Petition over St Albans pollution black spot

PUBLISHED: 18:38 07 April 2012

Holywell Hill, St Albans.

Holywell Hill, St Albans.

Archant

CONCERNED residents behind a six-year battle to reduce pollution levels in a city centre street have taken the next step in their campaign by launching a petition.

Some people living on Holywell Hill have grown increasingly worried about the levels of nitrogen dioxide they are being subjected to as a result of the vast amount of traffic in the area.

The Peahen junction was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) by St Albans District Council (SADC) in 2004, after studies found the levels of nitrogen dioxide exceeded those deemed safe by experts.

That was later extended to include homes and shops further down the hill when it was found that the problems were far worse than first thought.

In light of that, a small group of residents formed the Holywell Hill Group in a bid to pressure the council into doing something about the issue.

Several ideas have been mooted over the past couple of years to solve the problem, including asking drivers to turn off their engines while stationary and partly pedestrianising St Peter’s Street.

A trial of the latter proposal was due to take place at the beginning of this year but the Lib Dem initiative was scrapped when the Tories took over administration of the council at the last election.

The Holywell Hill Group is now more determined than ever to get something done and has launched the petition on the Herts County Council website.

Residents and businesses in the area have also been receiving leaflets from the group, informing them of the campaign.

Gillian Talbot, whose husband Roger is the chairman of the Holywell Hill Group, said that it was their final push to get something done.

She said: “We want to stop the people who are just passing through the junction and not actually bringing anything to the town.

“All we’re asking for is at least a trial of the part pedestrianisation to see if it will make a difference.”

St Albans District Council said it was aware of the concerns about pollution and traffic congestion in the city centre.

The council’s director of legal services, Mike Lovelady, said: “We are working with Network St Albans to assess the potential impact on air pollution of their proposed traffic modelling schemes that are aimed at reducing congestion in the city centre, including at the Peahen junction.

“We have obtained £14,000 in external funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to help us do this work which is one of the council’s priorities for 2012.”

The petition can be viewed online on the county council’s website until April 30 at: https://consult.hertsdirect.org/petitions/petition?petition_id=39266


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