Cardiff Council Update: 08 December 2023

Here is your Friday update, covering:

  • Nextbike announcement - bike rental scheme will end in Cardiff & Vale of Glamorgan in January, 2024
  • Report shows improved air quality in Cardiff - but there is still work to be done
  • Annual school admissions review - have your say in our latest consultation
  • Latest Estyn reports - praise and recognition for both Rhiwbeina Primary and Llanishen High 


On-street bike rental scheme will end in Cardiff & Vale of Glamorgan in January, 2024

Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan's on-street bike hire scheme will cease to operate from January but work to introduce a new and improved service is already underway.

The scheme was Nextbike's most successful in the UK in terms of usage, with two million rentals across both counties during its lifespan.

But, alongside its popularity, there have been regular incidents of vandalism and theft in Cardiff - issues that have forced the scheme to close.

Nextbike ran in Cardiff and the Vale for a number of years and in that time 3,000 bikes were stolen or vandalised leaving only a third of the fleet available for use. The ongoing damage to the bikes left both Nextbike, and Cardiff Council, with little choice but to close the current scheme.

The Nextbike contract was due to end in early 2025 and Cardiff Council had already started work on what a new, and updated scheme, might look like.

A feasibility study is underway which will provide answers on the best way forward for both councils.

This study will look at schemes across the globe, understand improvements in security, and the latest technology, while reviewing a variety of suppliers and different operating and sponsorship models.

Cardiff Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council hope to soon be able to go to the market for a replacement scheme that is fit for the future.

Cardiff Council's Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, Cllr Dan De'Ath, said: "The Cardiff and Vale cycle-hire scheme has, despite its challenges, been an immensely popular scheme with a significant number of users and we thank its dedicated and loyal customers for their support.

"I want them to know that it is our intention to see a new cycle hire scheme return to the city as soon as possible.

"The Council is optimistic that we can find a new partner. At the end of the day, it's clear there is an appetite and a desire for this type of scheme evidenced by the high user numbers. We now need to find a way, using the latest technology, which will make it harder for people intent on vandalising or stealing bikes to get away with their actions.

"A feasibility study is underway that will give the Council clarity on the best way forward. It will look at the latest technology available including improvements in bike and scheme security, a review of global suppliers, and different operating and sponsorship models. We will also look at all available grant funding. This should enable us to go to the market for a replacement scheme that is fit for the future."

Regarding memberships - everyone will be proactively refunded by the end of January.

Read more here


Data shows air quality in Cardiff is improving compared with pre-COVID levels but work still to be done

The air quality data for 2022 shows that city's air is getting cleaner compared with pre-pandemic levels, although it accepted that there is more work to do in specific areas of the city.

The council has a variety of different air quality monitoring stations across the city that monitor a range of pollutants, including Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and very small particles of dust known as Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5). In law, legal limits are set for each pollutant and every local authority in Wales has a legal duty to monitor them and report their findings, along with mitigation measures, to Welsh Government every year.

The data shows that there were no breaches of air quality objectives at any of the monitoring sites during 2022 and although the levels are of NO2 are slightly higher than in 2021, this is understandable due to the Covid restrictions that were in in place at that time.

Cardiff currently has four Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA's) in wards across the city. These areas have been highlighted as areas of concern, as the annual average of known pollutants have historically breached or were close to the legal limit.

The AQMA's are currently in place in the City Centre, Stephenson Court (Newport Road), Ely Bridge, and Llandaff. The latest data shows that air pollution in all the AQMA's in Cardiff continues to improve, and concentrations are below the legally permitted limit values for NO2.

Cllr Dan De'Ath, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport at Cardiff Council said: "Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK and, after smoking, the second-biggest threat to public health. There is clear evidence to show that exposure to air pollution reduces life expectancy and significantly increases the risk of dying from heart disease, strokes, respiratory diseases, lung cancer and other conditions.

"The latest study into air pollution in Cardiff shows that residents enjoyed cleaner air across the city throughout 2022 when compared with pre-pandemic figures in 2019. Although this data is encouraging, there is more work to do. We need to continue to reduce the levels of pollutants. If we want people to be healthier, we must encourage people to be less reliant on their cars, and to make the shift to public transport, cycling or walking. Not only will it benefit people's health but will help the city reduce our carbon footprint as we look to combat climate change.

"Along with emissions from industry, vehicle emissions, especially from diesel vehicles are the highest-contributing factor to poor air quality in cities across the UK. To tackle the wider issue with the emissions from cars, the council has agreed to the principle of bringing in a road user charge, which will be a game changer, as people will have to make a more conscious effort whether they want to use their car or not. There will be extensive public consultation on this, and a series of measures will be introduced before any charge is implemented, including the introduction of £1 bus fares on key routes, better and expanded bus services, the delivery of the first phase of the Cardiff Crossrail and improvement to regional commuting. The money raised - alongside Government funding contributions - would be invested into Cardiff's public transport network."

