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Letter: Stop Further Development Until Congestion And Air Pollution Is Solved

Published on: 4 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 5 Sep, 2021

From: Niels Laub

Highways England [now called National Highways] have conducted a series of pollution surveys on the strategic road network. These show that that pollution on the A3 as it passes through Guildford and Burpham appears to be the highest in the country by some margin and twice the median level of the 30 worst places.

Moreover, Transport for the South East have already identified that the A3 through Guildford is a major issue.

They state in their strategy document that “The A3 trunk road contributes to poor air quality and noise in these areas. This has the potential to undermine the health and wellbeing of the people served by this corridor. This corridor suffers from significant congestion around Guildford.”

According to an article in the Times, recent studies have concluded that air pollution may be causing premature deaths even where it meets current air quality guidelines.

Researchers said that the results added to evidence that standards were insufficient and needed to be revised. A team from Utrecht University in the Netherlands have found evidence of higher death rates even at levels below the current European and North American standards and WHO guidelines.

Couple this with the fact that National Highways no longer has any plans to improve or upgrade the A3 as it runs through Guildford and therefore alleviate any traffic congestion.

It would seem to me to present a very strong argument indeed against any further development at Blackwell Farm and Gosden Hill Farm, which not only depended on improvements to the A3, but will undoubtedly only add to the levels of congestion and pollution on the A3 if they were to go ahead.

See A3 Guildford Pollution Worst In England, GBC Leader Blames ‘Infrastructure Deficit’.

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test 7 Responses to Letter: Stop Further Development Until Congestion And Air Pollution Is Solved

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    September 5, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    Is it not time, like UK Network Power’s announcement of £600 million investment in electrical infrastructure, that National Highways (how much did the re-branding cost us?) while stopping the use of sticking plaster remedies on the A3, makes a sensible and clear public statement of intended plans for the road between the A247 and Compton? Improving the M25/A3 Junction 10 while ignoring the main blockage between it and the Hindhead Tunnel seems rather a rash position to take.

    I note Surrey County Council’s Transport Plan, at 3.11.2, clearly state there will be no increase in road capacity “because it increases traffic” but ignores the National Highways statement of an expected 20% increase in journeys – matching the extra houses planned.

    Where do we go from here? Will we get more of the same contradiction, prevarication and dilatory action?

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 8, 2021 at 6:49 am

    It is self evident to all but GBC’s officers and lead councillors that a moratorium on development is vital for the health of residents.

    Why are they so blind?

    • Stuart Barnes Reply

      September 10, 2021 at 3:02 pm

      An excellent question from Mr Cranwell.

      Perhaps a real Conservative government would be a start. Boris must go and a Conservative put in his place.

  3. Dave Middleton Reply

    September 8, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    It’s all very well to make sweeping demands to stop development, but unless we stop increasing our local population by procreation, immigration and increasing numbers of students, pray tell where are these people to be housed? Tented villages in our public parks perhaps?

    • David Roberts Reply

      September 9, 2021 at 3:45 pm

      Guildford’s population is barely projected to grow in the next decade or so.

  4. Dave Middleton Reply

    September 10, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    David Roberts’ reply above, asserts that the local population is barely projected to grow over the next ten years or so.

    Really?

    Then pray tell, why are hundreds, if not a couple of thousand, new student rooms being built on Walnut Tree Close and proposed for the Portsmouth Road “Guildford Plaza” (National Grid Building) site?

    Along with all the new flats being built by the rail station as we speak, plus of course another few hundred in the “Great Wall of Guildford” at the station itself?

    In addition, all those new houses being built alongside the Aldershot Road at Normandy next to Sylvester’s Garage and the new housing estate, off Keen’s Lane at Pitch Place on the Stoughton/Worplesdon border?

    Plus the estate at “Wildflower Meadow” at Ash by the rail station and all the other small infill builds, going on all over the borough?

    Have the all those developers got it totally wrong and will these dwelling all be left empty, gathering dust for decades? I doubt it.

  5. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    September 13, 2021 at 8:28 am

    National Highways needs to carefully re-evaluate its Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2): 2020 to 2025 programme. The point about ignoring congestion on the A3 between the Hindhead Tunnel and the M25, as mentioned by Jim Allen, is baffling.

    As Niels Laub has mentioned, “Highways England (now called National Highways) have conducted a series of pollution surveys on the strategic road network. These show that that pollution on the A3 as it passes through Guildford and Burpham appears to be the highest in the country by some margin and twice the median level of the 30 worst places.”

    This should ring alarm bells in the Department for Transport. Perhaps the new National Highways Chief, Mr Nick Harris, would review the case for the widening of the A3 through Guildford as a matter of urgency?

    Another point is about the Option chosen for the M25 J10 improvement. I believe there is an alternative layout that is safer by virtue of not mixing the M25 off-slip traffic with the on-slip traffic from the A3. This would also be mostly be off-line construction, much reduced traffic management and most likely a lower impact environmentally but above all a saving of some £50m!

    A schematic diagram showing my suggestion is in the link:
    https://tinyurl.com/M25-J10-Option

    Earlier in May I wrote to Highways England and got a reply that it was rather too late to consider such a radical option using tunnels and they were hoping to get Development Consent Order for their scheme from the Secretary of State in November.

    I would like to be proven wrong but to throw away the opportunity to explore and possibly save £50 million in these times of funding shortage should not be treated lightly when the A3 widening has been shelved for the third time due to reallocation of funding.

    Obviously my claim is rather radical but Highways England did not reject my idea as impractical or a solution that would not save any sizable amount of money.

    Further development at Blackwell Farm and Gosden Hill Farm would obviously add to the current congestion and pollution, so it is doubly important to address the A3 improvement. I gather the councils are planning to discuss the widening possibilities with National Highways.

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