Lib Dem MEP for Gloucestershire Sir Graham Watson has visited the notorious Air Balloon roundabout.
He was invited by Cotswolds Parliamentary Candidate Cllr Paul Hodgkinson who is leading the call for an urgent solution to the congestion and pollution blackspot south of Gloucester.
Councillor Hodgkinson (GCC, Bourton and Northleach) first approached Sir Graham last year to ask what could be done about the high levels of Nitrogen Oxide (NO2) in the area off the A417. Whilst air quality policy falls under EU law, it is up to central government and local authorities to meet targets to reduce air pollution in the interests of public health. Currently the South West is failing to meet its targets to reduce air pollution, particularly when it comes to transport.
Sir Graham wrote to DEFRA about the problem and was told by them that it was down to local councils to work with the Highways Agency to deal with the issue.
Now, the MEP joined Paul to speak to one of the residents whose life is blighted by constant traffic fumes and to see for himself the ongoing traffic gridlock.
The roundabout is in Councillor Hodgkinson’s County Council ward. He commented:
“Residents living near the Air Balloon junction are hugely concerned about the effects of pollution. Their lives have been changed as the road has got busier and busier. In addition, the endless traffic queues are getting steadily worse, not just at peak times but often throughout the day. Try sitting in a queue which backs up for 2 miles south of the roundabout on a Friday afternoon.
“This blight on the local economy is costing companies and individuals money and time. It needs urgent fixing. Only a proper solution will do. Residents have been asking for a tunnel or dual carriageway linking Brimpsfield to Brockworth for years but their plea has fallen on deaf ears. If we are serious about building a stronger economy and reducing air pollution this is the way forward.”