Cardiff council is to lay out plans for a low emission transport strategy, alongside work being done to establish whether a Clean Air Zone could improve air quality across the city.
Councillors will meet on Thursday (19 April) to approve an action plan which has been drawn up by council officers for the initial steps to be taken in reducing the reliance on fossil fuels in the city’s transport system.
Key actions outlined within the strategy include exploring a potential target for the council’s entire light vehicle fleet to be zero emission by 2022 as well as increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points available within the city.
The city council will also look to encourage suppliers and contractors to make a commitment to reduce emissions as part of the tender process for suitable contracts by autumn/winter 2018, as well as working with Cardiff Bus to identify funding sources for opportunities for buses to use alternative fuels and develop a long term strategy by 2019.
Commenting on the strategy, Cardiff’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Michael Michael said: “There are a number of different ways we can make Cardiff a greener city and this report is looking specifically at transport and the need to move towards renewable fuels to reduce both the city’s carbon emissions and the levels of nitrogen dioxide.
“All of this is linked with the recently launched Transport & Clean Air Green Paper which asks the public on their views on a variety of issues to improve air quality and reduce congestion in the city.
“The Council has a statutory duty to reduce carbon emissions in Cardiff and transport significantly contributes to the problem. In the UK, emissions from transport contribute 24% of the total carbon emissions that are generated.
“Although we do not manage public transport in the city, we do have considerable influence and as a local authority we can act as a ‘catalyst for change’. There are a number of things that need to change to achieve our goals.
“Firstly, we need to ensure that our own fleet of vehicles are not reliant on petrol or diesel engines and we have set an aspiration that we would like to deliver this for our small fleet of vehicles by 2022, with the Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV’s) converted to an alternative fuel by 2030.
“Electric vehicles are the most cost effective option for small vehicles, pool cars and our smaller white vans, provided that adequate charging points are in place. There are fewer low emission options for heavier vehicles but research on the options available, including the use of hydrogen, is progressing quickly.”
Clean Air Zone
Details of the strategy have emerged shortly after the council announced that it would be conducting a feasibility study to determine if a Clean Air Zone is needed within the city to bring nitrogen dioxide levels in line with legal limits.
This follows a legal direction from the Welsh Government stating that the council must identify options for delivering compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time, by June 30.
The council has launched a Green Paper on Clean Air in the city and is urging residents to take part in the conversation about ideas that could shape the future of Cardiff’s transport system.
Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, Cllr Caro Wild said: “A Clean Air Zone is something we might very well need to consider if, as we have been directed, we are to deliver compliance with legal limits for air quality in the shortest possible time. Clean Air Zones have proven to be an effective way of reducing air pollution in cities across the world, but they all look slightly different – some, such as those in Stuttgart and Berlin ban the most polluting vehicles, whereas London have introduced a Toxicity Charge which targets the most polluting vehicles with a charge. Some Clean Air Zones, like Oxford’s cover the whole city, others focus on specific districts.
“What is important to us is to have a conversation with the people of Cardiff about how changes might affect them, so we can try and ensure fairness and equality is central to decision making. We would urge people to join in the conversation around our green paper and have their voices heard.”
Cardiff city council: Low emission transport strategy