Should lorries be forced out of parts of Leyland to clean up the town's air?
A Leyland resident says that heavy goods vehicles should not be able to access the M6 by using the town as a rat run.
Marie McCall lives on Turpin Green Lane, which is at the centre of an area found to be in breach of air pollution levels last year - and she claims the problem is being driven up by lorries heading for the motorway.
She was speaking at a meeting of South Ribble Council’s cabinet where a new air quality action plan was unveiled to improve the atmosphere in the most polluted parts of the borough.
Mrs. McCall has been campaigning for over a decade to have weight restrictions imposed on Longmeanygate and Wheelton Lane in order to force larger vehicles to join the M6 at junction 29 near Cuerden, rather than junction 28 at Leyland.
“It is affecting people’s health,” she told members. “I know an older person in my road who now has asthma, which they have never suffered with in their life.
“For some reason, most of the HGVs coming from the Moss Side area and Lancashire Business Park choose to use junction 28 even though they’ve got direct links to 29.
“Other things in this plan are for the future, but the HGVs need looking at now,” Mrs. McCall said.
Several Conservative cabinet members expressed support for the suggestion - a version of which is included in the action plan - but noted that roads are Lancashire County Council’s responsibility.
“We need solutions and timescales on this,” Colin Clark, cabinet member for assets said. “The county council are going to review their highways masterplan and it’s essential that additional emphasis is put on air pollution.
“I hope that all people make a contribution to that consultation process,” he added.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "Improving transport infrastructure to help tackle problems with air quality will be one of the key issues to be addressed in our next 25-year Local Transport Plan to run from 2021.
"Early work has started on this plan and will be followed by further work to update the highways and transport masterplans specific to each area of the count.,y which will outline how local air pollution issues such as this could be addressed.
"Public consultation is a key part of the process of these plans being adopted, and we'll be asking for people's feedback at the draft stage."
South Ribble had to produce a new air quality action plan after the area around Turpin Green Lane and Golden Hill Lane became the fifth location in the borough to breach maximum levels of nitrogen dioxide. Traffic emissions are the main source of the pollutant.
Under the plan, future housing and employment developments will include assessments of the “damage cost” of the additional pollution which they will cause - and will require attempts to offset any increases as far as possible.
Planning committee chair, John Heskin, welcomed the additional guidelines to inform the decisions made by councillors.
Another major part of the plan includes the promotion of cycling and public transport across the borough.
But the Labour opposition member for Leyland Central, Derek Forrest, questioned how receptive residents would be to changing their lifestyles.
“I really do despair about how we ever get it into people’s heads that the bike is best,” he said.
FIVE POLLUTION HOTSPOTS IN SOUTH RIBBLE
These are the areas where nitrogen dioxide levels have exceeded recommended maximums since 2005 and so are now designated Air Quality Management Areas:
***Liverpool Road, Penwortham
***Station Road, Bamber Bridge
***Tardy Gate, Lostock Hall
***Turpin Green Lane, Leyland
***Victoria Road, Walton-le-Dale
FIVE PROPOSED SOLUTIONS IN THE AIR QUALITY ACTION PLAN
***Encourage ‘walk to school’ routes.
***Improve access to electric car charging points.
***Improve cycling routes and require secure cycle storage to be included on all relevant domestic and commercial developments.
***Consider altering road layouts within Air Quality Management Areas.
***Embed a low emission strategy into planning decisions and make air quality a consideration in every cabinet decision.