Sudbury: ‘Impasse’ reached over plans to cut pollution
11:50 10 June 2014
Campaigners who are pushing for a cut in pollution levels on a notorious west Suffolk Street have reached an “impasse”, according to a senior highways officer.
A meeting about the issue was called in Sudbury last week by residents of Cross Street, which has unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide caused by the volume of heavy traffic using the narrow road.
In 2012, county council highways chiefs pledged to consider measures outlined in a Babergh District Council air quality action plan, including taking out parking bays and limiting waiting on the street to increase traffic flow. However, two years on, those living on Cross Street – which has high terraced buildings on both sides creating a “canyon” effect that prevents polluted air from dispersing – fear that nothing has happened to solve the issue.
Luke Cresswell, of Cross Street, was behind last week’s meeting. He said: “We were told two years ago there would be a consultation with residents but nothing has been done. We have got to the point where we are so frustrated with all the talking – we just want something to be done.”
Another resident, Simeon Layburn said: “The whole of (Sudbury’s) one-way system needs updating and that would help Cross Street. Just a few simple signs might help. No one knows where they are going because it’s too complicated.”
Steve Merry, the county’s assistant area manager for highways who attended the meeting, said attempts had been made in conjunction with Babergh District Council to ease pollution on Cross Street by taking out parking and trialling a one-way system.
He said: “We removed the build- outs in Cross Street which were holding up traffic and that helped.
“But when we took out the parking as a temporary measure residents were totally against this because of the lack of parking outside their homes and fears that it would increase the speed of vehicles using the street – so we have reached an impasse. I will write to Cross Street residents to see if they want us to consider removing parking (permanently) based on the results of the trial. If not, then from our point of view there’s very little else we can do.”
One of the main causes of pollution is that Cross Street is part of the main strategic lorry route from Essex through to Bury St Edmunds.
Graham Newman, the county council’s cabinet member for roads and transport, who also attended the meeting, has pledged to work with Essex county councillors and hauliers to try to prevent increasingly large lorries passing through Sudbury.
He said: “I think the strategic lorry map of this county should have a flag saying this road is restricted due to the built-up environment and narrow streets.”