Picturesque Lechlade is air pollution blackspot

Lechlade Town councillor Sue Coakley on Thames Street, where air quality in Lechlade has fallen below acceptable standards

Lechlade Town councillor Sue Coakley on Thames Street, where air quality in Lechlade has fallen below acceptable standards

First published in News
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Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

RESIDENTS in Lechlade have hit out after officials admitted the picturesque town was still an air pollution hotspot.

Air quality in Lechlade has been monitored since 1998, with Thames Street the worst-affected area.

At a meeting of Cotswold District Council’s cabinet last week, cabinet member for communities and health Councillor Carole Topple said it was “regrettable” that the level of nitrogen dioxide recorded was still exceeding the National Air Quality Objectives.

Cllr Topple said the issue was caused as Thames Street was a narrow stretch of road with traffic lights controlling traffic turning on to High Street.

As a result vehicles, and in particular lorries, stop at the lights with their engines running, creating the pollution.

“We have no choice but to declare it as an area of low air quality,” said Cllr Topple. “Locally it’s been a big issue for a long time and it’s very bad for the people who live there.”

Two years ago, Thames Street was revealed as having the worst air quality in the Cotswolds and was in danger of breaching European air safety standards.

Thames Street and the notorious Air Balloon roundabout at Birdlip on the A429 are the only places in the Cotswolds to be flagged up as a potential Air Quality Management Area.

Lechlade town councillor and CDC representative for the town Sue Coakley said it was a frustrating and on-going situation.

“It’s not that nothing has been done, it’s that what has been done hasn’t been enough,” she said.

“We’ve been trying to get Highways to relocate the traffic lights for ages. It’s frustrating to get to this stage because in Lechlade, we have been aware of the problem of air quality for a while.”

She said Gloucestershire Highways had put up signs telling lorries to find alternative routes, but many HGV drivers had simply ignored them.

CDC’s cabinet agreed to make Thames Street an Air Quality Management Area.

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