A public consultation on how Wales can do better in the management of air and noise pollution has been launched by Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths.
Over the next twelve weeks the Welsh Government is seeking views on a number of specific proposals developed in discussion with air quality and noise experts in Local Authorities, Public Health Wales and Natural Resources Wales. They focus primarily on improving the local air quality management (LAQM) regime.
This long-standing UK-wide system requires Local Authorities to monitor air quality and implement local air quality action plans accordingly. The current LAQM regime has been successful in identifying a large number of pollution hotspots, but has had limited success in eradicating them.
The proposals in the consultation aim to streamline processes and develop a robust procedure for following up overdue progress reports and action plans.
The consultation exercise will also ask the important open question of what else we should be doing to tackle airborne pollution.
The Cabinet Secretary said:
“Reducing air and noise pollution is hugely important if we are to improve people’s overall health and quality of life. The purpose of this consultation is to hear from as many people as possible on how we can best achieve this.
“For the next 12 weeks we will be in listening mode. I encourage people from all over Wales to have their say because this is an issue that affects us all.”
The Cabinet Secretary also emphasised that following the vote to leave the European Union the Welsh Government will seek to replicate and strengthen legislation implemented by the European Union aimed at improving air quality:
“We didn’t sign up to these EU air quality regulations reluctantly. We did it for a reason - because they aim to have a positive effect on public health. As we prepare to leave the European Union we will be looking at how these important regulations can be replicated and where possible, adapted and strengthened to meet specific Welsh needs.”