The Welsh Government has published its draft guidance for local authorities on the establishment of Clean Air Zones within the country.
And, consultation documents suggest that ministers are considering whether they should direct local authorities to introduce CAZs in areas where air pollution limits are breached, or whether the measure should be voluntary.
Launched for consultation this week – the document outlines the principles that must be considered by Welsh local authorities, and aims to ensure that they are designed ‘consistently’ by councils.
Publication of the Framework comes after the Welsh Government admitted that it had failed to bring forward suitable measures to tackle air pollution at the High Court in January (see airqualitynews.com story).
The Welsh Government has also this week outlined a series of other measures aimed at tackling exceedences of air quality limits – which include the introduction of 50 mph speed limits on five major roads, as well as £20 million in funding available to local authorities (see airqualitynews.com story).
In her introduction to the consultation, Wales’ Minister for the Environment, Hannah Blythyn, wrote: “An effective way of tackling excessive emissions of airborne pollutants, in locations where there are particular problems, is to introduce a Clean Air Zone (CAZ). A specific range of actions is then targeted in the area to directly address the identified air quality problems with the aim of bringing about a marked and sustained improvement within a short timescale. Currently there are no CAZs in Wales.
“I am pleased to now present the draft Clean Air Zone Framework for Wales, which will support the development of CAZs wherever they may be needed in Wales. I welcome views on the proposed Framework and encourage responses from anyone with a contribution to make. The consultation will be open for six weeks, and the Framework will be published by 31 July alongside a report of the advice received through this exercise.â€?
Within the Framework, the Welsh Government defines a Clean Air Zone as a “geographical target area where a range of co-ordinated actions are applied with the purpose of ensuring, in the soonest time possible, a significant reduction in public and environmental exposure to harmful airborne pollutants from all sources.â€?
The document also outlines the key considerations for local authorities who wish to establish a CAZ including the scope of the zone, the standards that might apply to vehicles covered by the measure and whether exemptions should apply.
Stakeholders have until 19 June to respond to the consultation
A Clean Air Zone Framework for Wales