments and with relevant partners, including Welsh Government, on air quality across the county. We also continue to invest in infrastructure to support eco-friendly travel with more rapid charge points for electric vehicles, as well as leading by example by including electric vehicles and low-emission vehicles across the council’s fleet.”

Fig 1. Air Pollution Levels 2018

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