New roundabout at busy junction 'could cut pollution'
A HANHAM parish councillor believes a roundabout at the junction of the High Street, Whittucks Road and Highfield Avenue could help reduce pollution levels.
Bernard Jackson says he gets many calls from people concerned about toxic fumes affecting their health.
Mr Jackson, from Hanham Parish Council, says residents also find it difficult to drive in and out of their homes because traffic is so congested.
He now hopes South Gloucestershire Council will carry out a feasibility study and is meeting transport bosses to discuss the project.
Mr Jackson said: “I came up with the idea because of the number of complaints I receive from people in Hanham High Street and Stonehill about vehicles sitting outside their homes for quite a long time with their engines idling.
“No one wants to give way, especially at early evening rush hour. One lady said she's washed her nets about four times in a month because of the soot and deposits.
“Traffic needs to keep on the move. At about 5pm the queue at the lights will be back along the Blue Bowl right up past the Butcher's Arms in Longwell Green.
“Pollution is a big issue with Bristol looking to ban diesel cars in the centre so this is a spin-off of that.”
Mr Jackson said the other roundabout at the bottom of Bryant's Hill near the new retirement flats is evidence the scheme would be worth investigating.
“Traffic seems to flow well there. The roundabout keeps traffic on the move. Admittedly it seems to be the pelican lights through Hanham which cause most of the problems with that roundabout.”
He believes his suggestion is at least logistically possible.
“There's enough room there to easily put a roundabout in. Plus you also have wide pavements there. It will need pelican lights on all the junctions off the roundabout so people can cross the roads safely. There has to be a feasibility study on it to see if it's possible and affordable for the council to do.
“This is just an idea at the moment; there is nothing set in stone. Even if it was decided tonight it would probably be another four or five years before it was finished. By then we might all be driving around in electric cars anyway!”
Mr Jackson was due to meet council officers as the Voice went to print.
“It's a case of watch this space and I'll see what they can come up with. They will have to look at the flow of traffic and get the counters out before they can decide if it's feasible but there will be money for schemes that will cut down pollution.”
Resident Claire Swift said the road traffic on Stonehill has been a long standing concern, exacerbated by the retail development in Longwell Green.
“Some years ago we attended a public meeting where concerns over the impact of the retail units and leisure facilities were raised. Unfortunately the success of both of these has impacted on the traffic volumes we now see.
“Having been a resident for over 20 years, the recent increase is significant and the idling of engines outside our home on average for two hours a day, mostly early evening, is a problem and one we would like to see addressed. Ironically the traffic clears once past the Blue Bowl.
“Maybe the light sequencing needs to be adjusted here for certain periods of the day?
"I’m not convinced a roundabout would achieve a freer flow of traffic but a review of the safety and flow of traffic along Stonehill is certainly long overdue.
“I'm not totally against Cllr Jackson's idea, I'm glad someone else thinks it’s an issue, just not sure a roundabout will be effective. Surely a review of lights would be cheaper and quicker to do?”
Mr Jackson's idea comes as new research suggests air pollution contributes to the premature death of five Bristolians every week.
The latest study, carried out by a team from King’s College London, looked at the effect of the two most harmful forms of air pollution – nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM2.5 – in neighbouring Bristol.
PM2.5 are tiny particles released mainly by wood smoke, coal burning, and industrial combustion. They can lodge in people’s lungs and cause very serious health conditions.
In cities, NO2 comes mainly from older polluting vehicles.
The researchers found that, together, high levels of PM2.5 and NO2 contribute to up to 260 premature deaths each year in Bristol, according to the report, which was released on November 18.
The research has been welcomed by Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, saying it supports the authority's plans to ban diesel vehicles from a central zone.
The latest draft report on air quality in South Gloucestershire, which is subject to Defra approval, says the main air pollutant of concern is nitrogen dioxide which mostly arises from road traffic.
The report highlights areas of concern in South Gloucestershire which include the Hambrook junction, Staple Hill, Kingswood and Cribbs Causeway but does not mention Hanham.