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With news on Welsh urban quiet areas; ‘A Cleaner Future’ conference in Doncaster; and, the impact of devolving rail services in London on congestion

29 urban quiet areas designated in South Wales

Welsh Environment Minister, John Griffiths has granted ‘quiet area’ status to 29 locations across urban South Wales. Once an area has been designated it is protected from increases in noise by the Environmental Noise Directive and planning policy.

Four local authorities, Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff, were invited to submit lists of their selected quiet areas earlier this year. A consultation period followed. The places being granted official quiet status include large, public spaces such as Heath Park, Cardiff, Cwmdonkin Park, Swansea and Neath Abbey ruins. The full list can be found here.

This is first tranche of designated quiet areas in large urban areas under the Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC). The Directive requires the Welsh Government to identify quiet areas in their noise action plans and implementation of EU Directives is a Programme for Government commitment. A second round of noise mapping is taking place later this year, following which a second tranche of quiet areas will be consulted upon, including this time areas in Newport.

Mr Griffiths said: “It is important that people living and working in large urban areas have access to quiet areas where they can relax, unwind and enjoy time with family and friends.”

Air Quality conference to take place this week

Public and private sector workers from across the country are set to gather in Doncaster on Wednesday (May 30) for the ‘A Cleaner Future’ conference on air quality management.

Doncaster Mansion House: The conference will examine many aspects of air quality management
The national conference hosted by Doncaster council’s pollution control team on behalf of South Yorkshire air pollution campaign Care4Air, will include expert speakers presenting on a number of topics such as the impact of air quality on health and encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles.

The event will also include discussion of the latest developments in the ECO Stars scheme, designed to provide recognition, guidance and advice to operators of goods vehicles, buses and coaches across South Yorkshire. A number of transport and freight operators will be awarded 5* ratings during the conference.

Peter Davies, Mayor of Doncaster who will be opening the conference said: “While there are still localised areas of poor air quality, things in Doncaster and across the region have greatly improved.

“The challenge we now see before us is to enable the economies of Doncaster and South Yorkshire to grow while protecting these hard won gains and as Mayor, I have a number of priorities that fit in with this challenge.

“By developing relationships with business, such as the highly successful ECO Stars scheme for fleet operators, we can mutually benefit both the economy by helping businesses save money and the environment by improving emissions.”

Devolving power over rail ‘will cut emissions’

Devolving responsibility for rail services in London could help improve services and attract more customers away from their cars,  thereby reducing carbon emissions, according to Transport for London (TfL).

TfL is a statutory corporation regulated under local government finance rules and is responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London has issued a draft response to a Department for Transport consultation on ‘Reforming our Railways’ which outlines the government’s plans to devolve responsibility for the railways to local bodies in a bid to make them more cost effective. It is to be discussed at a meeting of TfL’s finance and policy committee on May 31.

The agenda for the meeting claims that devolution of rail services in the capital will lead to improved stations, higher standards of service quality, better performance and lower rail network crime, which would help support economic growth because additional rail travel will be generated, meaning that traffic will shift away from the private car and towards public transport, reducing congestion.

It explains: “The performance and service quality improvements proposed by TfL would generate additional passenger demand especially in the off peak when journeys are more discretionary. A proportion of these journeys would switch from car, reducing CO2 emissions. Evidence from London Overground has shown that around ten per cent of new rail journeys have transferred from car.”

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