Days after a Government committee warned about the dangers of air pollution hotspots next to schools, it has been revealed that part of a school playing field will be swallowed up by the new Broughton Bypass.
County Coun Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council (LCC) has approved 61 square metres of playing fields at Broughton in Amounderness C of E Primary School to be used to construct part of a bridge abutment and for the diversion of a footpath.
She has also signed off 1,442 square metres of car park currently used by the school and nearby church to be used for highway purposes, and a further 186 square metres of playing field could be temporarily be used during construction to provide a working area for the erection of new boundary fences.
Two days before the decision, The Commons Environmental Audit Committee warned that new schools, hospitals and care homes must not be built next to air pollution hotspots, in a bid to help reduce deaths caused by nitrogen dioxide and particulate pollution. The body also urged that existing schools next to busy roads should also be fitted with air filtration systems
Martin Galloway, head of network management for LCC said: “A full Environmental Impact Assessment was made as part of the planning application which predicts that construction of the bypass will result in air pollution being brought within acceptable levels.
“Current levels of pollution on the A6 within the village of Broughton are above acceptable levels due to traffic congestion which is why the location has been established as an Air Quality Management Area. There are no indications of any air pollution hotspots in the vicinity of the primary school or church.”
Mr Galloway said that the loss of playing field land would not impact on playing space, and there are plans to replace the current 49-space car park with a new car park of approximately 75 spaces.
The Broughton Bypass scheme will be one of the first schemes to be delivered as part of the £383m City Deal. A planning inquiry into the development will be held on April 14, but should not delay building work starting.