Air Pollution: Chepstow

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 2018.

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Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee 12:00 am, 13th June 2018

Whether he has had discussions with local councillors in Monmouthshire on air pollution in Chepstow; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

I have met Monmouthshire county councillors and share their concerns regarding air pollution around Chepstow. The abolition of the tolls on the Severn crossings represents a huge opportunity for economic growth in Chepstow and Monmouthshire, but we must also be alive to those sorts of pressures.

Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee

I thank my right hon. Friend for the interest that he has taken in this issue. Will he continue to press the Welsh Labour Government to fulfil their obligations by building a Chepstow bypass and showing the same commitment to clean air and a better environment that is being shown by this Conservative Government?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has established a strategic roads group in Britain, in which we can discuss cross-border issues. A meeting was held just last week. I am disappointed that the Welsh Government were not present, but we can continue to engage on a positive basis to ensure that these cross-border opportunities are exploited to the best of our ability.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

I was about to say to the hon. Gentleman that Ceredigion is a considerable distance from Chepstow, but I am sure that he will construct his question in terms that make it orderly.

Photo of Ben Lake Ben Lake Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion

My colleague Simon Thomas is leading the way on tackling air pollution and has proposed a clean air Act for Wales. Does the Secretary of State agree that there is a case for transferring responsibility for fuel duty income so that the National Assembly has the additional resources to tackle air pollution?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

The hon. Gentleman makes an extremely important point about air quality, which is why the Government have launched their clean air strategy. There have been significant improvements in this field since 2010, but we absolutely recognise the challenges. I am not sure about the second element of his question, which relates to further devolution of fiscal policy.