Should Ipswich town centre car parks be closed to cut pollution?
PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 February 2020
Green campaigners calling for a reduction in air pollution in Ipswich have called for car parks to be closed and for people travelling to the town centre to use park and ride, other bus services, or to walk or cycle.
They warn that unless radical action is taken, pollution levels will continue to rise and the number of people dying from pollution-related conditions will continue unchecked.
Tony Horner has been working with organisations including the Women's Institute, Friends of the Earth and the British Heart Foundation to try to reduce air pollution and introduce policies to reduce it and make life easier for those with breathing problems.
He said: "The fact is Ipswich Borough Council has been aware that pollution has been illegal and above government target levels since 2008, knows the death and suffering this causes, knows that this is due to exhaust emissions, knows it has statutory obligations to reduce the pollution, and yet the pollution has not reduced.
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"IBC also knows the only way to reduce the pollution is to reduce the number of vehicles and yet since 2008 has developed a car parking income generation strategy - which requires maximising the number vehicles in town."
Mr Horner said the only way to really reduce pollution was to bring in policies to keep as many vehicles as possible away from the town.
Ipswich council runs many of the car parks in the town centre and is currently planning to build two more multi-storey car parks in the Portman Road and West End Road area of the town.
Deputy Leader Bryony Rudkin said: "We are passionate about making Ipswich a better place but quite frankly banning cars and asking the council and other firms to close town centre car parks is neither sensible nor feasible.
"Town centres need our support more than ever and this could have a devastating impact not only on people's lives but also on businesses, unwittingly giving support to out of town car-based shopping centres and other towns in the region."
The call to take cars out of the town comes after Extinction Rebellion activists held events in Ipswich to highlight the number of people who are believed to have died from air pollution and the debate about congestion in the town continues after northern bypass proposals were recently abandoned.