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Toxic car emissions will increase by 9% in Bingley if the "Relief Road" is built, a new study by KDIS Online shows.
Nitrogen Dioxide levels will double in the playground of Bingley C of E First School to 46 ppb - approaching the National Air Quality Strategy Standard limit for background NO2 levels. In reality this level is likely to be higher, as the study ignores traffic on Park Road which runs past the school.
Levels along Bingley Main Street will drop by 17% if the traffic there falls to half its current level, as forecast. But overall traffic flow through Bingley will almost double if the new road is built.
The KDIS study was commissioned in response to a similar though more restricted study produced by Bradford Councils Specialist Pollution Team last month to support the Councils case for the new road. It was ordered by MP Chris Leslie.
The Council team studied the effects at a single point on the Main Street kerbside. They claimed Nitrogen Dioxide levels would fall by 26% if the Relief Road was built.
Using the same model and the same projected traffic flow figures, KDIS plotted the Nitrogen Dioxide levels at 5 separate points, to give a "cross section" of pollution concentrations across the centre of Bingley. The results show a broadening distribution of pollutants with the "peak" shifted northwards. The railway line marks a crude division between the pollutant "winners" to the south and the "losers" to the north.
Brian Anderson, head of the Councils Pollution Team denied that his study painted a deliberately misleading picture. He said they'd only studied the level at one point because that was all MP Chris Leslie had wanted.
Chris Leslie, the new Labour MP for Shipley and still a Bingley councillor, has staked his political credibility on the success of the new road. Formally an active opponent, he switched sides on becoming a councillor 3 years ago.
The road scheme is currently under review by the government and a formal decision is expected in March next year. Supporters of the new road, including the Council, Business organisations and developers, are currently engaged in a frenzied effort to bombard minister John Prescott with arguments and petitions in support of the scheme.
Local traders and many residents of Bingley support the new road scheme in the hope of some relief to the atrocious peak hour traffic congestion along the Main Street. But opponents point out that the £48 million road will simply push the congestion on to Saltaire. The Bingley Relief Road is "the road to nowhere".
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History of The Airedale Trunk Road
Plan of Sections 3 and 4
The View from the Trees - interview
KDIS air pollution study
DIY Bingley air pollution predictor
Clippings - including how the T&A reported the Councils air pollution results.
Dreamscape - Chris Leslie MP's view of Bingley Main Street with the new road
Parliamentary Debate - Chris Leslie puts the case for the road
BETA briefing on EC challenge - BETA's complaint to EC commission on governments 97/98 "Roads Review"