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Residents called to give views on Swaffham's pollution problem

PUBLISHED: 15:03 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:24 04 January 2018

Swaffham town centre. Picture: Ian Burt

Swaffham town centre. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

People in Swaffham are being asked to give their views on numerous draft proposals which aim to improve air quality in the town.

Residents previously conducted their own traffic research to analyse car pollution in the town centre. Photo: Denise BradleyResidents previously conducted their own traffic research to analyse car pollution in the town centre. Photo: Denise Bradley

Breckland Council hopes that residents and businesses can help them find the best way to tackle Swaffham’s high pollution levels with a consultation that will start with a launch event on January 12.

The scheme comes after part of the town centre was declared an Air Quality Management Area in May 2017, which means that the air quality in the area does not meet the Government’s annual targets.

Since then, a draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) has been developed, proposing a range of measures which could be implemented.

These include changes to road layouts, encouraging cycling and car-share, education in schools and considering air quality impacts when determining planning applications.

Breckland councillor Alison Webb said: “We want to hear the views of local people and tap into their knowledge to make sure that nothing important has been missed.

“Air quality is an issue for many towns and cities nationally and there is no quick fix. It’s likely that in Swaffham improvements will be achieved through implementing a number of measures over a long period of time.

“Some may take many years to put in place, while others can be implemented more quickly. Whether it’s improving traffic flow, sharing car journeys, or making greater use of walking, cycling and public transport, both organisations and individuals can help to make a difference.”

The proposals are likely to be welcomed by Swaffham residents but questions may be raised about which of the measures, if any, will reduce the volume of HGVs travelling through the centre of the town.

The number of heavy vehicles has been highlighted as a major contributor to the pollution levels and in October residents conducted their own traffic survey hoping that it will provide data to illustrates the problem.

The consultation begins at 9am on January 12 at the Swaffham Assembly Rooms. More information and a link to the online survey will be on the Breckland Council website on January 12.

What do you think about Swaffham’s air quality problem? Let us know by emailing steve.shaw@archant.co.uk

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