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Air Pollution

Atmospheric Pollution and Air Quality

Air Quality

Air quality indicates how healthy the air we breathe is. Air pollution leads to poor air quality. This can affect human, animal and plant health and the environment.

Air pollution is caused by natural and man-made pollutants. The pollutants of concern are: carbon monoxide, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide and particles.

Monitoring and improving air quality

The Environment Act 1995 introduced a system of Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) for the UK to ensure pollutant concentrations are within National Air Quality Standards, designed to protect public health and the environment.

We have identified that nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant associated with vehicle emissions, is an air pollutant requiring monitoring within the borough. Other pollutants do not require monitoring at this time.

We monitor nitrogen dioxide throughout the borough using non-automatic and automatic monitoring.

For more information please see the Defra Air Quality website and the Air Quality In Wales.

As well as monitoring air quality the Council has a statutory duty to periodically review and assess the air quality in its area. Annual Updating and Screening Assessments and Progress Reports from 2015 onwards are available below. Reports prior to this date are available on request.

In addition to meeting the basic statutory LAQM requirement the Council also takes a proactive approach to protecting the health of the public. As part of this approach it has assisted, along with the Cwm Taf Health Board and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, in research carried out by Huw Brunt and Sarah Jones of Public Health Wales into developing a new method of assessing air quality risks to public health. This method, which is complementary to LAQM, is designed to assist in targeting both Health Authority and Local Authority resources in areas where the population is most vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. A link to their published paper, A pragmatic public health-driven approach to enhance local air quality management risk assessment in Wales, UK is provided here.

Air Quality Management Areas

On 30th January 2017 an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) was declared. This covers Twynyrodyn Road from the roundabout at the Western end (Tesco's) to the crossroads between Gilfach-Cynon and Arfryn Place. It was necessary to declare an AQMA as nitrogen dioxide levels exceeded the National Air Quality Objective at a number of monitoring locations along this stretch of road. For more information there is a Detailed Air Quality Assessment and map of the area available below.

After declaring an AQMA the Council is required to consider methods of improving the air quality in the affected area and to consult the public on its findings. During the last twelve months a wide range of measures has been considered but only three of these were considered to be capable of improving the air quality without causing significant adverse effects elsewhere.

These measures were;

  • To reduce the volume of traffic on Twynyrodyn Road as a whole by providing an alternative northbound route for vehicles using the roundabout outside Tesco.
  • To install a chicane on the uphill carriageway of the affected section of Twynyrodyn Road to improve the dispersion of air pollution from vehicles using the road.
  • To reduce the volume of traffic on the section of Twynyrodyn Road where the air quality is poor by closing the road to west-bound traffic at Queens Road. West-bound traffic leaving at Queens Road would be able to re-join Twynyrodyn Road via Windsor Terrace.

All of these measures provided advantages and disadvantages to residents, traders and others living in both the affected and nearby areas.

Between 16 March 2018 and 8 June 2018 we undertook a formal public consultation on these proposals and on the Council's draft Air Quality Action Plan in general.  Members of the public were able to access the consultation documents, vote for their preferred option and submit their comments online.  We also held a number of informal drop-in sessions and a social media consultation event, where members of the public could also ask questions and make comments. 

Details of all of these proposals, and of the Council’s draft Air Quality Action Plan in general, are available below. Answers to frequently asked questions, which were updated as the consultation progressed to address any common concerns, are also given below.

Of the responses received 94% favoured the option of reducing traffic on Twynyrodyn Road as a whole. 

All responses received during the twelve week consultation period have been considered and The Air Quality Action Plan has been finalised for submission to Welsh Government.  A copy of the Final Executive Summary and the consultation comments and responses can be found below.

The full technical study is available on request by contacting  

What can I do to improve air quality?

Road vehicles are a major source of air pollution. You can help by:

  • Avoid using your car for short journeys.
  • Don't start your car until you are ready to drive off.
  • Drive smoothly, don't brake heavily or accelerate rapidly or rev your engine unnecessarily.
  • Maintain your car and keep your tyres at the correct pressure.
  • Try to use public transport where possible.