Cardiff Council to conduct study on clean air following legal direction from Welsh Government

A report recommending that, following legal direction from Welsh Government, Cardiff Council conducts a feasibility study to determine if a Clean Air Zone is needed in the city has been approved at a Cabinet meeting today. 

The report states that "poor air quality is now considered the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK", and that there is "clear scientific evidence" linking exposure to pollution to reduced life expectancy.

Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, Cllr Caro Wild said: "The impact of air pollution on the health of Cardiff's residents is clearly an issue that needs to be taken incredibly seriously.The latest figures from Public Health Wales suggest that the number of deaths per year that can be attributed to poor air quality has increased to over 225 across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, so improving the air we breathe has now become a matter of life or death.

"Like all major cities in the UK the effects of congestion are being felt on people's health. Welsh Government has now directed us to carry out a Clean Air feasibility study which will identify the issues in Cardiff.We already know that our transport system needs to change and in our recently published Green Paper on Transport and Clean Air we started a conversation with the people of Cardiff about a range of ambitious, but achievable possibilities, that could change the way we move around Cardiff.

"A Clean Air Zone is something we might very well need to consider if, as we have been directed, we are to deliver compliance with legal limits for air quality in the shortest possible time. Clean Air Zones have proven to be an effective way of reducing air pollution in cities across the world, but they all look slightly different - some, such as those in Stuttgart and Berlin ban the most polluting vehicles, whereas London have introduced a Toxicity Charge which targets the most polluting vehicles with a charge. Some Clean Air Zones, like Oxford's cover the whole city, others focus on specific districts. 

"What is important to us is to have a conversation with the people of Cardiff about how changes might affect them, so we can try and ensure fairness and equality is central to decision making. We would urge people to join in the conversation around our green paper and have their voices heard." 

The legal direction received from Welsh Government means that by June 30th 2019, Cardiff Council must identify options for delivering compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time. Three cities in England (Bristol, Greater Manchester and Sheffield) have also received direction from the UK government to undertake feasibility studies of this nature but with different timeframes, whilst Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham have all been instructed to introduce Clean Air Zones. 

The Council has launched a Green Paper on Clean Air in the city and is urging residents to take part in the conversationabout the big ideas that could shape the future of Cardiff's transport system and the way the city could look and feel in the future.

The Transport & Clean Air Green Paper is available to view on a series of questions have been asked in each section to get feedback from residents on the proposals and ideas before the consultation closes on 1st July.

How you can get involved - join the conversation by: