PLAID Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to show leadership and treat air pollution as a public health issue during a debate in the Senedd today.
The call comes on the day when it was revealed that Green group ClientEarth will have their case about the failure of the Welsh Government to tackle air pollution heard at the High Court before 23 February 2018.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said:
“We have control over our air quality so rather than waiting for the Conservatives to take air pollution seriously on a UK level, the Labour Government should take action here in Wales.
“The Labour Government in Wales should publish a national air pollution strategy. They should give clear guidance to local councils and health boards on how they give residents information about air quality.
“Public Health Wales has warned that air pollution is a public health crisis which needs to be tackled urgently.
“It is second only to smoking as a public health concern, causing 2,000 deaths a year – 6% of Wales’ total.
The people who are most vulnerable to the effects are children and elderly people with pre-existing chronic illnesses.”
“I’m pleased that we have given the green light for £2 million towards electric vehicle charging as a result of Plaid Cymru’s budget agreement with the Welsh Government.
“This is a start on the journey to decarbonise the transport sector.”
The impact of air pollution is greatest in the most deprived areas where nitrogen dioxide levels are at their highest. Five times more carcinogenic emissions are emitted in the 10% most deprived than the 10% least deprived areas of Wales.
Hafodyrynys Road in Crumlin, Caerphilly is the UK’s most polluted street outside London.
5 towns and cities in Wales (Port Talbot, Chepstow, Cardiff, Newport, and Swansea) reported illegal and damaging levels of air pollution in 2016.