The fresh air of Ceredigion – the second cleanest in Wales – was celebrated as councillors were updated on the current quality assessments for the county.

The county council monitors 11 places it is considered as “worst case scenarios” apart from one rural site as a comparison and the majority are under half the level of further intervention required.

Members of the healthier communities overview and scrutiny committee heard on Thursday (October 27) that diffusion tubes are fixed to a lamppost by the roadside and collected monthly to be sent for analysis.

An average value over 12 months is then compared against statutory limits for nitrogen oxide and airborne particle matter, although in 2021 only six months of data is available due to covid restrictions.

A report to the committee states that the diffusion tubes are located at Terrace Road, Thespian Street, Railway station, Morrisons roundabout and Great Dark Street in Aberystwyth, Talybont, High Street, Lampeter, Pendam and in Cardigan at High Street and Quay Street.

The committee heard that Ceredigion was second only to Anglesey in terms of air quality, which chairman Cllr Caryl Roberts argued was only better because it is surrounded by the sea on all sides.

Cllr John Roberts raised concerns about “micro fibres” in the air and other pollutants such as lead and methane, as well as magnetism from electric vehicles.

Consideration to sampling the air  in other towns can be given, officers told Cllr Keith Evans who said it was “important that all the towns are monitored.”

There was an increase in nitrogen oxide concentrations in 2021 compared to 2020 but that is put down to the lifting of lockdown restrictions, and is a similar picture across Wales.

As there was “insufficient data to make valid conclusions regarding the impact of temporary street pedestrianisation and newly formed one-way streets in our towns” the 2023 progress report will look at what impact the traffic changes made in Great Dark Street, Aberystwyth and High Street and Quay Street, in Cardigan.