Construction set to start on scheme to reduce people’s exposure to air pollution
Changes to a pedestrian and cycle route in Basildon will tackle local air quality issue.
Works are set to get underway next month on a scheme to reduce people’s exposure to air pollution in an area of Basildon.
It comes after the Government directed Essex County Council and Basildon Borough Council to address an area of the A132 East Mayne which was identified as exceeding legal limits for nitrogen dioxide - a harmful gas caused by vehicle emissions.
Having considered a number of options, a scheme was developed which will move the existing shared pedestrian and cycle route on East Mayne to reduce people’s exposure to air pollution in the worst affected area.
The proposals have now been approved by the Government and works are due to start from Monday 1 November. Works are scheduled to take 15 weeks and will mainly be carried out overnight to minimise disruption.
Overnight lane closures will be in place for the safety of workers and the public, with restrictions removed at the end of each shift to allow all lanes to remain open during the day. Some full overnight closures will also be required. Once confirmed, details will be made available online, including any planned diversion routes. Temporary signalised crossings will be installed on East Mayne to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists can cross East Mayne safely throughout the works.
Cllr Lee Scott, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said: “There was significant concern about a potential charging clean air zone in Basildon and we were determined to develop a more proportionate solution.
“I am delighted we are now in a position to deliver a more balanced scheme which will reduce people’s exposure to air pollution. This will allow us to achieve compliance with legal air quality limits as quickly as possible, as required by law, while avoiding having such a detrimental impact on residents and businesses.
“We know more must be done to address the causes of air pollution and are working together with Basildon Borough Council on a number of other projects and initiatives to encourage people to use more sustainable modes of transport. These include cycle route improvements, an e-scooter trial, the installation of electric vehicle charging points in the borough and planned sustainable transport measures in Wickford through our Active Travel Essex programme.
“We can all do our bit to help improve the air we breathe by swapping some journeys to cycling, walking or public transport, especially for shorter trips currently made by car.”
Cllr Craig Rimmer, Basildon Council’s Chairman of the Leisure and Environment Committee, said: “This is a far better scheme than a charging clean air zone and will allow us to reduce the impact of air pollution on our residents in this area.
“Schemes like this are important, alongside initiatives to encourage people to walk and cycle more as opposed to starting up the car.
“We are also working hard as an authority to become a carbon net-zero council by 2030 and for the borough to achieve this status by 2050.”
Find out more information about the project, details of the planned works and any scheduled road closures or restrictions.