The Welsh government has published a new White Paper outlining its plans for a Clean Air Bill, which looks to ‘protect the health of the nation’.
The Bill goes further to say that it will help to ‘defend ecosystems from pollutants in our atmosphere.’
In Wales, it is estimated that low air quality contributes to reduced life expectancy and is responsible for between 1,000 and 1,400 mortalities a year. Further, the World Health Organisation (WHO) claims that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face in the world today.
The Welsh government is keen to highlight how much of an impact poor air quality has on the most vulnerable in society, especially the very young and very old. As well as people with conditions such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Air pollution is also having a profound negative impact on our natural world, with more nitrogen and pollutants in the atmosphere being a significant factor in the threat of extinction of Wales’ flora and fauna.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “Breathing clean air and having access to a healthy environment is a right, not a privilege. We must take decisive and lasting action now to enable our future generations to lead healthy lives.
Welsh Government’s number one priority remains keeping our communities safe and supporting families and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
But just like COVID, air pollution disproportionately impacts the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society. We know from the report published today that the situation is not straight forward. I welcome views from the public, academics, charities and businesses alike, to help us paint a clear picture of how we will improve our air quality and collaboratively build our path to a greener and healthier Wales.”
This White Paper is another milestone on the path to creating a Clean Air Act, the consultation on the White Paper ends on the 7th April.
For more information on the Welsh Government’s Clean Air White Paper, you can visit their website.
You can learn more about Air Quality and Air Quality Assessments on our dedicated page.