Bid to resolve town’s polluted road goes on

Cross Street pollution ENGANL00120120320173202
Cross Street pollution ENGANL00120120320173202
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Alternative parking for Cross Street residents could be a way of solving Sudbury’s long-standing pollution issue in the road.

Council officers say they are now looking for places where residents could park away from the busy street which is in constant use by articulated lorries.

James Buckingham, Babergh District Council’s corporate manager, environmental protection and planning enforcement, said previous consultations with residents to remove street parking was not acceptable to some homeowners.

But an option to provide parking elsewhere was being looked at.

He said: “The problem is that we have two pinch points in Cross Street where two lanes of traffic are forced down one side of the road. About half a dozen houses are affected.

“It’s the houses close to the kerb side, where the traffic uses one side of the road, which have the problem because the nitrogen dioxide does not have the room it needs to disperse.

“There has been two different consultations and residents were not in favour of losing six parking bays on the street. So we are looking at alternative parking provision,” he said.

Cross Street air quality has been the subject of pollution monitoring for years.

The narrow canyon-like street had two ‘build-outs’ installed on the narrowest sections of the road so that northbound vehicles had to give-way to southbound traffic.

They were installed to prevent lorries mounting the kerb and damaging homes, but as they lead to increased congestion they were removed.

An air quality action report produced by Babergh, responsible for monitoring pollution levels in the street, found more than 50 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per cubic metre of air in the street. It is illegal to exceed 40 micrograms.

Nitrogen dioxide is associated with pollution-related health issues such as inflamed airways and respiratory symptoms.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council confirmed that reduced parking on the road was one option being considered to solve the problem, but it could require a “compromise” over parking, with the need for residents to make their views known to the council in the near future.

She said: “The poor air quality levels on Cross Street is part of an ongoing project with Babergh District Council.

“In 2011, we removed build-outs to smooth traffic flow, as part of the air pollution reduction strategy.

“The next stage is to look at the possibility of reviewing the on-street parking, as this also slows traffic which can increase fumes created by vehicles.

“We are trying to address the situation by looking at reducing parking on the road, but a legal process will be needed.

“There will need to be consultation with local residents and Babergh on what the best option will be for those affected.

“We are currently liaising with Babergh District Council to look at alternative options for parking, as residents of Cross Street will be affected if a decision is made to remove on street parking.”