Plans to alleviate traffic in Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds, approved but calls for more collaboration issued
Plans to deal with heavy traffic in a Suffolk village have been approved but calls for better collaboration have been issued.
Last night, members of West Suffolk’s cabinet approved a five-year action plan to deal with heavy traffic on a built-up stretch of the A143 in Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds, which has caused nitrogen dioxide levels to breach national thresholds since 2017.
This comes following a much called for bypass being denied by Suffolk County Council due to the need for a significant multi-million-pound investment.
An Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) was initially put in place in 2018 and, although assessments have registered a consistent reduction since then, levels must stay below the 40 micrograms per metre cubed threshold for five years — this was not the case in four assessment areas in 2018 and a further two in 2019.
The new AQAP, which will last until 2029, includes a feasibility assessment to set out future measures to address the problems – such as re-routing HGVs currently driving through the village.
This, however, would not be the driving factor in reducing emissions because it could not only push HGVs into smaller roads but would also not address most of the pollution, which is caused by cars.
Instead, improving the flow along the road by preventing stop-start traffic will be key to keeping emissions down, especially during the school pick-up and drop-off period.
During the consultation, Great Barton Primary School said: “Parents generally drive pupils to school due to not feeling safe whilst walking along the A143 which adds to the congestion through Great Barton.”
Cllr Gerald Kelly, portfolio holder for governance and regulatory, called on Suffolk County Council to step up its efforts in getting the problem under control.
He said: “As far as we’re concerned, it’s five years on and we’re no wiser and no further ahead and it’s, at the very least, frustrating.
“I have some sympathy because they have a major resource problem at the moment but the world doesn’t stop just because they’re short of cash.”
Cllr Kelly said West Suffolk Council was lacking engagement from its county counterpart which was delaying decisive action.
An SCC spokesperson said the council remained willing to work with West Suffolk Council and provide input as needed.