The Welsh Government has lauched a Clean Air White Paper which aims to help aid the reduction of air pollution and it impacts on public health.
The paper includes a proposal to introduce a new air quality target setting framework including evidence-based air quality targets which will be backed up by plans to improve the Local Air Quality Management Legisaltion in the country.
Alongside this, government has also proposed a new dedicated charging scheme for trunk roads as well as further anti-idling guidance and the power for Local Authorities to increase the amount of fixed penalty fines for idling.
Air pollution leads to between 1,000-1,400 premature deaths in Wales every year. Welsh lockdown statistics have indicated that while fewer cars on the road meant a decrease of 36% and 49% in nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
Lesley Griffiths, the minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “Breathing clean air and having access to a healthy environment is a right, not a privilege. We must take decisive and lasting action now to enable our future generations to lead healthy lives.
“Welsh Government’s number one priority remains keeping our communities safe and supporting families and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But just like COVID, air pollution disproportionately impacts the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society. We know from the report published today that the situation is not straight forward. I welcome views from the public, academics, charities and businesses alike, to help us paint a clear picture of how we will improve our air quality and collaboratively build our path to a greener and healthier Wales,” she added.
The paper said: “In August 2020, we published the first Clean Air Plan for Wales. It sets out our commitment and long-term ambition to improve air quality and the steps we will take to deliver this. It also demonstrates how we will meet, and where possible exceed, requirements set out in UK and international guidance and legislation. It is essential everyone in Wales is able to enjoy the benefits of clean air. A requirement in legislation for
a Welsh Clean Air Plan or Strategy to be reviewed and published at least every five years will ensure we continue to tackle air pollution.”