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Lib Dems – A5 Pollution Needs Action Now

Author: Martin Johns - Lib Dem Published: 1st December 2017 15:38

Lib Dems – A5 Pollution Needs Action Now Lib Dems – A5 Pollution Needs Action Now Liberal Democrat councillors have again put the spotlight on air pollution and congestion that blights Towcester.

At the request of the Liberal Democrats, the chair of South Northants Council’s Scrutiny Committee recently agreed to put before her committee the council’s latest air pollution monitoring report and the issue of the Towcester Relief Road (TRR).  Further scrutiny will take place in January.

Liberal Democrats are continuing to put pressure on our local MP and central government, to ensure HGVs are kept out of the town centre by upgrading the proposed TRR to a bypass and to de-trunk the A5 through the town.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Johns said: “The Department for Transport in its ‘Road Investment Strategy’ published in December 2014 promised to part-fund a ‘southern relief road, taking traffic out of the town.’ Local people are expecting its MP and the government to honour its pledge, a promise that can only be met with an A5 bypass.

South Northants Council has it seems finally agreed with both the Lib Dems and Towcester Town Council, that only a full A5 bypass will relieve Towcester of air pollution and congestion. Highways England say the TRR will have a very limited impact on the town centre’s traffic and pollution problems because a single carriageway road with four roundabouts will not be used by HGVs to bypass the town; and this is the reason why Highways England are refusing to consider de-trunking the A5 through the town. The Department for Transport have this week written to me stating that the DfT are considering a financial contribution to assist in the TRR’s early delivery.
Now it’s become clear a relief road will only support the additional housing for Towcester, such a move would simply help already highly profitable developers.

What’s needed is upgrading the relief road to a full bypass and de-trunking the A5 through the town.”

Councillor Martin Johns adds: “South Northants Council’s recently published report on air pollution in Towcester (for 2016) that demonstrates there’s been no improvement to air quality, despite an Air Quality Action Plan being in place for 12 years. With Towcester planned to double in size, major developments at Silverstone, and massive rail freight depots being proposed, it’s more important than ever that HGVs are keep out of Towcester town centre.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Chris Lofts said: “Monitoring shows that air pollution in Towcester’s town centre continues to exceed the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide, yet no action is being taken to prevent this very serious public health issue. Work on the M1 over the next three years is expected to add to Towcester’s A5 traffic problems. Prof Stephen Holgate, asthma expert at Southampton University recently told MPs that there were no safe levels of pollution from nitrogen dioxide.”


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peter k
At 12:03 on 2nd December 2017, peter k commented:
Glad to see one section of our local council is keeping up the pressure on this matter.

For the DoT to call the Persimmon Homes access road a Towcester Relief Road is a continued nonsense. After having agreed that the town's 106 money should be used to speed up the road's completion, we have yet to see any progress made at all.

I do feel the DoT should admit the chance of HGVs using the Persimmon road is a non-starter and that a full review should be set up by the Department to fully explore all the technical options for a true Towcester Relief Road. Maybe upgrading the Persimmon road is the answer, but this continual "stab in the dark" approach to the problem is not working.

Jeremy H
At 12:54 on 8th January 2018, Jeremy H commented:
Considering the Town Centre decays rapidly and residents inhale filth year-after-year, it is a great shame the Lib Dems even need to apply pressure - but thank you for doing so.

The Xmas Carol Service held on the Market Square generated a wonderful community and festive atmosphere. To see 40 ton trucks rumble past, just a few meters from the crowds, adding their nitrogen dioxide to the mix, was frankly troubling. We deserve much better than this.

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