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Written Statement - Written statement on the designation of the first tranche of urban quiet areas under the Environmental Noise Directive
I am writing to inform Assembly Members of the designation of the first tranche of quiet areas in agglomerations (large urban areas) under the Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC). The Directive requires competent authorities in Member States to identify quiet areas in their environmental noise action plans, and any actions that aim to protect those areas from an increase in noise. In our Programme for Government we committed to the effective and efficient implementation in Wales of all such Directives.
The Welsh Government consulted on its procedure for designating quiet areas and published the confirmed procedure in May 2011. Our policy, developed in partnership with local authorities, is to prioritise nominations of high quality urban green spaces that provide tranquillity benefits to local residents. These are typically areas that could in time apply for Green Flag Award status.
Once an area has been designated as a quiet area, Planning Policy Wales requires development plan policies to have regard to the need to protect it from an increase in noise, and requires special consideration where noise-generating development is proposed nearby.
Local authorities nominated candidate quiet areas in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan by submitting forms describing the areas’ tranquil attributes. We have prioritised and consulted upon those areas which are open to local residents and meet the mandatory criteria set out in our published procedure. These include a requirement relating to noise levels on the noise maps that we published in 2007. As we received no consultation responses to the contrary, I have instructed officials to amend the existing noise action plans for agglomerations to list all the areas consulted upon as designated quiet areas.
A second round of noise mapping is taking place under the Directive this year, following which a second tranche of candidate quiet areas will be consulted upon, this time including the Newport agglomeration.
The Directive only makes provision for quiet areas in the largest urban agglomerations, with populations of 100,000 or greater. Many smaller Welsh towns are therefore not included in the current initiative. However, as announced last week I have made £500,000 available to trial a grant scheme for local authorities which may be used to improve the provision of tranquil green space in deprived communities right across Wales. We will also review the quiet areas initiative once it has bedded in, to see how it can inform Wales-wide policies promoting the provision of attractive, tranquil green spaces wherever they are needed the most.
The first tranche of designated quiet areas are as follows:
Vale of Glamorgan Council
- Belle Vue Park
- Penarth Head Lane
- Victoria Playing Fields
- Golden Gates
- Alexandra Park
- Heath Park
- Thompson’s Park
- Parc Caedelyn
- Roath Park (wild gardens, lake and botanical gardens)
- Roath Park Pleasure Gardens
- Roath Park Recreation Ground
City and County of Swansea
- Cwmdonkin Park
- Dunvant Park
- Fendrod Lake
- Parc Llewellyn
- Morriston Park
- Oystermouth Cemetery
- Ravenhill Park
- Underhill Park
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council
- Talbot Memorial Park
- Vivian Park
- Neath Abbey Ruins
- Mount Pleasant Park, Melin
- Skewen Park
- Shelone Woods
- Baglan Park
- Victoria Gardens
- Church Place
- King George V Park, Pontardawe