20 December 2019

Welsh Government sets out low emission transport agenda to include road pricing

Road pricing, Clean Air Zones and/or Low Emission Zones and increasing the proportion of vehicles which are electric and ultra-low (ULEV) emission are all on the agenda as the Welsh Government launches a 12-wek consultation on improving air quality.

It is also working on a proposal for all new cars and light goods vehicles in the public sector to be ultra-low emissions by 2025 and where practicably possible, all HGVs to be ultra-low emission by 2030.

Air pollution is claimed to be the largest environmental risk to the public’s health and Public Health Wales estimates it contributed to between 1,000 and 1,400 deaths in 2017.

Now ‘The Clean Air Plan for Wales, Healthy Air, Healthy Wales’ proposes a wide ranging series of new actions and commitments as a stepping stone to a new Clean Air Act for Wales.

On road pricing, Clean Air Zones and/or Low Emission Zones the consultation document says: “We will continue to review the role of vehicle access restriction, including whether road-user charging and banning of the most polluting vehicles has a role to play in reducing roadside levels of air pollution.”

The document also makes clear that toll roads as well as anti-idling legislation could be part of a move to “align the opportunities presented by Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones with wider transport policy initiatives in Wales”.

The document continues: “Promoting a switch from petrol and diesel road vehicles to electric and other ultra-low emission power is an essential element of our approach to tackle transport CO2 emissions and reducing air pollutants.”

The Welsh Government has already pledged to invest £2 million by 2020 to help create a network of rapid charging points to enable long distance travel by electric vehicles throughout Wales.

The consultation closes on March 10, 2020. The consultation document can be accessed at: https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/consultations/2019-12/consultation-a-clean-air-plan-for-wales.pdf