Like an astral conjunction, three transport-related issues are about to collide in Penarth.
First off, the Vale’s Cabinet is meeting tonight in the Paget Rooms, Penarth, at 6pm. And the hot topic of the evening? A proposal to introduce 20mph speed limit zones in Sully and Penarth. So credit to Rob Thomas for a decent quality report, which states:
An area-wide 20 mph speed limit could also contribute to delivering wider policy initiatives which the Council is promoting such as improvements to health or greater use of walking and cycling for journeys to schools. It also has the potential to improve community cohesion and recognise the community function of streets and not just as conduits for traffic. 20 mph zones within Penarth and Llandough could be viewed as a contributing factor in changing peoples travel habits encouraging a move towards more sustainable modes of transport.
But this wouldn’t have come about without getting someone to sponsor it. So well done the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation – Penarth’s very own Lis Burnett – for getting this important issue on the agenda.
I’m no specialist in transport planning, but it turns out that Friends of the Earth has done a bit of work on 20mph zones that makes the case pretty watertight. And that makes me think that we should go the whole hog, and make the entire communities of Penarth and Sully into 20mph zones (like you, I’m wondering why Llandough has been excluded from this report).
The second issue is one that really made me sit up. Because if you delve deep in the Byzantine mysteries that are the Vale’s pollution webpages you’ll discover that the Vale council is undertaking a consultation into declaring an Air Quality Management Area in Penarth.
I don’t want to blow my own trumpet unnecessarily, but I can’t help thinking that my having raised this issue time and time and time again may have helped focus the minds of the monkeys at the top of the decision-making tree. After all, sequential Vale administrations since at least 2006 (and probably a lot further back) have been quite content to see the residents of Cogan poisoned.
But better late than never, the council has finally swung into action. So for those of us who would like to see the Vale comply with their legal obligations it might be an idea to pop down Cogan leisure centre next Thursday 31 January or Thursday 7 February to remind them of the Ambient Air Quality Directive, and to suggest some ways that air quality might be improved in Cogan.
Top of that list might be for Penarth to become one large 20mph zone. But a close second would be making sure that there is good provision of cycle and walking infrastructure. And that’s where the third item of interest comes in. Because I’m hearing whispers that hundreds of thousands of pounds of lottery funding is about to disappear in a puff of smoke on 4 April due to Vale incompetence and Crest Nicholson’s obfuscation.
I don’t know what the meat of the disagreement is. But the lottery money, already allocated for cycle and walking routes through Penarth Heights, will be reclaimed if it’s not spent in the current financial year.
After giving a whiff of praise to the current Labour administration for opening up discussions on making Penarth a 20mph community and for finally getting to grips with their legal obligations on air pollution in Cogan, surely they wouldn’t want to be responsible for saying ‘hwyl fawr’ to a few hundred thousand pounds of free cash?
Or for making their ability to reduce air pollution in Cogan that bit harder.