Friends of the Earth Cymru says air quality in the Wales has declined in short-term, despite government announcing improvements
Environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth Cymru has accused the Welsh Government of ‘misleading’ the public after it announced that air quality in the country was improving.
Friends of the Earth Cymru (FOE Cymru) said it has uncovered evidence which does not support the Welsh Government’s claims, and instead shows that there has been a ‘worrying’ decline in air quality in Wales of several pollutants between 2009 and 2010.
The findings include a 3.7% increase in ammonia emissions between 2009 and 2010 and a 2.2% increase in particulates (PM10) over the same period.
Gareth Clubb, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: “The Welsh Government recently announced that air quality continues to improve in Wales. But we’ve looked at the evidence and it’s clear that five out of the seven air pollutants the report considers increased between 2009 and 2010. The Welsh Government appears to be misleading the Welsh public.â€?
He added that “the most recent figures from the UK Government are extremely bleak, with Cardiff, Swansea, South Wales and North Wales all above the legal limits for a number of dangerous pollutants.â€?Report FOE Cymru raised concerns about the levels of air pollution in Wales and the Welsh Government’s approach to managing it following the publication of a report on the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (see airqualitynews.com story).
The report found that over the period between 1990 and 2010 air quality was improving across the UK; however emissions of a number of priority pollutants, including ammonia and nitrogen oxide, increased between 2009 and 2010. Following the publication of the report, Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths praised the public and government’s efforts for its ‘substantial progress’ in reducing emissions since 1990.
Mr Clubb said that the Welsh Government must make sure that the backsliding of air pollution isn’t part of a ‘dangerous’ trend and that it should take action now to help reduce air pollution in the Wales.
“Air pollution already cuts the life of most people short by eight months. In highly polluted places – of which there are several in Wales- the price people can pay for air pollution is a death two years earlier than it should be. The Welsh Government must make sure this backsliding isn’t the start of a dangerous trend.
“The Welsh Government needs to be working with industry, transport and agriculture to help clean up this dangerous pollution. Less pollution is as good for our lungs as it is for our employment figures.â€?