County council tackles air pollution on crossroads which has poorer air quality than the rest of the area
West Sussex county council has launched a campaign to improve air quality by reminding motorists to cut their engines while waiting at traffic lights.
Four signs stating â€˜cut engines â€“ cut pollutionâ€™ have been installed at the four approaches to the Stonepound Crossroads in Hassocks to remind drivers that they can reduce pollution by turning off their carâ€™s engine when in stationary traffic.
While the council says Mid Sussex meets all the necessary levels of air quality it has been noted that air quality at the crossroads is â€œslightly poorerâ€ than other areas due to the volume of passing and queueing traffic as well as the road layout of the area.
The new signage is part of a series of actions recommended for the Hassocks area by Mid Sussex district council in its Air Quality Action Plan. Other measures include a review of how traffic signals are operated, steering drivers towards alternative routes like the A23 and, for short journeys, encouraging local residents and school children to walk, cycle or take the bus instead of using a car.
The worst case receptor on the crossroads is at the faÃ§ade of Overcourt on the south east corner which gave a reading of 46.1ug/m3 for NO2 in 2011 against the target of 40.
The area was designated an Air Quality Management Area in March 2012 due to the levels of nitrogen dioxide present being above the target. The council was then required to submit an action plan to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) within 18 months setting out how air pollution would be reduced.
Following a public consultation, the councilâ€™s cabinet approved the action plan on September 11 2013 with Defra giving its approval as well deeming that it included enough measures to reduce nitrogen dioxide to below the target by 2018.
In order for Stonepound Crossroads to be revoked as an Air Quality Management Area, annual air quality monitoring data will need to show levels of air pollution at consistently below the target.
â€œThis is one small action that people can take to help make our roads less of a health risk,â€ Councillor Christopher Snowling, cabinet member for health and community at Mid Sussex district council, said. â€œBy turning off our engines in stationary traffic, we save on fuel costs and if we all do it together then we will make a real difference to the air quality for local people who live nearby.â€
Pieter Montyn, West Sussex county council cabinet member for highways and transport added: â€œDrivers may not think that they are stopped for long but every little helps and itâ€™s important that we all do what we can to combat the negative effects of vehicle emissions.â€