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Work to start next week to move Great Barton crossing to combat air pollution

A puffin crossing on a busy route through a village near Bury St Edmunds is to be moved to combat high levels of pollution.

Buildings and trees in and around the crossing in The Street, Great Barton, have created a ‘canyon effect’ which prevents air pollution from dispersing.

Following a consultation with residents, Suffolk County Council will relocate the crossing further up The Street outside the Church Institute Hall and the works, lasting five weeks, will start on Monday, September 23.

The Street, Great Barton. Picture: Google
The Street, Great Barton. Picture: Google

West Suffolk was awarded £98,000 for the air quality improvement scheme from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Cllr Andy Drummond, cabinet member for regulatory at West Suffolk Council, said the authority has a ‘statutory duty to monitor air quality throughout the district’ and works to find solutions in areas where air quality levels are breached.

“In this case we identified that the issue could be alleviated simply by moving the pedestrian crossing to a less built up area where any pollutants could naturally disperse,” he said.

“We have been very careful not to simply move the problem from one location to another and we welcome the work being carried out by Suffolk County Council.”

The £98,000 has gone towards the crossing, monitoring equipment, refining of the modelling for the scheme and research into other potential air quality schemes in West Suffolk.

Cllr Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member responsible for roads, transport and rural affairs, said: "Additional funding is extremely helpful and welcomed to undertake these improvements to the Suffolk Highways network and I am pleased that the money is being used to improve the air quality in this area of Great Barton.

"I hope that we can continue to receive these funds to complete crucial works to improve air quality, as part of the Suffolk County Council carbon neutral by 2030 action plan."

A stretch of The Street was declared an air quality management area due to the high levels of pollution impacting a terrace of cottages including the Post Office.

During the last week of works from October 21, there will be an overnight road closure.

Following concerns raised about the lack of footpaths on the east side of School Road, next to The Street and on the eastern side of East Barton Road, footpaths will be improved and extended during the five weeks.

Temporary traffic signals will be used during the works and will be manually controlled at peak times, if they are needed, to minimise disruption.

The need for a bypass or improvements to the Bunbury Arms junction was highlighted by a number of people. The county council says a bypass is ‘beyond the scope’ of the work and consultation but funding has been allocated for the junction and ‘improvements will be delivered in due course’.

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