The notorious “Cogan Dip” – the section of Windsor Road running from the Brain’s Railway Bridge to Cogan Railway Station – is to remain designated as what’s called an AQMA – an “air quality management area” – the only such area anywhere in the Vale.
This section of Windsor Road, Penarth has been an air quality blackspot for several years because of heavy slow-moving or stopped vehicles in the so-called “traffic canyon” formed by the dip in the road and the high railway embankment running alongside
The Vale of Glamorgan Council had hoped to lift the AQMA designation – a designation which legally forces the council to take action to improve air quality – but it can’t lift the designation yet, because the latest air samples gathered there still aren’t good enough.
One sample showed that Andrew Road – leading off Windsor Road – had a high reading of Nitrogen Dioxide (40.3μg) but this result was reclassified as ” kerbside” and “in compliance with the national objective” .
After the most recent review of air quality data collected at the site, the Vale Council’s ruling ‘cabinet’ has had little choice but to accept an internal report’s recommendation that the council continues to monitor air quality at this section of Windsor Road – and leaves the AQMA in place for the time being – pending a further assessment.
That means that concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide and “particulate matter” (deposits of very-fine solid material emitted by diesel engines) will continue to be monitored at the Cogan location – using automatic equipment.
It’s also now being recommended that a “permanent traffic counter” should be installed in the vicinity of automatic monitoring equipment to enable “correlation between pollutant concentrations and traffic flow”.
The continuation of the AQMA designation could well have consequences for future planning decisions – and could yet scupper parts of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Local Development Plan.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council will now have to examine any planning applications “likely to force significant traffic through the AQMA” – in particular near Cogan Station, impose “conditions” and carry out “air quality impact assessments” on such applications.
The Local Development Plan (LDP) proposes allowing the building of several hundred new houses in Sully, Lavernock and in Penarth itself . However if hundreds more Cardiff-bound vehicles from these new-build estates are routed along Windsor Road the council would now be forced to consider the deleterious effect on air quality in Cogan .