24-hour bus lanes in Colchester town centre – suspended in April due to public opposition – are set to be reintroduced to tackle poor air quality
Certain elements of suspended Traffic Regulation Orders are set to be reintroduced in Colchester town centre in order to help tackle poor air quality in the area, Essex county council has announced.
The council is planning to reintroduce 24-hour bus lanes on North Hill (southbound), Middleborough (right turn to North Hill) and High Street (right turn to Queen Street), following ‘positive’ meetings with Colchester borough council.
The 24-hour bus lanes were originally introduced earlier this year alongside a number of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), including the trial of an 18 month ban on traffic through Colchester town centre.
However, the trial ban as well as the other TROs ended after only three weeks in April 2013 following opposition from residents.
But, the council has now said it is planning to reintroduce the bus lanes – although not the traffic ban – and will be discussing the plans with local groups, businesses, public transport operators and residents.
Leader of Colchester borough council, councillor Anne Turrell said: “I am happy that positive progress is being made towards reducing congestion and improving air quality in Colchester. We welcome these steps to help make the town centre an even better place for residents and visitors alike.â€?
Also commenting on the plans to tackle traffic pollution in Colchester, Essex county councillor Rodney L. Bass – cabinet member for highways and transportation – said he was “very pleasedâ€? about the possible reintroduction of 24-hour bus lanes.
He said: “These are designed to benefit town centre users, and work alongside further improvements planned for Colchester, including the introduction of Park and Ride towards the end of next year. We are taking a considered approach to these proposals, and there will be full consultation before any additional measures are introduced.â€?
Earlier this month, the owner of a stationary shop in the town centre said he had been forced to close his business after 46 years due to the damage on his health from traffic pollution in the area (see airqualitynews.com story).
As a result, Steve Miller – the owner of MillerStationary – called for on Essex county council to reintroduce the 18-month trial ban on through traffic in Colchester town centre and 700 signatories in support.
In response, the council said it had applied for Defra grant funding to carry out further particulate matter monitoring in town centre locations, but that it currently only had “rawâ€? data on how effective the traffic ban was on nitrogen dioxide levels.