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Change Carlisle traffic lights to stop drivers seeing red

Traffic lights in Carlisle could be re-phased in an attempt to ease congestion and cut pollution.

Hardwicke Circus photo
Traffic lights at Hardwicke Circus

The idea has been put forward by Elsie Martlew, the city council portfolio holder for environment and transport.

She was responding this week to the latest air quality action plan for the city, which continues to show high levels of nitrogen dioxide at six locations.

The pollutant from car exhausts is an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat.

It aggravates existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

And at least one study suggests that long-term exposure increases the risk of respiratory illnesses in children.

Mrs Martlew said: “Most of the pollution comes from traffic and traffic management is the key to this.

“Queues of traffic stopped at traffic lights with engines running does cause a problem.

“Perhaps we should be asking the county council [which is the highway authority] to look at traffic flow and traffic lights in particular. Some are out of sequence and it is aggravating the problem.”

The nitrogen dioxide hot spots are in Scotland Road/Kingstown Road, Bridge Street, Currock Street, Dalston Road/Shaddongate and parts of Wigton Road and London Road.

They have prompted the city council to declare a series of ‘air-quality management areas’ since 2005, requiring it to draw up measures and work with other organisations, such as the county council, to reduce pollution.

The first action plan, produced in 2007, has now been updated.

Mrs Martlew said: “Hopefully, the opening of the Carlisle Northern Development Route will make a significant difference. It is too soon to tell yet but by this time next year we should have a better picture.

“We hope that some of the problem areas will improve significantly.”

The link from the A595 at Newby West to M6 junction 44 at Kingstown opened in February.

It allows through traffic to bypass the city centre. Early indications are that it has cut congestion by a fifth.

Mrs Martlew added: “Air quality does affect a lot of people, especially those with chest conditions, some of the very young and the elderly. It is very important we do what we can to minimise emissions.”

Other ideas in the action plan include planting trees and remodelling Caldcotes roundabout outside McVitie’s.

The council will insist that large-scale housing developers produce air-quality management plans and perhaps pay towards improvements to public transport.

It has also pledged to promote bus use and cycling.

A final version of the action plan will be submitted to Ministers for approval later this summer.

Have your say

The bypass may make a difference to the air quality around these 'hot spots' but what about those routes the cars now take to get to the bypass and off the bypass to Kingstown road.
Hartley avanue and Kingmoor road have become rat runs for cars getting to Morrisons, Aldi and Asda. There has never been standing traffic on these roads, you should see it now!

Posted by andrea renton on 17 July 2012 at 12:03

In this time of cut backs just think of the money saved if we got rid of all traffic lights in Carlisle that nobody wants !!

Posted by Blue UK on 17 July 2012 at 11:52

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