Welsh Ministers are under a legal duty to review and if appropriate modify the National Air Quality Strategy (NAQS) for Wales as set out under section 80 of the Environment Act 1995, following amendments by the Environment Act 2021.
The first review must have been completed by 1 May 2023, with subsequent reviews conducted no later than 5 years from the date of the last review.
In 2023, we reviewed the air quality strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which was published in 2007. We concluded that it no longer met our ambitions to improve air quality in Wales. However, the air quality objectives referred to in Table 2 remain current.
In 2020, we published the Clean Air Plan for Wales which set the strategic direction across multiple policy areas for the next decade. The Clean Air Plan: Healthy Air, Healthy Wales better reflects the current air quality situation and circumstances in Wales. It is also framed within the context of Welsh Government policies and principles, including the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
We have therefore modified the National Air Quality Strategy for Wales in accordance with section 80 of the Environment Act 1995 by replacing the 2007 National Air Quality Strategy with the Clean Air Plan we published in 2020. We also retained the air quality objectives at Table 2 as part of NAQS for Wales. In addition, we have considered the progress since the Clean Air Plan was published and produced an update report on progress against the actions we set out to achieve.