Scheme to tackle Storrington air pollution problems abandoned

JPCT 210514 S14210722x Storrington. Low Emission Zone signage -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140521-122125001
JPCT 210514 S14210722x Storrington. Low Emission Zone signage -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140521-122125001

A scheme aimed at combatting air pollution problems in Storrington has been abandoned.

Horsham District Council has revealed its air quality trial has ended, concluding that a low emission zone ‘will not be possible in this rural location’.

The low emission zone was one of the measures identified in the Storrington Air Quality Action Plan to address the poor air quality in parts of the village. This was the favoured option following a public consultation on the action plan measures.

At its launch in May 2014, the trial was heralded as ‘a very positive step towards achieving the objective of reducing the air pollution in Storrington’ by then-cabinet member councillor Sue Rogers.

But the trial was beset by data problems.

Yesterday (Wednesday August 3) Chairman of the Storrington Air quality Section Plan Steering Group, Philip Circus, who is both a district and county councillor, said: “There has been much work put in to finding a solution to this very challenging problem and we have been pressing the Government to address this at a national level, particularly with improvements to the A27.

“We are currently assessing the feasibility of other traffic improvement measures to improve traffic flows and therefore reduce pollution in Storrington.”

The low emission zone trial was undertaken in partnership with Siemens UK using their Greenzone low emission zone solution. The system uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to identify the age, type and ‘Euro’ class of vehicles. This was said to be an innovative approach to tackling the air quality problem in the rural setting of Storrington, as such solutions have previously only been tried in urban centres.

A statement from Horsham District Council said: “Unfortunately the trial experienced a series of data problems that could not be resolved relating to mobile phone signal problems and also because of limitations in the ANPR technology meaning that data could not be adequately captured.

“Horsham District Council continues to monitor air quality throughout the Storrington air quality management area and the good news is that the levels of nitrogen dioxide have shown an overall downward trend for the majority of the monitoring sites in Storrington.

“Storrington was declared an Air Quality Management Area in December 2010 following measured excesses in the levels of nitrogen dioxide at residential locations in the village.

“Other air quality improvement schemes are being explored by the Storrington Air Quality Action Plan Steering Group. The air pollution in Storrington is predominantly traffic related so it has been important for Horsham District Council to work in partnership with West Sussex County Council as they are the highway authority. Both organisations together with Storrington and Sullington Parish Council have representatives on the Steering Group.

“The action plan includes a range of measures, both district wide and Storrington specific, many of which were presented at a public consultation event held in Mill Square in February 2013 at which some 1500 people attended. It has been necessary to consider action plan measures in the context of their likely impact on air quality, their deliverability and their value for money.

“The Steering Group is continuing to explore solutions to reduce traffic related pollution.”

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