The Welsh Government has today launched a 12 week consultation on its draft Clean Air for Port Talbot short term action plan.

Air quality has significantly improved in Wales though there is still room for improvement, particularly in Port Talbot. Historically, the town has a high level of pollution that is generally attributed to the industrial nature of the area. In addition, there are also emissions derived from road transport and nearby industrial sites.

The Welsh Government has produced a Clean Air for Port Talbot short term action plan to address measures that can be taken, in addition to everyday activities, where there is a risk of particulate matter limit values being exceeded. There should be no more than 35 days a year when daily average particulate matter exceeds European limits on air pollution.

The draft plan outlines a number of actions to be undertaken by the Welsh Government, Environment Agency Wales and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. Comments received from the public and local interest groups during this consultation period will be used to develop a final plan. In 2013 a second public consultation on a revised plan will be carried out.

David Rees AM said:

“I welcome the Government’s action plan which will focus upon improving air quality. Over recent years we have seen improvements in the air quality over Port Talbot and great efforts by industrialists, such as Tata, to reduce emissions. However, we cannot rest on such actions and must continue to strive to reduce PM10s and to limit the severity of any breaches. I want to encourage all residents to engage in the consultation process so that we have a plan that works for Port Talbot”

Environment Minister, John Griffiths, said:

“We are taking steps to deliver actions that make a difference to ordinary people, their families and communities.

“We are doing this by acting in the long term interests of the people of Wales, putting sustainable jobs and growth first but never losing sight of other factors that are vital to people’s long term quality of life. I encourage everyone living in the Port Talbot area to read our plan to improve air quality in their neighbourhood and to respond to this consultation.”

The consultation runs until 29 January 2013 and can be read on the Welsh: