Worsening air quality in Long Stratton

A LONG-RUNNING campaign for a Long Stratton bypass was given added urgency after worsening air quality levels were revealed for the traffic choked village.

A LONG-RUNNING campaign for a Long Stratton bypass was given added urgency after worsening air quality levels were revealed for the traffic choked village.

A relief road for residents blighted by high volumes of car and lorry movements on the A140 was first mooted in 1937.

Campaigners were given added ammunition last Friday after new figures showed that traffic fume levels had breached air quality guidelines.

The higher than normal readings of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is linked to vehicle movements, could lead to the village being declared South Norfolk Council's first air quality management area, which will force local authorities to take action to address pollution levels.

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Four traffic congestion hotspots on the edge of Norwich have also given environmental chiefs cause for concern, including the Thickthorn roundabout, Old Newmarket Road, in Cringleford, the A146 Loddon Road and A47 junction at Bixley, and the A11 slip road at Cringleford.

Officers at the district council are set to undertake further air quality tests at Long Stratton and Cringleford to get a clearer picture of the problem.

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A testing station opposite the Swan Lane junction on the A140 at Long Stratton found that NO2 levels were 43mcgs per cubic meter of air, which could affect people with existing health problems, like asthma. The national standard is 40mcgs/m3.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said the data was further evidence of the necessity of a Long Stratton bypass.

'The council is currently leaving no stone unturned in attempting to get this road scheme for which local campaigners have been fighting for 70 years.'

'Since it was de-trunked, the A140 has been a poor relation, but it is very important for the prosperity of Long Stratton as a village and the whole of Norfolk and it links Norwich and surrounding areas with Ipswich and north Essex,' he said.

The village is currently earmarked for 1,800 new homes as part of the growth of the Greater Norwich area, which could help fund the estimated �30m road scheme.

Mr Fuller added: 'Whatever happens, a bypass would have to be part funded by developer contributions and it is possible that the county and district council may have to put its hand in its pocket if costs are greater than a developer can afford,' he said.

Alison Thomas, local district and county councillor, said the slow moving traffic at morning and evening rush hours also caused a noise pollution problem.

'We have known for some time that air quality in Long Stratton is heading towards and over acceptable limits and demonstrates the implications for pedestrians and particularly children in the village who are often waiting to cross the road,' she said.

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