BUILDING 219 homes on the former University of South Wales (USW) campus in Caerleon will not have a significant impact on traffic pollution levels in the area, the developer behind the plans has said.
Concerns have been raised after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, from Conservative Senedd candidate for Newport West, Michael Enea, showed nitrogen dioxide levels exceeded air quality directives at two locations on the High Street.
Traffic pollution levels in Caerleon are still breaching targets, despite air quality having improved over recent years.
Air quality monitors show nitrogen dioxide levels, due to traffic emissions, exceed air quality objectives of 40 micrograms per cubic metre on Caerleon High Street.
Mr Enea has raised concerns over the impact of housing on air quality levels.
“We will see an estimated 200 plus extra vehicles, going onto Caerleon’s roads after they build this new housing estate,” he said.
“That is not going to lower air pollution levels.”
Caerleon councillor Joan Watkins said the FOI presents “concerning figures”.
“It’s also revealed they have never even taken any NO2 readings directly outside Charles Williams Primary School which is located next to the air pollution zone,” she said.
“During the school-run, the traffic can come to a virtual standstill outside the school.”
However air quality is improving, and nitrogen dioxide levels have fallen from 58.6 in 2010 to 48.6 in 2019 on the High Street, according to planning documents.
Plans for housing on the former campus were approved on the basis that air quality is expected to continue to improve in Caerleon.
Improvements to cycling and pedestrian access, and the inclusion of electric vehicle charging points in the plans, were also considered.
Jane Carpenter, planning director for developers Redrow said “detailed assessments of traffic and air quality impact” were conducted as part of the planning application.
“This analysis clearly demonstrated that the impact of our development would be negligible,” she said.
“However, our commitment to building sustainable communities and promoting health and wellbeing means that we will be taking extra steps to protect and improve air quality including the installation of electric charging points for electric cars in all our houses.
“We have also agreed on a series of measures that will provide for better walking and cycling opportunities within the village and no heavy construction traffic will enter the air quality management area.”