Stratford St Andrew: Campaigners call for quicker solution to A12 pollution issues
Campaigners for a bypass to be built around a Suffolk village with hazardous levels of vehicle emissions have questioned the authorities’ latest response to the pollution problem.
Last week, Suffolk Coastal District Council announced an action plan was to be drawn up to tackle air pollution on the A12 at Statford St Andrew.
The move followed a monitoring exercise, which revealed unacceptable levels of nitrogen dioxide in the village and prompted the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to declare part of the village an official Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
As part of the plan, the district council is required to carry out further air quality testing before reporting back to DEFRA in a year.
It must also devise measures to reduce pollution levels within 18 months.
Farnham with Stratford St Andrew Parish Council has questioned why, after three years of monitoring exercise “they need to do yet another survey before they take any meaningful action”.
“The increase in traffic will only make this situation worse with large vehicles causing more of a problem,” said Debbi Tayler, the parish clerk.
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Mrs Tayler claims the long-standing campaign for a bypass around Stratford St Andrew, Farnham, Marlesford and Little Glemham would be the best solution to the air pollution problems.
Bypass campaigners also believe the project would address the wider road safety concerns, which are expected to worsen with the construction of Sizewell C power station.
Fatal accidents and recurring hazards involving large lorries and pedestrians in the villages have been reported as reasons to progress the bypass plans as soon as possible.
The parish council also claims to have raised more simple solutions to the pollution problems that could be carried immediately without requiring a bypass or further monitoring to take place.
Mrs Tayler said one of the causes of pollution at Long Row, where nitrogen dioxide levels are at their highest, is the change in speed limit, which encourages motorists to accelerate from 30mph to 50mph as they leave the village.
One way the issue could be “resolved immediately”, Mrs Tayler says, is to create a 40mph “buffer zone” between the 30mph and 50mph signs to reduce the rapid acceleration and braking, which is linked with the high emissions.
Despite making this suggestion to Suffolk County Council, the parish council claims to have been told “there is no good reason to do this”. “And yet we now have an Air Quality Management Assessment that indicates there is a problem,” Mrs Tayler said.
“Do our local authorities not communicate with each other?”
Andrew Nunn, who is responsible for the green environment at the district council, is inviting people to submit ideas for the action plan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org