First Minister rules out Ulez-style congestion charging in Wales, except as last resort
Road congestion charging would be the last resort in Wales if other measures to improve air quality are unsuccessful, the First Minister has said.
Mark Drakeford said the Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill would give the Welsh Government greater ability to tackle air and noise pollution.
The use of clean air zones – like the controversial ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) in London – are included in the Bill but only as a last resort.
Public health issue
“We know it is a public health issue, we know that there are thousands of people whose lives might be shortened if the air that they breathe is not of the quality that we would like it to be,” he told the Senedd.
“The Bill sets out a whole series of ways in which we will aim to improve air quality here in Wales.
“It has, as a residual and fallback position, powers that could in the future lead to road charging – if all those other things do not work.
“But the point of the Bill is to make those other things work.
“Those other things that the Bill focuses on and those are the measures that we will be focusing on as a Government.”
Mr Drakeford was answering a question from Welsh Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies.
The Bill would allow the Welsh Government to introduce new long-term targets for air quality under a national framework and give local authorities more power to tackle vehicle idling.
It also proposes a progressive obligation on the Welsh Government to introduce a national soundscapes strategy, which would be a UK first.
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