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Cardiff secures £21m for air quality improvements

The award follows a request for the local authority to identify measures to address air quality urgently.

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Cardiff Council is working on solutions that will work quickly in the city
Cardiff Council is working on solutions that will work quickly in the city

Cardiff Council is to receive £21 million in funding from the Welsh Government to implement a series of measures to improve air quality.

 

The award was made available following a request for the local authority to undertake a feasibility study to identify measures to address illegal nitrogen dioxide exceedances in the “shortest possible time”.

 

Package of measures

 

The council proposed a package of measures, including: a bus retrofitting programme to lower emissions; taxi mitigation measures; city centre transport improvements; and an active travel package making it easier for people to walk and cycle in the city centre.

 

An independent review panel, appointed by the Welsh Government, assessed the plan and recommended it be accepted, albeit with several caveats.

 

Cardiff Council was asked to provide further clarity that its identified package of measures was the route most likely to achieve compliance in the soonest time possible. This included a request for further evidence to justify why a charging Clean Air Zone was not a suitable option.

 

“Everyone living, working and visiting Cardiff has the right to breathe in clean air and this grant will allow us to put in place measures which will reduce pollution.”

 

Environment, energy and rural affairs minister, Lesley Griffiths, accepted the revised final plan following advice from the panel. She is content Cardiff’s preferred option of non-charging measures is likely to achieve the legal requirement and deliver a marked and sustained reduction in emissions, as well as providing further benefits more widely across the city centre.

 

“Improving air quality across Wales is a Welsh Government priority. I am grateful to Cardiff Council for all of the work [it has] undertaken during this process and [its] clear commitment and dedication to delivering a solution to support air quality benefits for the city," said Griffiths.

 

“Everyone living, working and visiting Cardiff has the right to breathe in clean air and this grant will allow us to put in place measures which will reduce pollution,” added Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport, Cardiff Council.

 

Government-city collaboration

 

“Our team has worked hand in glove with the Welsh Government to arrive at solutions we know will work quickly here in Cardiff. I want to thank the Welsh Government for their input, it shows what can be done when cities and government work closely together to benefit citizens. We have stolen a march on most other major regional cities who are still developing their clean air plans.”

 

Earlier this month, Cardiff Council unveiled a £2 billion transport vision designed to transform Cardiff and South East Wales’ transport network. Its Transport White Paper lays out a 10-year plan to tackle the climate emergency, reduce congestion and improve air quality.

 

Proposals include: expanding current metro plans to deliver more new tram-train routes and stations; introducing new bus rapid transit services and park and ride sites; lowering the cost of bus travel significantly; and delivering safer walking and cycling routes.

 

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