LETTER: Absolutely fuming over pollution

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It’s good to see our MP and county councillor responding so vigorously to the latest DEFRA figures which reveal the appalling level of pollution in Storrington (County Times, 20 March).

But, in the words of baseball maestro Yogi Berra, isn’t this just ‘déjà vu all over again’?

Residents already know that despite all the data gathering, report commissioning, action plan development and general hand-wringing Storrington’s traffic and pollution levels are indeed, as councillor Circus says, a local and national disgrace. The Storrington draft air quality action plan tells us that in 2010 automatic traffic counters on West Street recorded an annual average daily traffic flow (AADT) of 17,249 vehicles: almost 6.3 million per annum.

But as DEFRA and the European Commission have re-concentrated our minds, let’s ask some simple questions in the hope of getting some straightforward answers.

First, Nick Herbert again refers to the importance of the proposed Arundel by-pass to ‘stop rat-running through the Downs.’ But when does he believe work might start on this important project? Within five years? Has funding been allocated for it?

Second, your report quotes him as saying: ‘And we cannot allow continued development, just increasing the traffic and pollution levels, while this problem persists.’ Is this merely a cri de coeur, or does he have a cunning plan to stop developers banging in planning applications for the Storrington area?

I ask because when Save Our Storrington – backed by a petition bearing 1,347 signatures – called on the county council to defer responding formally to significant planning applications until a remedial village traffic management plan had been implemented, we were told such a deferral would be unlawful.

Third, the air quality action plan has been a work in progress for a considerable time. When are we going to see the result of all the time and effort that’s been put into it? And by ‘result’ I mean action leading to a reduction in traffic and pollution levels.

These things aren’t easy. But we really don’t need our elected representatives to indulge in a bout of collective breast-beating to tell us what we already know.

We need action. Nothing else will do.

Peter Westrip

Chairman, Save Our Storrington, Nightingale Close, Storrington