Local Air Quality Management
The Pollution & Public Health Team routinely assesses outdoor air quality in Rhondda Cynon Taf in regards to seven pollutants of concern, identified in the National Air Quality Strategy. These seven pollutants are important because they are known to cause adverse health effects and there levels may be influenced by local actions. As such Air Quality Objectives for these seven pollutants have been set in Regulations. The monitoring of air quality has been undertaken since the 1990’s and each year the Council publishes a report on local air quality which is reviewed by the National Assembly for Wales.
The seven pollutants of concern are: -
- Fine Particulate Matter (PM10)
- Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
- Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Lead (Pb)
- Benzene (C6H6)
- 1,3 Butadiene (C4H6)
The Council has published a number of reports examining local air quality. These reports provide information on the statutory process, up to date local monitoring data and the analysis of local air quality. Most recently the Council has published the 2016 Progress Report.
2017 Progress Report
The 2017 Progress Report contains an assessment of recent monitoring data for Nitrogen Dioxide and Fine Particulate Matter as well as a review of newly consented developments, new and ongoing areas of interest and relevant Local Authority policies.
The vast majority of Rhondda Cynon Taf experiences good air quality which is likely to remain so into the future, and potentially even improve. Only some small areas associated with busy urban road junctions, the regional road network or specific local sources are likely to be vulnerable to poor air quality. Many of these vulnerable areas, linked to high levels of Nitrogen Dioxide, have already been declared Air Quality Management Areas and in contrast to most locations, the air quality in these vulnerable areas may not improve as quickly as elsewhere or may even get worse.
Currently Rhondda Cynon Taf has fifteen Air Quality Management Areas for breaches of Air Quality Objectives for Nitrogen Dioxide, however, recent evidence shows that the Llantwit Fardre Air Quality Management Area is no longer needed, as local air quality has sufficiently improved. As such it is proposed to revoke the Llantwit Fardre Air Quality Management Area. Evidence has also shown that two new areas, small parts of Tonyrefail and Treforest, are now in breach of the annual mean Air Quality Objectives for Nitrogen Dioxide. As such it is proposed to create the Tonyrefail Air Quality Management Area and the Treforest Air Quality Management Area.
At present it is believed that the levels of Fine Particulate Matter at Glyncoch are compliant with the relevant Air Quality Objectives for Fine Particulate Matter. Natural changes to locally prevailing weather and future changes at Craig Yr Hesg Quarry, means it is difficult to know if future compliance will continue. As such the Local Authority will continue to robustly monitor Fine Particulate Matter levels at Glyncoch.
This Report highlights the need for local actions to improve poor air quality. It shows that several local projects have been successfully undertaken and have improved local air quality. It also provides analysis which will form the foundation for several draft Air Quality Action Plans which will be shortly produced for publication. In addition, the Local Authority will continue to work towards implementing various cost effective actions, within the adopted and future Air Quality Action Plans, to improve local air quality.
The 2017 Progress Report can be viewed via the links on this webpage. The Council has commenced a public consultation into the analysis and recommendations of the 2017 Progress Report. If you wish to make comment on this Report you must submit any comments in writing or by email to the address below.
Pollution and Public Health
Public Health and Protection
Dinas Isaf East
The public consultation will close on the 29th of December 2017, any comments received after this date may not be considered by the Council when considering approval of the 2017 Progress Report and its recommendations. All comments are a matter of public record and unless otherwise stated the name and designation of the person making the comments will be published along with the comments.
Air Quality Managements Areas
Air Quality Management Areas are declared by the Council via Order under Section 83(1) of the Environment Act 1995. In response to breaches of the Air Quality Objectives for Nitrogen Dioxide, there are currently fifteen Air Quality Management Areas within Rhondda Cynon Taf:-
- Aberdare Town Centre Air Quality Management Area
- Broadway Air Quality Management Area
- Church Village Air Quality Management Area
- Cilfynydd Air Quality Management Area
- Cymmer Air Quality Management Area
- Llanharan Air Quality Management Area
- Llantwit Fardre Air Quality Management Area
- Llwynypia Air Quality Management Area
- Mountain Ash Town Centre Air Quality Management Area
- Mwyndy Air Quality Management Area
- Nightingales Bush Air Quality Management Area
- Ferndale Air Quality Management Area
- Nantgarw Air Quality Management Area
- Pontypridd Town Centre Air Quality Management Area
- Tylorstown Air Quality Management Area
It is a requirement for the Council to produce an Air Quality Action Plan, for each Air Quality Management Area, which will set out actions which may improve air quality within the respective Air Quality Management Area to the appropriate Objective.
Cost effective actions and the measures to assess their implementation have been collated in twelve adopted Air Quality Action Plans. Due to their recent declaration Air Quality Action Plans for the Llanharan, Church Village and Llantwit Fardre Air Quality Management Areas are pending.
The adopted Air Quality Action Plans provide actions which will enable Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council to work towards achieving the aim of compliance to the Air Quality Objectives. In implementing the adopted Air Quality Action Plans it is also possible that a greater benefit to society will be realised. The actions detailed within the adopted Air Quality Action Plans include a broad range of aspirations and mechanisms to affect local air quality. Some of the actions are specific to a particular Air Quality Management Area, where others may provide borough wide improvement. The actions are outlined below:
- Exploring potential locally targeted changes to existing traffic management to reduce or displace traffic congestion at high risk locations.
- Exploring potential locally targeted increased traffic waiting and parking restrictions and their enforcement at specific areas to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.
- Possible local rearrangement of a bus stop to reduce the impact of bus waiting on local traffic congestion.
- Advocating the reduction in permitted speed along part of the A470.
- Encouraging borough wide behavioural change by the use of existing resources and policy mechanisms to influence greater uptake of public transport, car sharing and efficient journey planning.
Air Quality Actions
The Council has made use of Welsh Government funding to undertake, with the assistance of its partners, several projects identified within the adopted Air Quality Action Plans, including: -
- Improvements to the infrastructure and traffic management system of the road traffic lights at the junction of Cardiff St and Station St and Cross St, Aberdare to help reduce unnecessary waiting times along Cardiff St.
- Improvements to the traffic management system of the traffic lights at the junction of Oxford St and Commercial St, Mountain Ash to help reduce unnecessary waiting times along Oxford St.
As projects are delivered, impacts will be examined within future air quality reports. In addition, the Council will continue to work with its partners to fund and implement other actions within its Air Quality Action Plans as and when possible.
Air Quality Monitoring
The Council runs several continuous monitoring stations in order to understand the impact of emissions in the areas most likely to exceed the health-based Air Quality Objectives. The Council also maintains a network of passive diffusion tubes to monitor Nitrogen Dioxide levels throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf. These results are downloaded directly to the Welsh Air Quality Forum so that our data can be added to the data collected by other local authorities in Wales.
This information, together with comments on national air quality (including the current pollution status at the participating monitoring sites), may be viewed on the Welsh Air Quality Forum’s website.
Tel: 01443 425001
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