A report from the council's press office
Key partners recently came together to reaffirm their commitment to improving air quality and inform residents and community groups of their on-going work within Neath Port Talbot.
Representatives from each of the agencies which make up the LSB AQ Project Board outlined some of the work which has taken place to improve air quality within recent years.
One such project is Coed Talbot Trees, an initiative which offered Margam and Taibach residents a free tree for their gardens to help absorb pollutants. Pupils from Dyffryn School gave a talk on their experiences of taking part in the scheme, which saw over 1,200 trees planted within the Air Quality Management Area.
Guest speaker Dr. Rossa Brugha, from Queen Mary University of London, gave a presentation on how day-to-day activities, such as walking and cycling along busy roads, can affect exposure to poor air quality. Dr. Brugha also explained the benefits that certain tree species have on air pollution levels, a finding that supported the Coed Talbot Trees project.
The theme of walking and cycling was also covered by Elizabeth Randall of Communities First who shared the experiences of Cwmavon residents in driving forward the Connect2 Cycleway Project. Council staff gave an overview of the airAware Alerts Project and Tata Steel showed what they were doing to improve air quality in Port Talbot.
Workshop discussions also identified the need to include young people in particular when educating people about how air quality affects health and what they can do to improve the quality of the air they breathe.
The day was well attended by residents, community groups, air quality regulators and professionals who took part in the discussions, and whose views will now be used to help shape the Project Board’s future work programme.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Natural Resources and Food Alun Davies AM, commended the work of the Air Quality Project Board and stressed the need for further collaborative working to continue the improvements which have been made in recent years.
Neath Port Talbot Council Leader Cllr Ali Thomas said: “A great deal of progress has been made in improving air quality within the county borough within recent years, and this could have not been achieved by any one organisation alone. The Council is committed to working alongside partners to improve the local environment and the health and wellbeing of residents”.