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Horsham considers low emission zone

District council believes partial ban on HGVs could help reduce air traffic pollution in Storrington

Council officers are considering whether to establish a low emission zone for a village in West Sussex, following a public consultation on the proposed measures carried out in February.

Assessment of traffic management options is underway after respondents to the consultation on the Storrington Air Quality Action Plan backed measures to tackle air pollution in the village, including a total ban on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) travelling through the village.

Horsham district council's Sue Rogers called for more rapid progress on improving air quality in Storrington

Horsham district council’s Sue Rogers called for more rapid progress on improving air quality in Storrington

Among the options presented in the draft plan, which was exhibited for residents in February by Horsham district council, were proposals to introduce a 20mph limit and announcing  traffic light ‘gates’ which would control traffic flow into the village, relieving congested areas and therefore limiting exposure to pollution (see airqualitynews story).

Whilst public feedback was strongly in support of a complete ban on HGVs, the council believes it would be difficult for West Sussex county council or Sussex Police to implement such a measure as it would be difficult to enforce.

Ban

It was however decided that a ‘partial ban’ on the most polluting HGVs could possibly be achieved through a low emission zone.

Councillor Sue Rogers, Horsham’s cabinet member for a safer and healthier district, said: “Air pollution in Storrington is predominantly related to the high volumes of through traffic and we continue to work in partnership with West Sussex county council and Sussex Police to look at ways of dealing with this.

“Progress is not as rapid as I would have liked but we need to balance public acceptance of possible solutions and the differing priorities of our partners. Nevertheless we are moving forward and we will continue to explore ways of managing this problem.”

It is hoped the measures will reduce the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the area. In December 2010, Storrington’s high street and junction between Manleys Hill and School Hill were found to exceed the annual national objective for the pollutant.

The air quality test led to the district council formally declaring an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in Storrington, while a further assessment submitted to Defra in March 2012 found an estimated reduction in total vehicle emissions of 40% would be necessary to comply with the mean national objective.

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