The capital’s clean air strategy does not go far enough, a leading transport academic has claimed.
Dr Dimitris Potoglou, a senior lecturer in transport at Cardiff University, said understanding why drivers use their cars is the key to lowering emissions.
More than 140 deaths a year in Cardiff are caused by air pollution according to Public Health Wales.
Cardiff council has proposed a clean air zone to help lower emissions.
Dr Potoglou says setting a strategy is “very welcome” because it provides a way to tackle issues but more must be done.
“The key message is that monitoring emissions alone is not enough but trying to link with the cause of the problem, which in this particular case is traffic emissions is also important. Trying to understand how traffic is being generated in this city and what are the different driving factors leading onto this demand for travel is important to be able to tackle the key issue.
“At the moment Cardiff has a very limited capacity in terms of the number of cars that it can serve. [The roads] are effectively built for travel demand from 30-40 years ago.”
Dr Potoglou believes understanding people’s travel behaviour and needs would allow the council to build an enhanced public transport infrastructure.
Cardiff council has identified the following areas as pollution hotspots:
- Ely Bridge
- Stephenson Court
- City centre
In a report the council said it will continue to monitor pollution levels and a clean air strategy will be published in 2018. It will evaluate current measures to improve air quality and set out potential new measures. These will be assessed for effectiveness, cost and the timescale of their implementation.
One proposed measure is a clean air zone which would charge more heavily polluting vehicles to enter certain zones in the city.
Cardiff council was unavailable for comment.