Wales’ poor air quality needs to be given greater prioritisation by the Welsh Government, according to a senior Welsh Conservative AM.
David Melding – the Assembly Member for South Wales Central - has called on the Welsh Government to introduce clean air zones in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham in order to combat the ‘troubling’ reality of poor air quality across Wales.
The Shadow Secretary for the Environment has also called on the Welsh Government to make it a requirement that all schools and nurseries in Wales have air pollution monitors on their premises.
The remarks have been made ahead of Clean Air Day, and follows the launch of a Welsh Conservative strategy that proposed new policies to improve ‘liveability’ in Wales’ urban areas.
Wales has some of the worst air quality in the UK, with Cardiff and Port Talbot both having higher particulate matter levels than Birmingham or Manchester. Additionally, a road in Caerphilly is the most polluted outside of London.
David Melding AM said:
“Poor air quality has a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of everyone.
“In Wales alone, poor air quality contributes to around 2,000 deaths per year, with annual societal costs across the UK being estimated at £27.5 billion. These are stark and astonishing facts – this is clearly troubling.
“As the recent Welsh Government court case with Client Earth has proven, the time to act is now.
“Plans for clean air zones already exist in five English cities, and Scotland are close behind with four being put in place for 2020. All of this progress is being made whilst the Welsh government continues to consult.
“Let’s take some action and show some leadership, before we get stuck in the cycle of copy-cat politics”.