Category: Cohesive Communities

  • Walking the (sustainability) walk

    We founded Afallen in October 2018 on a set of values.

    We wanted Afallen to be the embodiment of our personal commitments to seeing Wales fulfill its potential as a sustainable country, demonstrating practical ways to improve the way we live, in a way which enriches every citizen and supports our ecosystems.

    One of the most important commitments we make is to keep more money, and people with talent, in Wales. Huge amounts of money – public and private – leaves Wales every day, along with many of our best and brightest in pursuit of job prospects elsewhere. In our own modest way, we aim to keep more of that money and opportunity in Wales; and not just in Wales, but to shovel it as furiously as possible out of Cardiff and into every corner of the country.

    Our commitment to the Future Generations approach is stated on the home page of the website

    We are building our network of partner organisations, sole traders and consultants; from Ynys Môn to Ynysybwl and everywhere in between, we believe that people work best where they are grounded and happy. We want people to be able to achieve great things in the places where they have made their lives. (By the way – if you’re a sole trader, or a small business, focused on delivering excellence in your field – please get in touch!)

    It’s also important to us to demonstrate that we not only say these things, we do them. That’s why we’re delighted to report that for the last year, nearly 97% of our spend was with people and organisations based in Wales. The remaining 3% was for some IT services and insurance.

    When you commission Afallen to work for you, you know that we will do our utmost to support local supply chains. We will endeavour to provide meaningful work for small businesses and individuals right across Wales. In so doing, we will help keep money flowing in the village shops, pubs and post offices which are so vital in maintaining community well-being and resilience.

    Indeed, many of the Well-being Goals could be read as no less than a requirement to focus on retaining money and talent in Wales through supporting local businesses.

    • A resilient Wales? By spreading our spend around small businesses we help build a plurality of choice for others which diversifies the tax base. We’re also able to influence others to become more climate-resilient in the way they carry out their work
    • A Wales of cohesive communities? With more money circulating in the small towns and villages, we have the opportunity to help safeguard essential civic resources.
    • A prosperous Wales? By keeping talent and money in Wales, we are helping to safeguard jobs, education and work opportunities for the young people of tomorrow.
    • A Wales of Vibrant Culture and Thriving Welsh Language? Our commitment to providing all our services through the medium of Welsh (including this blog post!) guarantees that we are playing our part in enabling Welsh to become a natural language of business and community

    This report on our spend over the last twelve months is a pleasure to publish. Our promise is to continue striving towards the goal of 100%, and to help build a Wales that fulfils its promise to Future Generations.

  • Congestion Charge Cardiff – the Future Generations Approach

    Congestion Charge for Cardiff – the Future Generations Approach

    Singapore was first in 1975.

    London’s got one. Stockholm’s got one. Durham, Milan, Gothenburg and Valletta have them.

    Birmingham’s is on the way, as is one for Leeds and Paris.

    Yet, in the ‘land of Future Generations’, we’re still waiting! So we’re setting out here why we think a ‘Clean Air Zone’, or a Congestion Charge, would be a good thing for Cardiff (as a starter – no reason why this shouldn’t be the default for built-up areas with high ambient pollution).

    What is a Clean Air Zone (or Congestion Charge Zone)

    We assume that a Clean Air Zone for Cardiff would charge polluting vehicles to enter city limits – defined as those areas which suffer regularly from high pollution levels.

    We think that all non-resident private motor vehicles – except hydrogen, hybrid or fully electric vehicles – should have to pay a charge.

    And we think that all the money raised from the charge should be used:

    1. To pay the costs of the scheme
    2. To improve ways of entering Cardiff without needing to use a private motor vehicle (such as train, metro, bus, park and ride and bicycle infrastructure and services)
    3. To improve Active Travel infrastructure within Cardiff

    We also believe that Cardiff should follow Nottingham’s example of implementing a Workplace Parking Levy, and that this levy should be directed towards the same expenditure pots.

    The Well-being of Future Generations Act specifies seven Goals which should be attained by public sector organisations, working in partnership with stakeholders across civil society. We think that the scheme we envisage would support six out of the seven goals. The impact that a Congestion or Clean Air Zone charge would have on them each is detailed below.

    A Healthier Wales

    Air pollution is directly responsible for increased morbidity and mortality in the population at large, with particularly damaging effects on the elderly and vulnerable.

    It decreases lung function, causes respiratory infection, and significantly increases the risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer. Maternal exposure to high levels of air pollution is associated with adverse birth outcomes. Reducing the number of private motor vehicles entering the city would reduce overall levels of air pollution.

    A More Equal Wales

    Pollution from vehicles does not affect the people of Wales equally. People with high wealth can choose more easily where they live, and are able to leave areas which suffer from high levels of pollution. People with higher educational attainment may be able to access information which can be used to mitigate exposure levels, or identify preferred areas to live or spend time. Pollution has greater health impacts on those who are less able to avoid it, such as young children and the elderly.

    A charge on private vehicles entering Cardiff would reduce air pollution, particularly for poor and vulnerable groups, supporting a More Equal Wales

    A Globally Responsible Wales

    Private motor vehicles which would be eligible for a Cardiff City entrance charge are also those which use fossil fuel. The use of fossil fuel is one of the main causes of climate change, so a reduction in the number of fossil-fueled private motor vehicles will reduce Wales’ contribution to Climate Change, supporting a Globally Responsible Wales.

    A Prosperous Wales

    Reducing our urban air pollution will reduce morbidity associated with air pollution, reducing the cost of treating such illness and enabling resources to be spent in other areas. A reduction in the use of fossil fuel will also reduce the ‘leakage’ of money which accompanies the purchase of fuel which is produced far away and transported to Wales at significant cost – paid for by Welsh householders and businesses.

    A Resilient Wales

    The funding which is raised from the scheme should be (partly) recycled into improved Active Travel infrastructure, and into infrastructure and services which support public transport. The use of Active Travel infrastructure in particular is far more resilient to the impacts of flooding or other Climate Change-related impacts (if a section of a cycle or walking path is flooded, it’s often possible to find an alternative route through that part, in a way that’s much more challenging for motor vehicles). Reduced air and water pollution will also contribute towards a more healthy ecosystem – part of Wales’ resilience.

    A Wales of Cohesive Communities

    Improved provision of Active Travel networks, funded by a Cardiff vehicular access charge, would provide an infrastructure which contributes directly to this Goal, namely “Attractive, viable, safe and well-connected communities”.

    We think the science and evidence supporting the implementation of a Congestion Charge/Clean Air Zone for Cardiff are compelling, and strongly aligned with the Well-being Goals – as well as (potentially) those of a Cardiff National Park City! We would encourage the Councillors and citzens of Cardiff to push for these measures to improve the quality of life for all.