Houses on polluted Hafodyrynys road face demolition

Image caption Lorries use the road to travel between Crumlin and Pontypool

Residents on one of the UK’s most polluted roads are set to be given 150% of their home’s value to knock it down.

In 2015 and 2016, recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide on the A472 at Hafodyrynys were higher than anywhere else apart from central London, according to government figures.

These far exceed World Health Organisation guidelines.

Next week, Caerphilly council’s cabinet will be asked to approve plans to purchase the worst-affected homes.

The A472, between Newbridge and Pontypool, suffers pollution from an estimated 21,000 vehicle movements a day.

There have been many proposals for improving air quality, including buying and demolishing 23 houses and businesses, which would cost about £4.5m.

This was the Welsh Government’s preferred option.

Image caption The 23 properties on the south side, at Woodside Terrace, are seen as the worst-affected by pollution

But the council initially rejected the idea saying it could only offer market value for a compulsory purchase.

Leader Dave Poole said the low value of properties because of the pollution could put home owners into “financial difficulty” buying elsewhere.

But after an agreement with the Welsh Government, the local authority now plans to buy the worst-affected houses on the south side for 150% of market value.

“The council has always maintained that we must put the interests of Hafodyrynys residents first,” Mr Poole said.

“This proposal really is a ‘win-win’ situation for all concerned and we are pleased that the Welsh Government has responded to our calls for funding to provide residents with a fair financial package.” 

Demolition of the properties would allow the council to achieve air quality compliance by 2022.

A report will be considered by the council’s cabinet next week before it submits a plan to the Welsh Government.



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