Demolition backed for polluted Hafodyrynys street

Woodside Terrace, Hafodyrynys
Image caption The 23 homes on the south side of the A472 are seen as the worst-affected by pollution

Homes on Wales' most polluted street will be bought up and knocked down in a bid to improve air quality.

Caerphilly council leaders have backed a plan to purchase 23 of the worst-affected properties on the A472 in Hafodyrynys.

Nitrogen dioxide levels there have been recorded as the highest in the UK outside central London.

Residents will be offered 50% above the market rate of their homes to ensure they do not lose out financially.

The move will allow the council to meet air quality targets in the shortest possible time by 2022, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Council officer Maria Godfrey told members that most residents of Woodside Terrace favoured the demolition option, with many complaining about the impact of air quality on their lives.

"There are one or two who do not want to go because they have got family ties, and no amount of money can change that, but the majority are supportive," Ms Godfrey said.

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

Interim chief executive Christina Harrhy said the council would seek to reach agreement with residents over the purchase of their homes, and that compulsory purchases would be "a last resort".

Opposition councillors had criticised the Labour cabinet for previously favouring an alternative approach relying on vehicle emissions improving over time.

However, the option to purchase and demolish homes was favoured after the Welsh Government agreed to provide the necessary funding, estimated at £4.5m.

Council leader Dave Poole said: "The council has always maintained that we must put the interests of Hafodyrynys residents first.

"This decision 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."

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