Swansea confirms air pollution sign switch-on


Swansea City and County Council has not given up on a planned air pollution advisory system, despite years of delay.

The authority intends to switch on the system later this year, possibly around September.

The city’s 2004 action plan for the Hafod air pollution zone envisaged using the Nowcaster traffic model from Swedish company OPSIS to interpret data from air monitoring stations, traffic counters and meteorological forecasts.

Swansea at night - illuminated without the signs

The software would generate advice for drivers to take alternative routes or use the authority’s park and ride sites.

The council’s target was ‘system to be proven by December 2005’ with ‘further development ongoing’.

Six variable message road signs were installed for the system in 2012 but during a Welsh Assembly debate last week, Conservative AM Suzy Davies said the Nowcaster electronic boards ‘are a mysterious feature’ of Swansea’s landscape'.

‘I’m not sure if they’re supposed to reduce air pollution in themselves or protect us from it, because at the moment they actually do neither. These signs, which cost the Welsh Government £100,000 back in 2012, are still not working,’ she said.

A Swansea spokesman told Transport Network that the project had not been abandoned and the authority was not seeking financial redress from suppliers. 

'The software was built in Sweden but this is the first time it’s been used. The delays are down to it being the first of its kind.’

Last month London mayor Sadiq Khan said he had ordered Transport for London to develop roadside signs and other alerts to warn the public of hazardous local air pollution.


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