A ‘temporary’ 50mph speed limit on a stretch of the A494 in Deeside which has been slammed by drivers as being dangerous looks set to be made permanent.
In a public notice published online it is stated that “Welsh Ministers propose to make an Order in exercise of their powers under section 84(1)(a) and (2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984”.
“The effect of the proposed Order will be to impose a permanent 50 mph speed limit on the lengths of the A494 trunk between St David’s Park Interchange and Deeside Industrial Park.”
The speed limit, which has been in place since last summer, featured as part of a Welsh Government initiative to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide on roads across Wales where emissions have been found to exceed legal limits
New electronic signage was also introduced on the A494 to promote a ‘smooth traffic flow’ in a bid to reduce the high levels of nitrogen dioxide.
The speed limit was introduced to “safeguard public health” but regular A494 users say the road has now become dangerous with many drivers choosing to ignore it on what was a 70mph stretch of road.
Using data from traffic monitoring website INRIX the average vehicle speed measured on the Sealand stretch of the A494 is 61mph, 11mph above the speed limit.
In a report last September the Welsh Government said Average Speed Cameras will be installed on the A494 in Deeside as it looks set to make the temporary 50mph speed limit permanent, no dates or further information on that move has been released by ministers in Cardiff.
Poor air quality contributes to an estimated 2,000 deaths per year in Wales, with exposure affecting vulnerable population groups in particular.
All Councils have a legal obligation to monitor and assess the air quality of their County, as directed by Part IV of the Environment Act 1995.
EU legalisation establishes health-based standards for a number of pollutants present in the air, it states that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels should not exceed 40µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter air) over a 12 month period.
Data published by a Welsh Government shows in 2016, over a four-month period – showed nitrogen dioxide concentration levels along the A494 at Aston Hill reached 51.6 µg/m3.
The speed reduction measures aimed to deliver improvements to air quality at key locations with 50mph speed limits expected to reduce emissions by up to 18%.
The government says evidence shows nitrogen dioxide emissions are at their lowest when light vehicles, the main contributors to emissions, travel at speeds between 40 and 50 mph.
Speaking last summer, Minister for Environment Hannah Blythyn said: “I am committed to taking action to reduce air pollution in Wales to support a healthier future for our communities and protect our natural environment.
“Current levels of nitrogen dioxide exceed the legal limit at the five road locations, so we need to act as soon as possible.
“We have been carrying out investigations into all potential measures for reducing nitrogen dioxide levels.
“Our initial studies tell us that 50mph speed limits should have the greatest potential to improve air quality at each location.
Anyone who wants to object to the speed limit being changed from temporary to permanent do by writing to Orders Branch, Transport, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ or by e-mail to TransportOrdersBranch@gov.wales by 29 April 2019.