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Coast road pollution levels deny clean air for residents claims campaigner

STALWART campaigner Ray Jones from Sandy Road in Llanelli has taken to social media to highlight the ongoing problem of pollution from the increase in the number of vehicles travelling along Sandy Road in Llanelli. He claims that there are plans floating to take away the frontage of homes on Sandy Road to try to ease traffic problems. Ray is well known for his staunch views on the issue, which has blighted the lives of local residents for a number of years.

As anyone who uses the road knows, it can be a long wait in queues of traffic going to and from Llanelli and the numbers of vehicles looks set to increase as more housing estates are built along what the council refers to as the Golden Coast.

It isn’t just pollution, the road has been susceptible to floods with the rear of Sandy Road in a terrible condition and bordered by what has come to be known as the ‘Berlin Wall’, a monstrous looking metal wall, which residents claim has caused problems of flooding  on the East side of the wall.

Ray Jones has been a regular contributor to our letters pages and he has been very vocal in his criticism of the politicians who represent Llanelli, Nia Griffith MP and Lee Waters MS despite the fact that both have spent considerable time and effort looking into the problems along Sandy Road. Both have called for and attended meetings with residents and pressured the council to try to find urgent solutions to the traffic chaos on the road.

Cartoonist Mark Jennings captures the chaos.

Ray has gathered impressive statistics on pollution levels over many years. The statistics quantify his concerns and paint a bleak picture for anyone living in the area. Some solutions have been floated including planting pollution absorbing plants along the road and providing pollution busting gadgets to the residents. Perhaps the most controversial and still the most obvious solution to Ray jones is the construction of a bypass to take traffic off Sandy Road and along the coast parallel with the main railway line. At present it is predominantly waste land and when one looks at an aerial view of the area and Ray’s drawing of his proposed route, it does make a certain amount of sense especially if you have the health and wellbeing of the residents of Sandy Road uppermost in one’s plans to tackle the effects of pollution.

The MS for Llanelli strongly disagrees with Ray’s proposal for a coast hugging by-pass. Ray said: “The MS told me that scientists from Swansea University had concluded that  even if there were a by-pass the wind would still carry the pollution back to Sandy Road.”

A number of traffic management solutions have been implemented including a traffic light system, which residents claim has only compounded the issue with long queues forming at peak times. The area is also subject to heavy flows of large vehicles including school buses and lorries. The bottle neck has seen traffic stretching from North Dock down to Pwll Pavillion at the busiest times in the holiday season.

Ray claims that decades of inappropriate developments have not given any thought of ensuring the proper road infrastructure in place to cater for them by the County Council’s Planning Department. has finally caught up with them.

Ray is adamant that there is only one solid solution that will cure all the ills of bad air pollution and ever increasing traffic congestion in Sandy Road which will continue year on year. That is a by-pass

Ray warns that unless that comes to fruition a few years down the line residents will be back in an even worse predicament and he says “all the wonderful words of wisdom Atkins have been instructed by the Council to come up with to ‘lead us to the promised land’ is just what they really are; flannel and nothing more”.

Speaking to Llanelli Online Ray said: “They say the By-Pass is to expensive, well it is going to get a hell of a lot more expensive years down the line, this issue is not going away so bite the bullet now. The Council had no conscience in throwing away £5.6m Section 106 for the benefit of the local community. This area’s rightful cash to mitigate problems caused by the Stradey Park Development, under the pretence that it should go for the benefit of the wider community to build Parc y Scarlets. We need to urge our M.S. and M.P. to canvass the Welsh Assembly for the grants needed so that Sandy Road residents can breathe clean fresh air and the Missing Link Road West out of Llanelli can help encourage more investment in our area.”

When asked if he had any concerns a by-pass would have on the local ecology Ray said: “Building the By-Pass in the proposed area surrounded by trees, bushes, hedges and greenery which will dilute air pollution at source and reduce carbon footprint in Sandy Road by as much as 80%, now isn’t that for a Greener Planet? It will give Sandy Road residents some hope that they can once again breathe clean fresh air which many people in the surrounding areas take for granted.”

Ray has harsh words for Carmarthenshire County Council. He said: “Sandy Road did not create this monster, the Council did. A monster the By-Pass can rid the area of once and for all. The council have foreseen this for over 40 years since Duport Steel closed in 1981, but selfish nimbys who think only of themselves and not of the greater good will not support any answer that will cure or share the problems the Council created.

Ray dismisses the language used by Atkins, who have been brought in to look at ways of solving the Sandy Road mess. They expect us to fall for the flannel using three words, ecological, economical and social. He said: “Whatever that load of bull means, I’ll tell you who will suffer more socially, are the residents of 19 homes that the Council are attempting to forcibly remove the frontages from to bring the traffic, pollution and vibration right up to their front doors. Taking the traffic one carriageway closer to their homes will increase pollution by as much as 45%. We have figures that prove this.”

Planners are firmly at fault says Ray as he sets out his argument for how residents are bing deprived of the right to breath clean fresh air. What the planners have done is to socially deprive us human beings of any sort of justice as well as the rest of Sandy Road and Denham Avenue of ecological and social rights which all the other areas have been privileged to enjoy at Sandy Road’s expense. Developing the Millennium Coastal Park, Sandy Water Park and not including proper road infrastructure to include quality living conditions for all, then adding a 355 housing development with only two entry/exit points, into Denham Avenue and Sandy Road, then compounding this with a 450 Modern Primary School and allowing disastrous planning so that one entry/exit point blights the very same two streets. Is that socially acceptable?”

Ray claims that politicians including councillors have been standing by and doing nothing. These people have no conscience as the three magic words only protect the people who do not live in Sandy Road and Denham Avenue, the later that has had a road collapse twice in the last 15 years and the devastating flooding of a few decades ago in Iscoed.”

Arranging meetings and speaking to residents: Lee Waters MS and Nia Griffith MP

Ray says that temporary improvements are welcomed, but a By-Pass is the top priority. He said: “Sandy Road will not accept any part of their homes and security to be taken away, would you put up with that scenario? Why should we suffer to build homes for people well away from this area.

The Council know that pollution levels are constantly over the World Health Limit of 40 ugm3, that is not what we are told, they also know that traffic figures are higher than they care to admit. We have asked for a street long ‘Health Study’ that they can’t supply. Where the hell are the people that represent us, and why is their ideology more important that standing up for us?

A public  consultation is being held to allow feedback on options for improving traffic flow along Llanelli’s Sandy Road.

Carmarthenshire County Council, working with transport engineers at Atkins, is opening a three-week consultation allowing anyone with an interest in the traffic along the A484 to have their say.

The consultation follows several investigations and topographical surveys which has led to some proposals being developed.

Residents in the immediate vicinity of proposed schemes have been invited to a presentation allowing them to speak to the project team before the public consultation opens online on Tuesday, May 18.

The consultation seeks to find out how people travel through Sandy Road and how people feel about the improvement proposals.

Feedback will be reported to the council’s Executive Board before any decisions are made.

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