No magic bullet for village’s problem

Thank you to Horsham district council and all those who contributed to the recent reports and public exhibition on Storrington’s air quality and traffic.

It is good to see these serious problems being given the attention they so urgently need.

Save Our Storrington will soon be giving a full response to the consultation process. We hope as many local residents as possible will also make their views known. In the meantime, however, it is worth making a few preliminary observations.

The problems of traffic and poor air quality have become progressively worse over the years. But if recent reports and the public exhibition tell us anything it is that there is no magic bullet. It will take a combination of measures, any one of which would be controversial, to produce a meaningful reduction in air pollution.

In other words, it will take leadership, iron determination and probably a lorry-load of cash to achieve a better, healthier village environment. For even though no one sets out to pollute our air, drivers of HGVs and other vehicles will continue to take the shortest route to their destination until they are prevented from doing so. It is not a question of morality. It is simply human nature.

And then there is the elephant in the room. HDC’s public health and licensing department asserts that the cumulative impact on traffic and air quality of all planned developments in Storrington and surrounding areas must be carefully assessed, even those whose individual impact may have been calculated as ‘”negligible”. Yet well over 300 dwellings have recently been approved for construction in the local area. Other applications are in the pipeline. It is fanciful to suppose that these dwellings will be populated by enclaves of cyclists and walkers. Most new residents will have cars. And they will help to fill the much-enlarged Waitrose car park.

Reports and action plans can identify problems and suggest solutions. But it is up to those who have sought and gained power – our district and county councillors – to take the action necessary to improve our environment. And that means all councillors – not just those who represent the Storrington area. Everyone must pull together.

It will not be easy. But the prospective prize is valuable beyond measure: a downland village that isn’t dominated by traffic. Then we can all breathe more easily!

Peter Westrip

Chairman,

Save Our Storrington