Mid and West AM Helen Mary Jones and North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd have tabled a statement of opinion in support of Clean Air Day (20 June 2019).
Plaid Cymru Mid and West AM Helen Mary Jones, Shadow Health Minister said:
“Air pollution causes an estimated 2,000 deaths per year in Wales – 6 percent of total deaths in Wales. It has been described by Public Health Wales as an urgent public health crisis, second only to smoking. The Labour led Welsh Government had to be dragged to court by environmental campaigners Client Earth to make them take action. We need a Clean Air Act for Wales for measures to clean up our filthy air.”
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Llyr Gruffydd commented:
“A successful Plaid Cymru debate in the Senedd last month means Wales is one of the first nations to call a climate emergency. This compels every level of government to take action. It really is time the Welsh Government clean up their act when it comes to toxic air. How many Clean Air Days have we had without action from Labour Ministers? Let this be the last Clean Air Day without a Clean Air Act.”
Emma Henwood, BHF Cymru’s Public and Policy Affairs Manager added:
“We welcome the First Minister’s intention to keep his manifesto commitment to introduce a new Clean Air Act for Wales. It is nearly a year since we launched our petition calling for an Act to be introduced in Wales and to adopt guidelines which will improve the quality of the air for all those living with heart and circulatory conditions. There are very few air quality monitors in Wales that can observe the very fine particulate matter (PM) 2.5 which is the most harmful pollutant to people with these conditions. It’s absolutely vital that we improve monitoring throughout Wales so that people can understand the risk such pollutants may have on their health.
“We know there is good work in some local authorities to improve the quality of our air in communities, and there is a focus in hotspots in Wales on tackling illegal levels of NO2. However we urge the Government to use their Clean Air Plan to evaluate whether all measures will actually result in tackling these other harmful pollutants. We believe the Government should seriously consider stronger action to ensure local authorities in the most polluted areas in Wales introduce charging clean air zones, as the results seen in London with the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone show how effective they can be.”
Statement of Opinion
- This Assembly notes:
a) that 20 June 2019 is clean air day;
b) the work of the Clean Air Act Cross Party Group to provide evidence for change.
2. This Assembly calls on the Welsh Government to introduce a Clean Air Bill to:
a) encourage the use of low-emission vehicles in the place of more polluting vehicles by ensuring fast charging points infrastructure is available;
b) create clean air zones in towns and cities;
c) allow pollution-monitoring equipment outside of schools and hospitals;
d) enable local authorities to introduce pollution and congestion charges,
e) set a national and regional plan to reduce air pollution in Wales.