The Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill

19 December 2023

New legislation was passed in the Senedd on Tuesday 28th November 2023, giving the Welsh Government greater powers to improve air quality and reduce noise pollution across Wales. The Bill, which was introduced to the Senedd in March 2023, implements measures that contribute to improvements in the quality of the air environment in Wales and reduces the impacts of air pollution on human health, biodiversity, the natural environment and economy. 

In addition, The Bill further supports delivery of a crucial package of measures set out in our Clean Air Plan for Wales to improve the air environment in Wales. 

 Speaking on the publication of the Bill, Climate Change Minister, Julie James, said: 

This Bill enables us to deliver enhanced air quality targets for Wales, with strengthened duties for Welsh Ministers to set out how we will improve our air environment. It also improves our legislative powers to better manage air quality at the local and regional level. Finally, it sets out important new duties for Welsh Ministers to promote awareness of air pollution, alongside ways of reducing its impact. 

 We must empower this generation and future generations with knowledge of the impacts of air pollution and the steps they can take to minimise their exposure to it. 

The Bill covers eight different topics.  In summary, the Bill will now: 

  • providing a framework for setting national air quality targets; 
  • amend existing legislation relating to:
    • the national air quality strategy, 
    • local air quality management, 
    • smoke control, 
    • trunk road charging schemes; and 
    • vehicle idling; 
  • place a duty on Welsh Ministers to promote awareness of air pollution; 
  • place a duty on Welsh Ministers to publish a national soundscape strategy, and 
  • give the Welsh Ministers a power to amend existing legislation relating to noise.

Woodsure will continue to support the Welsh government as part of the domestic combustion group and through our contractual requirements as the Contractor to provide technical support to enable government to meet its legal obligations under the Clean Air Act 1993. 


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