The Operational Manager– Enterprise and Specialist Services reported on an update on the draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) for the Park Street Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), following receipt of the initial transportation and air quality modelling results undertaken on a number of the measures initially identified in the draft AQAP.
He reported that the 2021 Annual Progress Report (APR) confirmed that in 2020 air quality continued to be a concern along Park Street coinciding with the geographical boundary of the Park Street, Bridgend AQMA Order. Monitoring undertaken in 2020 at monitoring sites OBC-110 & OBC-123, located on Park Street residential facades, still demonstrated annual average levels in exceedance of the annual average air quality objective. He stated that while Shared Regulatory Services and the Council had made good headway in developing the AQAP in accordance with Welsh Government’s Policy Guidance, inevitably the impacts and associated difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that the timeline has had to be extended in consultation with Welsh Government. An AQAP Work Steering Group was established, comprising specialists across Bridgend County Borough Council, as well as from partner agencies to develop ideas and to ensure an effective AQAP and to collate ideas and suggestions, a list of mitigation measures was created.
He reported that detailed air quality and transportation modelling was commissioned on the mitigation options that would manage and improve traffic flows through the Park Street AQMA, to deliver air quality improvements in the shortest time possible, and in line with the ambitions of Welsh Government and the Council, to reduce levels to as low as reasonably practicable. He informed Cabinet of the options which had emerged and modelled, namely Do Minimum - Introduction of a right turn holding lane at the Junction of Park Street with Heol y Nant (measure 21); and Do Something (inclusive of the above); deny all access onto St Leonards Road (Measure 18); and optimise the Park Street/Angel Street/Tondu Road Junction (Measure 20).
He informed Cabinet that under the planning consent for the former Ysgol Bryn Castell site, there was a requirement to introduce a right turn holding lane at the Junction of Park Street with Heol y Nant. This had been modelled as the Do Minimum scenario in the modelling exercises, as this change had now been implemented. Modelling of the right turning lane demonstrated congestion reduction on Park Street from vehicles turning right onto Heol-y-nant. He stated that to fully assess the impacts on air quality, the dispersion model had identified 35 receptor points (R1 – R35 on the location plan) along Park Street and surrounding streets in addition to modelling concentrations at the existing monitoring locations on Park Street (designated by the OBC- prefix). These locations allow an assessment of relevant exposure across a wider area to assess the impact of the interventions.
He reported that the Do Something scenario was forecasted to provide a significant improvement in terms of NO2 concentrations, the draft AQAP will need to be amended to reflect the final validated outcomes of the modelling. He stated that the draft AQAP would be subject to public consultation after the May 2022 local government elections. Following completion of the public consultation the results of the consultation would be reviewed to enable the finalisation of the AQAP to be reported to Cabinet for approval in advance of the revised submission deadline to Welsh Government of 30 September 2022. He stated that the final AQAP will provide a full implementation timeline of the preferred measures.
The Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations asked for more detail on the public consultation and what opportunities would be given to residents to engage in the consultation. She also asked what residents could do in the meantime to put forward their concerns. The Operational Manager– Enterprise and Specialist Services informed Cabinet that the consultation will take place post the elections over a period of 12 weeks. He stated that Shared Regulatory Services had previously held a public consultation event which was not well attended, but he would look at holding drop-in sessions for residents to participate in. The Leader welcomed the opportunity for residents of Parkside to engage in the consultation. The Cabinet Member Communities commented that it was imperative that residents are notified of the opportunity to take part in the consultation. He stated that traffic orders would need to be in place and asked whether sufficient funding was available for this. The Operational Manager– Enterprise and Specialist Services stated that Shared Regulatory Services had been in discussions with the Traffic Management Team on the traffic orders. The Corporate Director Communities commented on the importance of looking at the traffic orders at the earliest opportunity and conformed that the Operational Manager– Enterprise and Specialist Services had been working with the Traffic Management Team.
The Leader congratulated Helen Picton on her recent appointment to the position of Head of Shared Regulatory Services which she would take up on 1 April 2022.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
Noted that following completion of the public consultation, a final AQAP will be presented to Cabinet for approval prior to being submitted to Welsh Government by the 30th of September 2022.