Welsh government accept Cardiff’s clean air plan ‘with caveats’

The Welsh government has today (August 2) accepted Cardiff City Council’s plan to tackle nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions ‘with a number of caveats’, and has asked them to again look at introducing a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) even though the authority has previously ruled the option out.

Earlier this year, Cardiff City Council said they will not implement a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the city and instead submitted plans to reduce NO2 worth £32m, including bus retrofitting, taxi mitigation measures and active transport initiatives.

The authority chose this option following an independent survey commissioned to forecast future NO2 levels in the city that identified just one street (Castle Street) where EU legal limits are likely to be breached in future years.

However, the Welsh government has asked them to undertake further modelling to ‘better assess the potential’ of a charging CAZ to meet compliance.

Ministers have now given Cardiff Council three months to undertake additional work to improve their final plan and present ‘robust evidence’ their identified package of measures is the route most likely to achieve compliance in the soonest time possible.

In February 2018, the authority was directed to undertake feasibility studies to identify measures to address illegal levels of NO2 in ‘the soonest time possible.’

Cllr Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport, said: ‘The council welcomes the approval of our Clean Air Plan and will continue to work with Welsh government on any remaining detail or clarification required to finalise the plan so that funding can be approved.

‘The council has put together a comprehensive, intelligent and long term plan and business case to bid for funding to reduce NO2 levels in Cardiff.

‘A significant amount of work has been put into the business case to ensure that Cardiff can achieve compliance with the EU Directive in the “shortest time possible”. The public have been very supportive of the changes that we will need to make, and once we know the final outcome we will ensure people are fully informed.

‘We look forward to continuing to work with Welsh government to finalise these plans, so we can implement these changes as quickly as possible.’

In related news, the Welsh Government has today refused Caerphilly Council Borough Council’s plan to reduce NO2.

Its plan identified the demolition of 23 homes as the option most likely to reduce NO2 levels to below legal limits. However, Ministers have been unable to accept Caerphilly County Borough Council’s final plan in its current form.

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