The state of our children’s health in years to come was the main concern of Plaid Cymru Councillor Siân Thomas when she spoke in the Environment Scrutiny Committee of Carmarthenshire County Council last week.
The debate was regarding Air Pollution and her concerns were about the children of Llandeilo. The “Local Air Quality Management Update” is a mandatory review according to the 1995 Environment Act. Although the Air Pollution from industries in Carmarthenshire is not serious what is of great concern is the pollution from traffic. There are 6 sites in Carmarthenshire that reported higher Nitrogen Dioxide than the acceptable level of 40.
Five of these were in Llanelli and the Council believes this is now being remedied by the greater use by lorries of the Morfa Berwick link road to avoid the town centre, and the new traffic flowing systems around St Elli church.
However the black spot of Rhosmaen St in Llandeilo remains a great problem where the figure is 48.
This is called by the “Canyon Effect” where the tall buildings either side of Rhosmaen St trap the exhaust fumes of the lorries, that as well as driving through have to make stop starts to negotiate the narrow road, which makes the problem worse.
“What worries me” said Councillor Siân Thomas “is that the pollution is so much higher than the safe levels and that this is measured by diffusion tubes placed high on lamp posts out of vandals’ reach. The children walking to our two schools off Rhosmaen St are so much lower and so nearer the pollution. Very small toddlers and tots in buggies and pushchairs are on face level with these lorry exhausts and are breathing it all in. What effect will this have on their health in years to come?
“The only solution is a bypass for this traffic from the A40 down to Llanelli or the M4. Plaid Cymru have been fighting ever since I joined the Council for this bypass. But when we asked in the meeting we were told it was once again delayed until at least 2014. This is not good enough. We must fight for the health of our children. This is for me a Health and Safety priority.”