SEFTON Council chiefs say they will continue exploring ways to reduce air pollution along the A5036 following the recent protest outside Bootle Town Hall.
The Champion reported how residents of the Church Road area felt the council was concentrating too much on objecting to plans to build a road through Rimrose Valley Country Park.
The group believe this is the only option to ease traffic on the busy A5036 Dunningsbridge Road, claiming calls from the council for a tunnel option is “unrealistic” and will never be taken seriously by Highways England who are behind the proposals.
Sefton Council leader Cllr Maher insists their concerns are being heard and they are taking measures to deal with air pollution across the borough.
He told the Champion: “We have listened to the Church Road residents, just as we have listened to groups such as the Save Rimrose Valley and many other residents who are worried over what is ultimately a no-win situation for anyone in this area because the only option we are presented with by Highways England will pollute our air regardless.
“I completely understand that nobody wants to suffer the effects of traffic pollution and that’s why we fought so hard to try and get Highways England to consult on a proposal to re-consult and include a tunnel option to ease traffic on the A5036.
“We may have lost our legal battle over this but we’re not prepared to stand by and suffer the impact of poor air quality issues.
“Air quality across the majority of the borough is of a good standard, but two areas have been declared Air Quality Management Areas along the A5036 (Princess Way and Hawthorne Road) and are the focus of air quality improvement actions.
“We have been working hard with partners to reduce air pollution within our areas of influence and support initiatives aimed at limiting the impact of lorries using major port routes.
“A port booking system was recently developed which means all vehicles destined for the port now have a specific arrival and departure time. This has reduced waiting times for HGVs waiting to enter and leave the port and reduced emissions.
“We also continue to fund the ECOstars fleet recognition scheme which rewards operators for ensuring their fleets are energy efficient.
“Improvements to traffic light systems continue to be made to ensure that Sefton’s roads are optimised for maintaining vehicle flows and minimising congestion. This includes the implementation of a system at Millers Bridge which prioritises green lights for approaching HGVs.
“Together we are also working closely with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to identify HGVs operating with emission controls systems deactivated.”
He said the council recently launched an anti-idling campaign to target buses, taxis and parents on the school run and encourage them to switch off their car engines when waiting for passengers.
The council had also received grant funding from DEFRA for an intensive road cleaning project which aims to reduce particulate levels in air pollution hotspots