Wales’ poor air quality needs to be given greater prioritisation by the Labour Government, according to a senior Welsh Conservative AM.
Assembly Member for South Wales Central David Melding 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 were made ahead of Clean Air Day, and followed 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 London.
Earlier this month a series of extended 50mph limits were imposed on two sections of the M4 across South Wales, near Pontypridd on the A470 and part of the A55 coast road in North Wales in a bid to reduce pollution from busy traffic.
Meanwhile, Sustrans Cymru says only a move away from reliance on the private car will improve the air quality and life of people all over Wales and it wants public funds redirected from electric car use subsidy towards better supported public transport on roads and railways.