Read more here


School Admission Arrangements in Cardiff for 2025/26

A consultation is now live, providing an opportunity for people to learn about proposed changes to the Cardiff Council School Admission Arrangements for the 2025-26 academic year.

Local Authorities are required to review their School Admission Arrangements annually. Proposed changes to the arrangements for 2025/26 include:

  • Deletion of the section on children in receipt of a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • Clarification on coordinated school admission arrangements
  • Clarification on changing school during the academic year
  • Information on admission arrangements for Ysgol Gynradd Groeswen Primary School
  • Clarification on compelling medical/compelling social grounds
  • Addition of paragraph on siblings in the same school year who are not multiple birth siblings
  • Clarification on submission of documents relating to a Child's Home Address

The consultation period runs until Friday, 19 January 2024.

Details of the consultation are available to view on the Council website via the link here:

Members of the public can provide their views by e-mailing  or by post to the School Organisation Planning Team, Room 463, County Hall, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff, CF10 4UW.


Rhiwbeina Primary School praised for its commitment to excellence in education by Estyn

In a recent inspection carried out by Estyn, Wales's Inspectorate for Education, Rhiwbeina Primary School in Cardiff has been acknowledged for its commitment to excellence in education and its vibrant learning environment.

Inspectors found the school's commitment to providing a high-quality education was evident throughout the assessment with positive highlights including:

  • Academic Progress: The school's staff fosters a vibrant learning environment where nearly all pupils make strong progress from their individual starting points.
  • Curriculum Innovation: Teachers are commended for planning an exciting curriculum that incorporates student perspectives and effectively utilises the local community.
  • Welsh Heritage and Culture: The school provides beneficial opportunities for pupils to learn about Welsh heritage and culture.
  • Leadership and Governance: School leaders ensure compliance with national reform requirements, and the headteacher diligently monitors pupil progress and teaching.
  • Teaching Excellence: Teaching across the school is generally strong, with appropriate professional development for staff.
  • Governance and Budget Management: Governors work closely with the headteacher to manage the school's budget effectively, ensuring appropriate resources for teaching and learning.

Inspectors commended the school's use of drama and creative approaches which they found to enhance communication and social skills. Estyn has recognised this as an area of best practice and has invited the school to prepare a case study, for use as a resource on Estyn's website.

Reflecting on the report, Headteacher Carol Harry said: "Our school approach ‘Together Everyone Achieves More' is reflected extremely well throughout the report. Estyn's comments are a testament to the pupils' enthusiasm for learning and the commitment of all staff both teaching and support, to provide our pupils with the best possible start on their learning journey. Also, the commitment and support from governors, parents and the local community in providing opportunities which enhance all aspects of our pupils' learning.

"Together we are achieving our vision to provide a safe, happy and inspirational learning environment, empowering all learners to acquire the skills and knowledge for future learning in a fast-changing world."

Read more here


Llanishen High School recognised for inclusive excellence by Estyn

Llanishen High School in Cardiff has received praise from Estyn for its commitment to providing a vibrant and inclusive learning environment for the school's 1694 pupils.

During a visit from the Inspectorate for Education in Wales, the school was commended for its dedication in ensuring every pupil's success and taking decisive actions to mitigate the impact of poverty.

Inspectors found the school provides an exceptionally broad range of extracurricular activities, fostering an inclusive community and raising students' aspirations. It was also noted that positive working relationships between staff and students contribute to a respectful and engaging learning environment, with most students behaving well and demonstrating high levels of respect for both staff and peers.

Estyn highlighted that in many lessons, teachers effectively capture students' interest, nurturing their knowledge and understanding and applauded the diverse range of subjects offered at Key Stage 4 and the sixth form, as well as the guidance available to students so that they can make informed choices about their future. The recently introduced Curriculum for Wales in Year 7 and Year 8 emphasises diversity and inclusion, though improvements in its demand and provision for developing skills and Welsh language proficiency are recommended.

Estyn has invited Llanishen High School to prepare a case study on its efforts to reduce the impact of poverty and its enrichment program.

Reflecting on the report, Headteacher, Mrs Sarah Parry said: "I am so proud of our diverse, vibrant and inclusive school community.  The strengths that are captured in the report below show that our mission to create a supportive, inclusive environment that nurtures individual growth and success is woven through every aspect of our school life. 

"I would like to commend our amazing staff body who work with passion and care every day.  I would also like to give my sincere thanks to our students, their families, and our governing body for their contribution to this very unique school."

Read more here