Grampound air quality: further monitoring proposed by school playground
The public drop-in session was held in Grampound Village Hall on 8 March. A few dozen local residents came and expressed their views to the Council officers.
The parish council has considered the matter and has made the following submission to Cornwall Council:
"Members make the following response to the Air Quality monitoring report:
• We would be opposed to any move towards making Grampound an Urban Clearway or adding more double yellow lines. We feel strongly and our community feels strongly about the closeness of traffic to pedestrians and houses and the great speed of many vehicles including large trucks.
• We feel that traffic numbers are too high in Grampound. It sometimes takes a long wait to cross the road whilst a multitude of vehicles pass in both directions. We feel like a village divided by a busy A390. We have blind members of our community, and a primary school, and traffic volume and speed is a great concern expressed in surveys previously shared with Highways. We would prefer a 20 mph zone through Grampound or, failing that, an average speed camera 30 mph enforced zone.
• We are not surprised that air quality is poor in Grampound and alarmed at the air quality measurements especially given the closeness of houses to the road and the school. In the UK 40,000 deaths per year are attributable to exposure to outside air pollution. As the RCP and RCPCH report said in February 2016 "Local authorities need to act to protect public health when air pollution levels are high. When these limits are exceeded, local authorities must have the power to close or divert roads to reduce the volume of traffic, especially near schools."
• Fore Street is designated a 'strategic freight route'. Our Cornwall Council member is investigating the implications of this but we feel it may be something that Cornwall Council could influence. The routes taken by large delivery vehicles through Cornwall should be better managed to avoid small villages - especially given the improvements to road infrastructure such as the A30.
• All vehicles and vehicle contracts under Cornwall Council's control that travel through AQMAs should be reviewed to see if they are absolutely necessary journeys and if they are then at the very least the vehicles updated to electric or very low emission engines.
• Members would like a bypass investigated."
As your Cornwall Councillor, I made the following response to the consultation:
"My response to the consultation on air quality in Grampound is as follows.
1) School playground. Whilst it is likely that the air quality at the school is not as bad as at locations further up Fore Street, the children in the playground will be exposed to traffic fumes for long periods each day - break times and lunchtimes. I would ask that CC carries out monitoring of air quality within the playground over a period of several months. If readings are, in any way, raised from the normal background levels, could we please consider erecting screening along the boundary of the playground with the road, e.g. clear perspex screens to a height of, say, 5 metres. Then we should monitor air quality again after installation. The cost of this exercise would be relatively modest in comparison with any other traffic measures being considered.
2) Bypass. There is some support within the village for a bypass in order to lower significantly the emissions from through traffic. I am not sure if this support extends to a majority of the residents as there is a counter concern about the impact on the viability and vitality of some aspects of village life such as the shop, the pub etc. The other problem is the very high capital cost of a bypass because of the topography. One lower cost option that may be worth considering is a one-way bypass for eastbound traffic only. It is likely that the majority of emissions are caused by eastbound traffic as the vehicles are under heavy load going up the hill. Vehicles travelling westbound are, to a great extent, freewheeling and emissions from these vehicles are likely to be significantly lower. A one-way bypass would be much cheaper to construct because, a) narrower carriageway required, b) there would be no need for expensive junctions at each end of the bypass as there would be no need to cater for traffic flows crossing each other - a simple slip road at each end would suffice. We may also be able to manage with just simple ground level junctions where the new road would cross the two unclassified roads - no need for expensive bridges. There could be a 40 mph speed limit imposed from day one on such a road. There would still be a large cost to the river crossing. See attached a very simplistic plan of where the road might be constructed. Fore Street would remain as a two way road for local traffic, buses etc. I appreciate that this is probably a long shot, but I thought that it would be worth mentioning as an option."
Subsequently, the Council officers have agreed to carry out monitoring of the air quality at the school playground. A diffusion tube will be installed on the fence adjoining the playground before the end of April and readings of pollution levels will be collated over the next several months.