Nine-and-a-half metre walls could be built next to roads in bid to tackle air pollution
NINE-and-a-half metre walls could be built next to some of the busiest roads in the Bury area in a bid to tackle air pollution.
A government minister revealed the plans in response to a question submitted by Bury North MP James Frith on behalf of a local council candidate.
Last month, it was revealed that several of the borough’s roads were among the most polluted in Greater Manchester.
They included sections of Angouleme Way, Rochdale Road, and Peel Way — at the junction of Derby Way, and leading down Bolton Road and Crostons Road — as well as Bury New Road, in Whitefield and Prestwich, and Water Street in Radcliffe.
The stretches of roads were among 152 across the region which will breach legal limits for harmful nitrogen dioxide beyond 2020, unless action is taken.
Charlotte Morris, who has been announced as the Labour candidate for Elton at next year’s local elections, wrote to the transport minister earlier this month to ask about plans to address rising air pollution on busy roads.
And she says she has been left ‘stunned’ at the transport minister Jesse Norman’s response that the government-owned Highways England was considering building the barriers at the side of some roads to tackle dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide.
Ms Morris added: “I expected the minister to say the government will do more to introduce cleaner vehicles faster or invest more in clean and green public transport to get people out of their cars.
“What I didn’t expect was a commitment to build a near 10-metre high wall along some of our motorways and ‘A’ roads.
“While this may be a necessary temporary fix on some strategic roads, what does the government have to offer residents living in the vicinity of Crostons Road or Brandlesholme Road, with NO2 levels set to breach legal limits in the next few years?
“I’m not sure many would appreciate a 10 metre high wall at the end of their gardens.”
Mr Frith said he shared Ms Morris’s shock at the response, and added: “We need real leadership to tackle the growing problem of air quality, which is contributing to the deaths of thousands of people across Greater Manchester every year.
“I’ll keep fighting for real action at a national level, alongside local campaigners like Charlotte, to address this urgent threat.”
The full response from Mr Norman read:
“Highways England have been undertaking extensive research into potential air quality solutions for the strategic road network that could reduce levels of NO2.
“They have explored a wide range of ideas including the effectiveness of different traffic management options, understanding obstacles to greater use of electric vans on the network and different types of barrier design.
“Based on all their research, they have robust evidence that a 9.5 metre high barrier can help reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide behind the barrier and have developed a programme to identify potential sites around the network.”