ASLEF Response - Clean Air (Wales) Bill White Paper

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We largely welcome the plan to consolidate and update legislation to enable Wales to set targets and address pollution levels with the aim to disincentivise the use of polluting private motor vehicles and we generally agree with the aims of the proposals.

ASLEF's response to the consultation on the Clean Air (Wales) Bill White Paper.

  1. The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) is the UK’s largest train driver’s union representing approximately 21,000 members in train operating companies and freight companies as well as London Underground and light rail systems. The union has just over 650 members in Wales

  2. We largely welcome the plan to consolidate and update legislation to enable Wales to set targets and address pollution levels with the aim to disincentivise the use of polluting private motor vehicles and we generally agree with the aims of the proposals.

  3. On question 7 we would hope that there is transparency around the ‘partners’ involved and how they were chosen, particularly with the involvement of private companies. We would also like to see the sharing of successes i.e. best practice, across local authorities to enable them to learn from each other and work collaboratively with each other and their ‘partners’.

  4. On question 9 the proposals would support the roll out of Clean Air Zones / Low Emission Zones. We would however, expect these to be rolled out with suitable warning for residents, businesses and workers who would be impacted by these charges.

  5. On question 10, the revenue raised through trunk road charges we believe should be made available for efforts to improve the air quality as well as to support local transport policies. Primarily the funds raised should be invested in ensuring that suitable green alternatives to private motor vehicle use are available such as passenger rail, tram, bus and walking / cycling infrastructure. Outside of these alternatives, it would make sense that the charges for polluting are spent on efforts to improve air quality through other efforts such as funding the work of AQAPs.

  6. On question 12 we would be cautious of an overzealous approach to fine people with a preference for warnings in the first instance at least whilst the legislation is new. This sensible approach would allow citizens the time to adapt and adjust their behaviour and attitude to private vehicle use. With regards to idling of buses, we would expect the Welsh Government to pressure the operators to ensure that they continue to invest in and use green alternatives to diesel engines.

  7. On question 13 an additional approach to tackle engine idling would be to ensure that investments in connected rail, metro, bus, tram and walking / cycle ways are continued to ensure that a suitable alternative to private motor vehicle use is attractive enough to change attitudes without the need to rely on fines. Another additional approach would be to incentivise and promote the use of rail freight in place of road freight, this would help to reduce the large polluting vehicles on roads and encourage more citizens to use alternative transport such as cycling and walking due to a lower volume of large and heavy goods vehicles on both trunk and local roads.

  8. As stated, we agree with the proposals and hope that they are enacted with a joined up approach with the ongoing planned investment into Wales’ rail infrastructure. We hope that ongoing investment provides services that are regular and affordable for citizens and also leads to a connected investment in local public transport services. Without an effective and cheap local public transport system, or a cost effective alternative for longer journeys for people and goods the first choice will continue to be motor vehicle. This could have the undesired effect of sending traffic down less used routes to avoid newly imposed charges and lead to air and noise pollution increasing in other parts of Wales.