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. Regulations have set Air Quality Objectives for these seven pollutants: -
- Particulate Matter (PM10)
- Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
- Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Lead (Pb)
- Benzene (C6H6)
- 1,3 Butadiene (C4H6)
The monitoring of air quality in Rhondda Cynon Taf has been undertaken since the 1990’s and each year the Council publishes a report on 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 2018 Progress Report.
2018 Progress Report
The 2018 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 2018 Progress Report can be viewed via the links on this webpage.
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 areas, linked to high levels of Nitrogen Dioxide, have already been declared Air Quality Management Areas. In contrast to most locations, the air quality within these Air Quality Management Areas may not improve as quickly as elsewhere or may even get worse. Currently Rhondda Cynon Taf has sixteen Air Quality Management Areas for breaches of Air Quality Objectives for Nitrogen Dioxide.
At present it is believed that the levels of Particulate Matter at Glyncoch are compliant with the relevant Air Quality Objectives for 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.
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 sixteen 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
- Ferndale Air Quality Management Area
- Llanharan Air Quality Management Area
- Llwynypia Air Quality Management Area
- Mountain Ash Town Centre Air Quality Management Area
- Mwyndy Air Quality Management Area
- Nantgarw Air Quality Management Area
- Nightingales Bush Air Quality Management Area
- Pontypridd Town Centre Air Quality Management Area
- Tonyrefail Air Quality Management Area
- Treforest 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.
The 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 greater benefits 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 Areas, where others may provide borough wide improvement. The actions are broadly 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.
- Supporting the effective implementation of the South East Wales Metro and electrification of the South Wales Central Valley Line.
- 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.
- Installing and repairing street lighting on routes near Pontypridd High School to encourage walking and cycling.
- Engaging with Pontypridd High School and Ferndale High School to consider pilot projects which could increase active travel.
- Publishing a leaflet containing public transport and active travel information for the Pontypridd Area.
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 and 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 across Wales), may be viewed on the Air Quality In Wales website.
Tel: 01443 425001
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