Concerns at traffic pollution black spot

PUBLISHED: 11:47 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

The Peahen junction

The Peahen junction

THE MOTHER of a young baby has become increasingly anxious about living in an area polluted by traffic fumes. Louise Raw, who has a 10-month-old baby, lives in Holywell Hill, St Albans, and has herself suffered from severe chest infections. She is close

THE MOTHER of a young baby has become increasingly anxious about living in an area polluted by traffic fumes.

Louise Raw, who has a 10-month-old baby, lives in Holywell Hill, St Albans, and has herself suffered from severe chest infections.

She is close to the Peahen Junction which the latest report to the district council on air quality management suggests will continue to exceed safety levels in terms of nitrogen dioxide concentrations by 2010.

The district council has been working on an action plan with Herts County Council and Herts Highways to identify measures to improve air quality across the district generally and specifically at the Peahen Junction.

Louise, aged 39, admits she would love to move but cannot afford to do so at present especially as she does not drive and needs to stay close to shops and other facilities.

She said: "The air stinks. It even gets inside our home. When it's the rush hour it makes our eyes sting and chokes you. In the summer I had to keep the window shut in 90 degrees of heat to try to protect Sam. In desperation I spent hundreds of pounds on an air purifier but nothing much works.

"I've lived here for 11 years and though it's always been bad, it got much worse in 2005 when the new traffic lights were installed."

She said there had to be a case for a park-and-ride scheme but a previous poorly-publicised pilot scheme never really got off the ground.

County Councillor Chris White, who represents St Albans Central division, said park-and-ride schemes were still being considered and it was widely acknowledged that bus services needed to become more user-friendly.

He said: "The one scheme which may soon make a difference to city-centre traffic is the car park telematics. These signs should stop people driving around searching for spaces."

A county spokesperson said that the Peahen traffic lights were modified as part of the St Peter's Street scheme, following a number of pedestrian accidents at the junction. A fourth pedestrian phase had been added to allow enough time for pedestrians to cross safely.

As well as the Peahen Junction, Beechtree Cottages at the junction of the M1/M10 motorways and Smug Oak Lane will also continue to exceed air quality safety levels by 2010.

n In the UK premature deaths from particulate pollution - largely from traffic - is estimated at about 17,500 annually, with a further 1,500 from ozone pollution.

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