Inner City Air Quality: Question to the Environment Minister

Dydd Mercher, 16 Ionawr 2013
Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Mark Drakeford: A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am safonau ansawdd aer mewn ardaloedd canol dinas yng Nghymru.
[Will the Minister make a statement on air quality standards in inner city areas in Wales.]


John Griffiths: Controlling air pollution in Wales is a key objective for the Welsh Government. We are committed to tackling the sources of pollution and ensuring people’s right to clean air. Overall, our air is cleaner than at any time since the industrial revolution and we continue to work towards further improvement.


Mark Drakeford: Will you tell me how, in pursuing that ambition, the Welsh Government factors air quality issues into its assessment of local authority proposals for local development plans, particularly where those plans envisage large-scale housing creation with transport routes required to take people from where they live to where they work?
John Griffiths: Local planning authorities have to consider a range of issues when preparing their statutory land use plans. Planning Policy Wales states that when preparing those strategies, and indeed looking at future growth and allocating land accordingly, issues around environmental factors such as air quality should be considered. Air quality is a very important matter for quality of life. It can have health impacts and can affect acceptable future use of land. So, we expect local planning authorities to take such matters into account when working up local development plans. Wider than that, the air quality management plans are very important in terms of air quality issues.


The Leader of the Opposition (Andrew R.T. Davies): In 2009, the then Welsh Government allocated around £14.5 million to Cardiff City Council to create a sustainable towns initiative. That was a two-year programme. We are aware that air quality is affected by congestion and a build-up of traffic. Has the Welsh Government undertaken any surveying work to see how effective that £14.5 million has been in reducing the amount of car journeys into Cardiff and creating alternative modes of transport so that air quality can be improved in Cardiff? If you do have that information, when will you make it public?


John Griffiths: As I mentioned in response to Mark Drakeford, air quality management areas are essential tools for local authorities to address issues around air pollution. As the Member rightly mentions, road traffic emissions are a very important part of that air quality. So, we expect effective monitoring and, when any new major initiative takes place in a local authority area, that monitoring should take place and should identify any unacceptable impacts. I will write to the Member with details of anything that has taken place outside of the usual air quality monitoring.