Air pollution concerns near controversial St Leonards road

Protestors from the Combe Haven Defenders at the Queensway Gateway road site SUS-150727-101630001
Protestors from the Combe Haven Defenders at the Queensway Gateway road site SUS-150727-101630001

Air pollution monitoring carried out by campaigners revealed a potential breach of EU limits at a controversial proposed road in St Leonards.

Combe Haven Defenders’ (CHD) diffusion tube monitoring raised concerns that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels are already above the legal limit before the Queensway Gateway road (QGR) is built.

Combe Haven Defenders put up air monitoring equipment near proposed Queensway Gateway road junction SUS-160209-114752001

Combe Haven Defenders put up air monitoring equipment near proposed Queensway Gateway road junction SUS-160209-114752001

Developers Sea Change Sussex dismissed the concerns saying its extensive assessments proved there will be no impact on residents and outweighs the campaigners’ ‘brief’ tests.

CHD has launched a petition calling on Hastings Borough Council to delay the QGR for six months to allow a full programme of air pollution monitoring.

“Our monitoring suggests that air pollution around the site of the proposed Queensway Gateway road is already well over the legal limit, and building the road can only make matters worse,” CHD spokesman Andrea Needham said.

“This is an extremely serious matter – air pollution kills 40,000 people a year in the UK – and we’re calling on Hastings Borough Council to monitor the situation, and to call a halt to any further construction work in the meantime.”

The QGR was approved for the second time in December having been quashed by a legal challenge over unlawful levels of air pollution in June, 2015.

CHD’s monitoring, done with Network for Clean Air, found a level of NO2 of 48.4μg/m3 at the proposed junction on Sedlescombe Road North – the EU mean annual limit is 40μg/m3.

Documents submitted by developer Sea Change appear to show that, if built, the QGR would channel around 10,000 extra vehicles past the spot where monitoring took place – an increase of 50 per cent on current traffic levels.

A Sea Change spokesman said: “We commissioned extensive technical assessments of local air quality in predicting the impact the QGR will have, and this conclusively showed there will be no notable adverse impact on local people.

“Our analysis was undertaken by technical experts and focussed on local residential properties where air quality effects are most important.

“Our assessment was based on robust, long term monitoring data conforming to rigorous national standards.

“Opponents of the scheme had plenty of opportunity to dispute this analysis when we submitted our planning application but they did not – and a few brief air tests by them now come nowhere close to the depth of analysis we undertook.

“Nor do they appear to have made any attempt to assess air quality where people actually live, which is vital for any air quality assessment.

“Local people are crying out for the Queensway Gateway road to be developed as soon as possible for the huge positive benefits it will bring in reducing congestion and improving local journeys – and the last thing they want is any further delays caused by a tiny number of protestors.”

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