Clean air is a critical natural resource and is essential to protect human health and Wales’s natural environment.

Whilst air pollution from industry, energy generation and transport has decreased in recent decades, concentrations of ammonia and ozone continue to steadily increase causing harm and impacting the natural balance of our ecosystems.

In Wales the impact of nitrogen, in particular ammonia pollution, is significant with 88% of sensitive habitats being damaged. Evidence shows that agriculture is the largest source of airborne ammonia pollution and concentrations are likely to increase unless measures to control agricultural emissions are implemented.

Other air pollutants of concern are linked to sources which also contribute to climate change. There are many opportunities to reduce these emissions and action is already being taken. Ongoing work has already seen large industries begin to decarbonise. Changes within society due to greater environmental awareness is also making a difference.

What's available now

The pressures, impacts and opportunities for action identified by this cross-cutting theme can be found in the natural resource registers for the ecosystems.

What's coming in March 2021

The full chapter will follow in March 2021.

The chapter will highlight the impact of air pollution on different ecosystems and ecosystem services. Further ambition is also set out in Welsh Government’s own Clean Air Plan published in 2020.

A description of additional evidence needed for the assessment will also be published.