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Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Act 2024

The Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Act 2024 (the 2024 Act) became law on 14 February 2024. 

The 2024 Act seeks to improve the quality of our air environment and reduce the impacts of airborne pollution on human health, nature, the environment and our economy.

The 2024 Act creates a framework for the Welsh Ministers to set targets in relation to air quality and amends existing air quality legislation in relation to local air quality management, road user charging, anti-idling and smoke control such as the Environment Act 1995. The Act also creates new duties for the Welsh Ministers to take steps to promote awareness of the risks to human health and the natural environment caused by air pollution, and ways of reducing or limiting air pollution. 

The 2024 Act also places the Welsh Ministers and local authorities under a duty to promote active travel as a way of reducing or limiting air pollution and makes provision for this duty to be imposed by regulations, on other public authorities. The Act also requires the Welsh Ministers to produce a national strategy on soundscapes.

Coming into force

Part 3 of the 2024 Act came into force on 15 February 2024, which is the day after it received Royal Assent. Sections 1-6, 8-10, 12-15, 22-27 and Schedule 2 came into force 2 months after Royal Assent, and all other provisions will come into force by commencement orders, in accordance with section 30. At the time of writing, no commencement orders have been made by the Welsh Ministers.

The Act received Royal Assent on 14 February 2024.

Consideration of the legislation by the Senedd

The Bill was introduced by Julie James MS, the then Minister for Climate Change, and was passed by the Senedd on 28 November 2023.

More information about the Act is available on the Senedd website including a record of the passage of the Act through the Senedd and the Explanatory Memorandum which was prepared by the Welsh Government (as revised after Stage 2).

Related articles or material

In accordance with section 25 of the 2024 Act, the Welsh Government must publish a national strategy on soundscapes. At the time of writing, the Welsh Government had consulted on a five year strategy for Wales, and a national strategy is due to be published. 

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Last updated
09 May 2024