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New junction would 'improve pollution levels'

Council claim a proposed link road into Cheap Street would help ease traffic

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper


01635 886632

WEST Berkshire Council says it believes a new proposed junction diverting traffic from the A339 into Cheap Street will help improve pollution levels in Newbury.

The heavily-congested ‘Burger King junction’ was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) by West Berkshire Council in May 2009.

Monitoring data showed that in 2008 the average nitrogen dioxide concentration at the junction was more than a third above Government targets of 40 micrograms per cubic metre, while on 61 occasions during morning and evening rush hours, the levels exceeded the Government’s hourly target.

At a recent West Berkshire Council meeting, Wash Common resident Peter Norman asked: “Does the council accept that poor air quality as a result of road pollution is a major killer in this country and a significant factor in the rise of respiratory diseases in our youngsters?”

To which the portfolio holder for community resilience and partnerships, Marcus Franks (Con, Speen), answered: “In line with the most recent briefing for directors of public health, which was in March 2017, the evidence base for linking long-term exposure of everyday air pollutants over several years contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and respiratory disease.

“It also states that there is a disproportionate impact on the young, the old, the sick and the poor.

“Adding to this, recent reports from both Defra and Public Health England do highlight the link between air pollution and road traffic, as you highlighted in your question.”

Mr Norman responded by asking whether the council was concerned about building a new proposed junction into Cheap Street.

He added: “In addition, the new junction at Fleming Road, which is directly opposite a skate park and a child’s playground, has no screening against it whatsoever.

“So is this a detrimental step, in terms of our managing air quality locally?’’

Mr Franks replied: “In my mind, the improvements to the A339 that are out for consultation at the minute, should go towards, certainly in the short term, helping the air quality at the junction you mentioned because most of it is down to sitting traffic.

“If that traffic is moving it is actually easing the issue.

“There are other things I think we can look at and can bring in, along with colleagues across highways, transport and public health.”

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Article comments

  • Basher

    17/06/2017 - 14:02

    We have lived in Newbury for 32 years and have experienced a gradual increase in pollution and associated respiratory discomfort. The arrival of Sainsburys and the widely detested roundabout seemed to be one of the contributing factors. Dread to think how much worse things will become when the developers have choked us with their multitude of new buildings. One thing that is a persistent irritant is the early summer month-long onslaught of tiny white fluffy seed pods which start from the banks of the Lambourne and cover a wide residential area. We understand this has been the subject of complaints in previous years which the Council has ignored.


  • Tricky

    17/06/2017 - 11:11

    I think a lot of the traffic passing through heading north has come off the A34 at the junction labelled NEWBURY, not realising it's Newbury south, and there's another junction further along for Newbury north. Just highlighting this on the A34 could reduce the volume of traffic coming north along the through Newbury. That and highlighting at the roundabout where the A339 from Basingstoke turns right towards Newbury, hat turning left and joining the A34 is the fastest route to the M3 and M4.


  • Spikey71

    17/06/2017 - 10:10

    How will it improve pollution. Take action on lorries that come through newbury on a339 towards Basingstoke to get on to the m3. Fill in the roundabout at sainsburys and place it with filter system. The congestion in the area is down to the roundabouts and these lorries using newbury as a rat run instead of using the a34. Stop and listen to people wbc,


  • Racegoer

    16/06/2017 - 17:05

    The Council proposals are just short term sticking plaster. Get the trough traffic off the A339. A road linking Vodaphone roundabout to A4 then east of the racecourse to link with the A339 past Greenham Common would do this.


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