NEWS that air pollution figures in Chepstow exceed global health guidelines is “not a revelation”, according to a local campaigner.

Figures revealed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week show that emissions produced is on par with Cardiff and Birmingham.

Most of the emissions – which Monmouthshire County Council says are reducing every year – are being recorded along the A48 at Hardwick Hill, which is an Air Quality Management (AQM) area.

Chepstow has a rating of 14 micrograms per cubic metres of air, ranking higher than nearby Newport which has a rating of 13.

Exposure to the particles, known as PM2.5s, should not exceed 10 micrograms per cubic metre of air, according to the WHO.

Cllr Jez Becker, who is also the founder of the Chepstow & Sedbury Bypass Action Group, told the Free Press he was “frustrated but not surprised” by the findings.

“I think everyone within the group finds that this is unacceptable,” said the Lib Dem member for St Mary’s.

“Frustration is the key word for us as we keep banging the drum on how this continues to be an issue for the area.”

The action group, among other independent groups and individuals, has been campaigning for a solution to Chepstow’s traffic problem since it formed.

Cllr Becker has been in contact with the Welsh Government’s economy and transport secretary Ken Skates about the need for a bypass.

In an email seen by the Free Press, Mr Skates says that the Welsh Government, together with Highways England, expect a “likely impact” on Chepstow traffic with the removal of the Severn Crossing tolls.

The minister added that studies into the AQM in Chepstow have been conducted and that a bypass was one potential solution “among five” that could alleviate the traffic problems.

But Cllr Becker said Mr Skates’ response was “devoid of detail on the AQM” and that he had seen “no evidence” of authorities either side of the River Severn taking on cross-border traffic resilience.

“The assembly’s attitude is gambling with local children’s future health,” he said.

“We (the action group) will continue to roll on. We already knew this was the case, this was not a revelation and it just adds more fuel to the fire.”

Nick Ramsay, AM for Monmouth, believes the news will not come as a surprise to those who experience the town’s “chronic traffic congestion” on a daily basis.

The Conservative politician has been calling for Mr Skates to visit the A48 in Chepstow to take stock of local concerns but the minister has yet to visit.

“I’m disappointed by the lack of urgency on the part of the Welsh Government to work with authorities across the border and progress plans for a much-needed bypass around Chepstow,” he said.

“The current stalemate on road improvements together with other factors such as an increasing demand for housing mean that congestion and air pollution could get even worse.

“We need a fresh approach from the Welsh Government which fully engages with local residents.”

A Welsh Government spokesman has said that they are “firmly committed” to reducing emissions and improving air quality across Wales.

He added: “Earlier this year we issued brand new guidance to local authorities on air quality management.

“We will continue to work with local authority and other partners to find solutions to the situation and the minister for environment intends to hold a debate on the clean air framework for Wales in the Assembly before Christmas.”