Sustain Wales Summit 2019: Creating a more sustainable future for Wales

Plasdwr News

Katie Powis, community liaison manager for Plasdŵr

The Sustain Wales Summit is an annual conference held by Cynnal Cymru that highlights emerging ideas, innovative approaches and low-carbon technology, which together can help to create a more sustainable future for Wales.

As members of Cynnal Cymru, our Community Liaison Manager, Katie Powis, went along to this year’s summit which focused on sustainable transport and mobility.

“The annual Sustain Wales Conference brings together expert speakers to discuss the challenges facing sustainability in Wales, and the possible solutions. This year’s topic was sustainable urban travel, which is a key consideration for Cardiff as it continues to grow. The day was split into three themes: air quality, active travel and the South Wales Metro area – below are some of the key issues raised.

“Overall this was a brilliant event, highlighting some fantastic initiatives already in place in Cardiff as well as shining a light on the challenges we need to overcome to make travel in the city more sustainable. Working together and sharing our knowledge will be key to this, which is why events like these are so important.”

Air quality

“Under legal direction from the Welsh Government, Cardiff Council has undertaken a Clean Air Feasibility Study to identify areas of low air quality in the city, understand where future concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are likely to be and assess when we can expect levels to be low enough to comply with EU Limit Values.

“The talk was given by Jason Bale, programme manager for Clean Air Cardiff at Cardiff Council, who has been leading on the study. He explained that measures are being considered to reduce levels of NO2 in the city, with options including implementation of electric buses, retrofitting older buses with cleaner technology, revision of the taxi licensing policy, active travel cycleways and 20 mph limits currently under consultation. Plasdŵr is already implementing some of these, with a network of cycleways planned for the development as well as 20mph zones recommended as part of infrastructure improvements being made locally.”

Active travel

“Nextbike has been a huge success in Cardiff, and Krysia Solheim, managing director of Nextbike UK spoke about their expanding network in the city and the rest of the UK. She highlighted the need for raising awareness of urban mobility, and the fact that active travel is for everyone, not just cycling enthusiasts. She also announced an exciting new scheme with Public Health Wales which will see Nextbike subscriptions being offered on prescription. We’re planning to meet with them soon to discuss future plans for Nextbike in Cardiff and possible opportunities for working together as Plasdŵr grows.

“Next, Dr Tom Porter from Public Health Wales talked about the negative impacts of reliance on vehicles, and lack of movement and exercise, on our health and wellbeing. He also discussed the Cardiff Healthy Travel Charter, which launched in April with 14 public sector organisations committed to supporting and encouraging staff and visitors to their sites to use healthy modes of transport. Tom hopes to expand the charter outside of the public sector to encourage more Cardiff business to get involved.”

The South Wales Metro area

“Transport for Wales’ sustainable development manager, Natalie Rees, explained how the organisation is working with the Office for Future Generations to make sure it’s aligned with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Accessible platforms and the frequency of trains are just two things they’re exploring to ensure the development is sustainable and suitable for years to come. Natalie also explained that TfW is investing £7.8m on decarbonisation and electrification of its trains to reduce the company’s impact on the environment. The Plasdŵr masterplan has been designed to safeguard a route for a possible South Wales Metro service, and we’re excited to see plans for this taking shape.”