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Letter: Urgent Action Must Be Taken to Tackle Pollution Problem

Published on: 26 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 25 Jul, 2021

From: Ramsey Nagaty

Leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group

In response to: The Dragon Says: Too Many People, Too Many Cars – No Wonder We Have the Worst Pollution

This Dragon comment hits the nail on the head and reading it I concurred with many of the points raised.

Any solution is perhaps hard to define and harder still to deliver. But action is needed; it is not enough to simply declare a Climate Emergency.

Two actions that should be considered are:

  • A Clean Air Zone with charging and/or restrictions for cars and lorries using the A3 through Guildford. (I appreciate this could add to more use of local roads so causing additional problems.)
  • Increase of freight by rail from the southern ports north to Heathrow and Birmingham so reducing the number of freight lorries.

An A3  tunnel would take some six years of design, survey, consultations and take over ten years more to construct, according to information from Highways England. It would be some five times as long as the Hindhead tunnel.

Furthermore, the benefits easily identified with the Hindhead Tunnel are not so obvious for Guildford with requirements for additional land for junctions, road alignments as well as the problems of removal and disposal of extracted earth and materials.

Cleaner vehicles and “Modal Shift” will not arrive overnight. Meanwhile, Guildford residents suffer worsening air pollution, traffic congestion and delays.

We need a moratorium on developments that add to traffic on the A3 and neighbouring roads until real solutions are available and provided. This is maybe the only solution to ensure we do not increase the harm to the health of residents and reach total gridlock.

We cannot allow fudged infrastructure and transport studies to be used to accommodate more development.

A serious, fresh approach to the Local Plan needs to start without delay, now that takes on board the real population growth figures, correcting the 2014 Office of National Statistics figures and correctly applying constraints relating to infrastructure, flooding and green belt with more brownfield town centre development less dependent on cars which will also help regenerate the High Street.

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Responses to Letter: Urgent Action Must Be Taken to Tackle Pollution Problem

  1. Mark Bray-Parry Reply

    July 26, 2021 at 8:55 am

    I agree with Cllr Nagaty. I am pleased to see he supports a clean air zone as I suggested in the original article. It is important this extends to include surrounding roads so HGVs do not move to local roads but are diverted to the M23 and M3.

    I also support a modal shift to electrified rail freight. It is by far the cleanest way to transport goods. However, limited capacity on existing lines would mean a new rail line through the Surrey green belt. Would Guildford Greenbelt Group support this?

    Mark Bray-Parry is a spokesperson for The Green Party.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    July 28, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Ramsey Nagaty makes so much sense.

    It is criminal that we are still seeing large developments approved by GBC. They will be responsible if they do not put an immediate halt to unwanted, and unneeded development. Having declared a climate emergency, the council just approved another 139 new homes in West Horsley.

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