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Highways England ‘Not Clear’ Why Guildford Is Air Quality Hotspot

Published on: 28 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 28 Jul, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

Highways England (HE) have admitted they are “not clear exactly why [the A3 through Guildford] has higher levels of NO2 than other areas”. The statement follows the revelation this week that the A3 through Guildford has the highest level of NO2 pollution in the country.

See also: A3 Guildford Pollution Worst In England, GBC Leader Blames Infrastructure Deficit.

Nicola Bell, HE’s regional director for the South East, said: “We are committed to improving air quality around our network as quickly as possible and are working hard to find and develop innovative solutions to improve air quality now rather than simply waiting for levels to reduce naturally over time.”

She said reducing the number of diesel vehicles using the A3 would help to reduce NO2 levels but other than 9.5-metre tall air quality barriers, which the HE reports says would give less than a 10% reduction in pollution levels, and local traffic management interventions, she did not say what innovative solutions were being considered.

NO2 levels were falling as people switched to newer cars and she added: “The long-term solution is to move to cleaner, low and zero tailpipe emission vehicles.”

The HE announcement showed levels of 89 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air) in 2020 on the A3 through Guildford. The Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 require that the annual mean concentration of NO2 must not exceed 40 μg/m3.

The Dragon has requested a copy of the GBC feasibility study, carried out on behalf of HE, into traffic management options and the 9.5m high barrier option.

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Responses to Highways England ‘Not Clear’ Why Guildford Is Air Quality Hotspot

  1. David Wragg Reply

    July 28, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    The A3 has become busier than ever. In addition to normal traffic growth, the fact that Portsmouth has become a cross-Channel ferry port has added extra heavy haulage traffic.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    August 1, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    It seems obvious that reducing the lanes from three to two will naturally cause cars and lorries to slow down. Add to this the traffic jams on roads, carrying cars coming out of Guildford, joining the A3 at the pinch points, or vehicles leaving at congested exits and the reason for the pollution is staring you in the face.

    Only by widening the A3 to three lanes either side of The Wooden Bridge for a quarter of a mile, not possible without demolishing houses, or building a tunnel, can this problem ever be solved.

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