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Air quality

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Guidance to support policy and practice development across the NHS in Wales.
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Air quality is measured by the type and amount of pollutants contained within it.

Air is polluted if it contains substances that may have a harmful effect on human health and the environment. Poor air quality can affect the health of people, animals and plants.

We work closely with local authorities, Natural Resources Wales (external link), industry and other stakeholders to protect and improve air quality in Wales.

Welsh Air Quality Forum

The following information can be found on the Welsh Air Quality Forum website (external link):

  • about air quality
  • the pollutants measured
  • impacts on the environment
  • how air quality is monitored.

UK Air Quality Archive

The UK Air Quality Archive website (external link) features information on the causes and effects of pollution. This includes a forecast bulletin, 24 hour summaries and articles.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website (external link) works to control and manage air quality across the UK.

There is further information on their website on:

  • UK Air Quality Strategy
  • European Union (EU) and international legislation
  • local air quality management
  • industrial air pollution panels, groups and fora
  • regulations
  • publications
  • science and research.

Air quality in England

The Environment Agency’s main aims are to protect and improve the environment and to promote sustainable development. They play a central role in delivering the environmental priorities of central government through their functions and roles.

You can find more information on the following on the Environment Agency website (external link):

  • continuous monitoring of industrial chimneys, stacks and flues
  • emissions monitoring from chimney stacks using accredited laboratories and certified staff
  • monitoring ambient air quality
  • portable equipment for emissions monitoring
  • Air Quality Modelling and Assessment Unit (AQMAU).

Air quality in Scotland

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) works to understand and improve Air quality in Scotland (external link). They regulate and monitor certain industrial activities in Scotland that can generate local airborne pollution. Their work involves working with and directing local authorities and other partners to manage and improve air quality. They also provide policy and operational advice to government, industry and the public on pollution control and other environmental issues.

In addition, they work towards Scottish and UK objectives and targets set to address global climate change and the cross-border transfer of pollutants.

Air quality in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Air is the website for Air quality in Northern Ireland (external link). It has information on the latest air quality, monitoring, levels of pollution and related air quality issues.

Welsh Government final supplemental air quality plan

We are committed to building healthier communities and better environments. Tackling poor air quality is a priority that is reflected in our national strategy – ‘Prosperity for All’. In July 2018 we published our Interim Welsh Government supplemental plan to the UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations 2017 setting out the work done to date to identify how we will reduce concentrations of NO2 around roads where levels are above legal limits.

The plan built on Section 7.6 (Additional Actions in Wales) of the 2017 UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations, setting out how we will comply within the shortest possible time with the limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). These values are set by the Ambient Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC) and the Air Quality Standards (Wales) Regulations 2010.

The plan has now been revised following consultation on the Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (WelTAG) Stage 3 reports on the Welsh Government managed road network, and details the final package of measures identified to bring about compliance within the shortest possible time. It also provides updated advice on the activity being undertaken by Caerphilly County Borough Council and Cardiff Council to deliver compliance on the road links for which they are responsible.

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