Air pollution areas set to be extended taking in hundreds of homes

HUNDREDS of homes in Fareham close to the A32 are facing high levels of air pollution.

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:56 am
The A32 Gosport Road before its junction with Newgate Lane in Fareham

There is already an ‘air quality management area’ along a stretch of Gosport Road in Fareham.

But many more homes could be included in it following new pollution readings in the area.

Fareham Borough Council is considering extending its two existing AQMAs to take in a further 310 homes.

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The AQMA currently covers Gosport Road from Fareham Baptist New Life Church to the entrance to Salterns Lane and a cluster of houses off Portland Street.

But the council’s annual status report of its air quality found that legal levels of nitrogen dioxide (40ug/m3) – which is the limit set by the European Commission for levels of nitrogen dioxide – were breached at 19 further locations.

In response to the breaches, a council report suggests the AQMAs be extended with the Gosport Road AQMA set to be expanded northbound to the Quay Street Roundabout and two properties in Hartlands Road would be added to the Portland Street AQMA.

Rita Wakefield, of Gosport Road added: ‘I don’t tend to really think about the factor of air pollution although I knew that it was being monitored.

‘In my opinion, I think we need more greenery around here as more trees could clear the air a bit and it could really calm the situation down.’

Peter Cresswell, also of Gosport Road said: ‘I think air pollution is always going to be a problem when you have houses by main roads as you can’t really change the roads or stop the cars coming.

Councillor Roger Price, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: ‘The area around Gosport Road is notorious for being clogged up at all times of the day.

‘How you control air pollution on that road is a big problem and there are honestly not many answers.’

The report says road improvements in the area such as the forthcoming Stubbington bypass and Newgate Lane south routes as well as the dualling of the A27 between Segensworth and Fareham are hoped to ease congestion on the A32.

Cllr Price added: ‘I think we face a problem here in that I can see most drivers continuing to use the A32 to get in and out of Gosport as despite these planned road improvements, it’s likely the other routes will also become congested.’

Councillors debated the extending of the AQMAs during a meeting of the Public Protection Policy Development and Review Panel when Councillor Jack Englefield called for funding to be invested in bringing more school bus routes to the borough.

He said: ‘When the schools are on holiday you notice such a genuine difference in the numbers of cars on the road.

‘There’s a lot of children that could walk to school rather than be driven.

‘I think it would make common sense to bring forward a system where more kids are getting buses to school and getting rid of so many cars on our roads.’

Councillor Peter Davies agreed with Cllr Englefield and pointed towards the dangers of people ingesting particles found in nitrogen dioxide, calling them ‘very dangerous’ and saying ‘something has to be done about it.’