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Shadow Climate Change Minister urges reversal of real terms cut to Welsh clean air action

During questions to the First Minister (15 June), Janet Finch-Saunders MS – the Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – outlined her concerns about the time taken by the Welsh Government to implement a Clean Air Act for Wales. She used the intervention to urge the devolved Government to undo their cut to funding for clean air action in this financial year and called on the First Minister to “invest further in tackling the world’s largest single environmental health risk.” Commenting after FMQs, Janet said: “Despite promising ambition and action on this issue, the Welsh Government remain behind schedule on the commitments made. Whilst I appreciate that the responses to the Welsh Government’s recent White Paper consultation are currently being reviewed, we may not see regulations set until Spring 2024. “This timeline fails to recognise the seriousness of the issue. Poor air quality contributes to a reduced life expectancy and death, tallying an equivalent of between 1,000 and 1,400 mortalities in Wales each year, and costing the Welsh NHS approximately £1 billion each year. “In May 2019, the First Minister accepted that the debate has now been ongoing for a decade, and he did not deliver in the Fifth Senedd on his very own leadership promise to ‘develop a new Clean Air Act.’ This inaction cannot be allowed to persist going forward. “The £3.4 million revenue funding and £17 million capital funding allocated for air quality action in 2021/22 now represents a real term cut from the previous year. Therefore I have urged the First Minister to undo the cut and invest further in tackling the world’s largest single environmental health risk.” ENDS Photo: by Tim Foster on Unsplash

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