Councillors have agreed to set aside £268,000 for a scheme to compensate residents living on one of Wales’ most polluted streets, whose homes face demolition.
Caerphilly County Borough Council had previously agreed to buy 23 homes on the A472 in Hafodyrynys for 50% above the market rate, to ensure residents do not lose out financially.
Nitrogen dioxide levels on the street were higher than anywhere except central London in 2015 and 2016, prompting calls for action on a local and national level.
However, funding from the Welsh Government will only compensate residents for 30% above the market rate. This creates a shortfall of £268,000.
The council says the Welsh Government have been asked to consider funding the shortfall through a discretionary well-being top-up payment
The cabinet agreed in the meeting on Wednesday to set aside funds from Environmental Health revenue budget, where there’s a projected underspend for 2019-20 of £296k, if the Welsh Government doesn’t agree to fund the shortfall.
The cabinet member for environment and public protection Cllr Eluned Stenner said: “Whilst the cabinet is bitterly disappointed that they (the Welsh Government) wouldn’t fund 150% fully, we are determined that we wouldn’t put our residents in financial hardship. By doing this we ensure they don’t face that financial hardship.”
Knocking down the 23 properties will allow for a realignment of Hafodyrynys Road and for the council to meet air quality targets by 2022.
The option was favoured over an alternative do minimum’ approach, which relied on vehicle emissions improving over time.