The Government has backed proposals drawn up by Suffolk Coastal, with help from the public, which are aimed at improving air quality at a busy Woodbridge road junction.
Suffolk Coastal’s air quality action plan was commended as having ‘every chance of succeeding’ and 20 agreed measures will now be implemented.
“After investigations by this Council, an air quality management area (AQMA) was brought in to cover the busy road junction of Lime Kiln Quay Road, Thoroughfare and St. John’s Street in Woodbridge,” said Cllr Andrew Nunn, Cabinet Member for the Green Environment.
“We then asked for ideas from the public and other interested bodies as to how we could tackle the problem and received 79 different proposals, which we trimmed down to a 20 point action plan, which has won high praise from the Government.
“Work is now underway on putting all the measures into place, and we will report back on an annual basis on our progress and how effective our measures are being in improving air quality at this one problem area in Woodbridge,” added Cllr Nunn.
The action plan was drawn up by the Council’s environmental protection team working in partnership with Suffolk County Council. Each of the 79 proposed measures were fully investigated regarding their potential impact, cost and feasibility.
The Government’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs concluded that ‘overall, it is clear that much work has gone into the production of this action plan. This is a very good and comprehensive report and it is believed that the action plan has every chance of being successful. The Council should be commended for its efforts in producing this report.’
The approved Action Plan details the 20 measures to be implemented, how they will be monitored and an assessment of the benefits that should occur as a result.
Among the measures being introduced will be the installation by the county council of a new computerised control system for the traffic lights so that those lanes with the biggest queues will receive a longer lasting green light. It is also proposed to try and encourage bus companies to use more modern, cleaner vehicles in Woodbridge, while also helping local schools and businesses with travel plans to reduce the amount of traffic, along with making it more attractive for walkers and cyclists.
“Our public consultation in March to May 2010 was very successful in attracting a large number of comments and I would like to thank all those who have played their part in helping us draw up this important action plan, and particularly Denise Lavender, and also Tim Davidson, of our environmental protection team.
“Generally the quality of air in our district is as good as you would expect for such a rural environmentally-rich district, but we do have to remain vigilant to ensure that remains the case.
“With our action plan for this problem junction, and similar measures being drawn up for our only other AQMA in Felixstowe, we are showing that we will do what we can to protect the air quality in our district,” added Cllr Nunn.
The action plan can be seen online on www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/yourdistrict/envprotection/airquality/woodbridge/, or at the Council’s offices at Melton Hill, Woodbridge and Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe. The Council will produce an annual update report detailing progress on, and any changes made to, the action plan.