Welsh Conservatives are calling for more clean air zones and greater pedestrianisation.
Shadow Environment Secretary David Melding yesterday launched the party’s Liveable Cities strategy for urban renewal and a focus on healthier, happier cities and towns, which is an extension of the schemes announced last month by Labour controlled Welsh Assembly.
Key to that goal is the creation of clean air zones in Newport, Swansea, Cardiff and Wrexham where vehicles would be excluded, limited or charged, and he wants greater policy coordination to pedestrianize more streets and ban vehicles.
The document also suggests Cardiff aims to become the UK’s first Carbon Neutral City, a single-use plastics ban in Wales, extensive ‘green roofing’ and brownfield sites regenerated at a discount for developers to build sustainable accommodation.
Shadow Environment Secretary, David Melding, said, “With more than two thirds of the Welsh population now living in the country’s urban areas, there is an urgent need for a strategy to ensure that our towns and cities are healthier, happier living spaces.
“We have an ambitious and innovative set of proposals to reimagine urban areas to avoid the dangers of overcrowding and urban sprawl which have blighted other parts of the world.
“Regional growth deals in Cardiff and Swansea can serve as a catalyst to attracting highly skilled young people from across the country, but that will only heighten the need to create ‘liveable cities’ which are good for the economy, whilst remaining socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.”
A consultation is already underway in Cardiff over council plans to introduce a clean air zone in the capital and exclude or charge vehicles to enter while encouraging greater use of public transport, even before the new transport hub is completed in the city centre. It has also attracted criticism from a motoring organisation which warned it would make the situation worse.
The situation has escalated after Welsh Government lost a High Court case over emissions legislation and has now announced several plans to look at clean air zones and restrict traffic speed on selected motorway and major roads through built up areas inside two months.