West Suffolk is set for improved air quality and a pedestrian crossing upgrade

Great Barton. Picture: Google

A pedestrian crossing is set to be moved  in an effort to combat high levels of pollution.

Earlier this Summer, Suffolk Highways along with colleagues from West Suffolk Council held an engagement session regarding the proposal to relocate the current puffin crossing along The Street, Great Barton over concerns about the air quality.

The poor air quality is a result of the high buildings and trees in and around the area causing a ‘canyon effect’ when vehicles accelerate away from the crossing, with engine fumes entering the atmosphere.

Following careful study of the affected area, West Suffolk was awarded £98k for the air quality improvement scheme from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Residents of Great Barton were given three options of where the crossing should be repositioned. Following the engagement event, comments and feedback were collated and reviewed in order to decide on which location will benefit those who use the crossing on a regular basis, whilst reducing the negative air quality.

There were many factors taken into consideration, however it was decided that ‘option 2’ would be delivered, relocating the crossing outside the Church Institute Hall. The improvement works are set to begin on 23 September 2019, taking approximately 5 weeks to complete. An overnight road closure will be in place during the last week (week commencing 21 October) to complete resurfacing. Further details will be issued in due course.

As a result of the crossing relocation, the air quality will be significantly improved by moving the current crossing out of the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), therefore maximising air quality benefits.

During the consultation event, concerns were also raised around the lack of footpaths on the east side of School Road, adjacent to The Street and on the eastern side of East Barton Road. The air quality project will address these concerns.

During the 5 weeks of works, additional works will take place to improve and extend the footpaths to enable safe use and crossing points for all.

Councillor Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member responsible for Roads, Transport and Rural Affairs, said:

Additional funding is extremely helpful and welcomed to undertake these improvements to the Suffolk Highways network and I am pleased that the money is being used to improve the air quality in this area of Great Barton.”

“I hope that we can continue to receive these funds to complete crucial works to improve air quality, as part of the Suffolk County Council carbon neutral by 2030 action plan.”

Cllr Andy Drummond, Cabinet Member for Regulatory at West Suffolk Council, said:

“The Council has a statutory duty to monitor air quality throughout the district and where we find an area where air quality levels are breached, we work to find solutions to benefit those affected. In this case we identified that the issue could be alleviated simply by moving the pedestrian crossing to a less built up area where any pollutants could naturally disperse. We have been very careful not to simply move the problem from one location to another and we welcome the work being carried out by Suffolk County Council.”