Calls for action on 'invisible evil' at Air Balloon Roundabout on A417
FURTHER calls for action on air pollution levels at one of the Cotswold’s worst traffic blackspots have been made.
Sir Graham Watson, the Liberal Democrat MEP for Gloucestershire, has written to the Government to demand an investigation into the high levels of nitrogen oxide (NO2) at the Birdlip roundabout, near Cirencester.
The number of HGV vehicles at the A417 "missing link" needs to be reduced by more than half to achieve satisfactory European air quality levels, according to a 2010 assessment.
Sir Graham said that several local residents were already showing signs of asthma and the issue had been passed between departments like a "hot potato" for too long.
"I hope DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) will take these concerns very seriously and ensure something can be done to sort this out and tackle what is a major public health issue," he said.
It is hoped that an air quality action plan, drawn up by CDC last year, will be delivered by the council’s strategic partners.
One measure included adding the missing section of dual-carriageway to the A417 which has already been ruled out by the Highways Agency due to cost.
Sir Graham’s comments came after concerns were raised by Cotswold Lib Dem leader Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, who has spoken with affected families living near the Air Balloon Roundabout area.
Cllr Hodgkinson said residents’ feared the effects of air pollution on their health and were unable to sit outside their homes because of the constant stream of ever increasing traffic.
"Pollution is an invisible evil which can eat away at people's health without them even knowing it," Cllr Hodgkinson said.
A similar letter was written to the Government in March this year by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Tory MP for the Cotswolds.
In response to Mr Clifton-Brown, the Department for Transport pledged to work with Gloucestershire County Council to trial a ban on right turns at the Air Balloon Roundabout and remove the existing give way markings on Crickley Hill to improve traffic flow.