The Welsh Government’s determination to take a lead on tackling air pollution by announcing four measures aimed at improving air quality in Wales.
The Minister told Assembly Members she is taking action through an ambitious cross-Government programme of work.
This will include the publication of a Clean Air Plan for Wales in 2018 which will include:
- a Clean Air Zone Framework to ensure the consistent and effective implementation of Clean Air Zones by Local Authorities, wherever they are needed. The framework will ensure businesses and members of the public have a clear expectation of what a zone is and how they will be affected,
- improvements to Local Authority reporting on air quality issues in their areas and their plans to deal with them,
- the establishment of a National Air Quality Assessment and Monitoring Centre for Wales, to advise local and national government on the extent of poor air quality and the effectiveness of current and future actions. This will provide a continuous focus on achieving compliance with legal limits in specific hotspots whilst reducing exposure to pollution more widely,
- a re-launch of the Welsh Government’s Air Quality in Wales website with improved air quality forecasting capability, new sections for schools and health advice.
“Air quality in Wales is much cleaner than in previous decades. We must take further action now, though, because our understanding of the health effects of air pollution has greatly increased, it remains the biggest environmental risk to public health.The Minister also called on the UK Government to back up its commitment of phasing out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 with a concrete set of milestones to be achieved ahead of that date:
“Poor air quality is often considered to be just an environmental issue but it also has a significant impact on our natural resources and economy. We must tackle poor air quality from all possible angles.
“The actions that I have set out today demonstrate our determination for Wales to be a leader in delivering innovative and effective solutions to tackle air pollution, achieving clean air for all”.
“This is a necessary and positive step, but 2040 is a long way off. I would, therefore, welcome Assembly Members’ support in calling on the UK Government to work closely with us to develop clear timescales for a progressive transition to zero emission road transport”.