HOMES on Wales' most polluted street should be knocked down to meet air quality targets in the shortest possible time, Caerphilly council bosses have recommended.

Caerphilly council has drawn up its preferred option for tackling air pollution on the A472 in Crumlin, where nitrogen dioxide levels have been recorded as the highest in the UK outside central London.

A final plan, to be considered by councillors next week, recommends buying and demolishing 23 houses and businesses at Woodside Terrace, Woodside Shops and Yr Adfa to help meet air quality targets by 2022 – a year earlier than previously predicted.

The homes would be purchased at 150 per cent of their market value, to ensure residents can buy similar properties elsewhere in the borough.

A home loss payment, which is 10 per cent of the original market value, will also be offered to residents.

Previously concerns were expressed that residents would not be fully compensated for the loss of their homes, before the Welsh Government provided a funding promise.


Under the scheme, the owner of a property valued at £70,000 would receive around £112,000, as well as any reasonable disbursements.

Council bosses have recommended this option is favoured over an alternative ‘do minimum’ approach, which relies on greener vehicles reducing pollution levels over time.

A council report said this option was not favoured in a public consultation, with 49 out of 53 respondents disagreeing.

Many disagreed because of their “poor quality of life” caused by traffic and congestion on the street, the report says.

More residents favoured the demolition option, though views were also mixed, with 22 agreeing and 30 against the plan.

Welsh Government has tasked the council with meeting air quality targets “in the shortest timescale possible.”

Ministers could challenge a ‘do minimum’ approach, which would meet air guidelines by 2025, the Welsh Government has warned.

The council hopes homes can be purchased by reaching agreements with residents, though a compulsory purchase process is planned alongside this, to avoid any delays.

Caerphilly council’s cabinet are due to decide which option to pursue at a meeting next Wednesday.

A report set to go before councillors says: “Welsh Government’s confirmation of the availability of funding serves to address cabinet’s previously expressed concern that residents should not be placed in financial hardship.

“It is therefore proposed that purchase (at 150 per cent of the valuation), demolition of the properties and realignment of the footpath is confirmed as the preferred option.”