Letter: Air pollution - The answer lies in good planning

Traffic congestion
Traffic congestion

Several of your correspondents have raised legitimate concerns about the failure of current policies to protect residents from the harm of traffic-induced air pollution, citing Bond End in particular.

Road transport is a major contributor to global warming and air pollution from traffic seriously damages health, particularly of the young, the elderly and vulnerable groups.

We now have several locations in Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough where pollutions levels exceed the limits laid down.

So does it make sense to allow developments which we know will increase pollution levels at sensitive locations? Urban sprawl increases car travel, exacerbates congestion and gobbles up the countryside so why are we seemingly powerless to restrain it?

When the Government carries out its promised overhaul of the National Planning Policy Framework it should take more seriously developments which adversely impact air quality at designated sites, to whatever degree, and make it clear that they will not be permitted.

For at least 40 years or more, from my experience, people have been urged to get out of their cars and travel by bus, on foot or by bike.

All sorts of measures have been tried by local authorities but traffic continues to grow.

We thought that as congestion increased, people would abandon their cars for better alternatives, and no doubt some have.

But many seem content to put up with ever-rising delays for the sheer benefit of having their own transport, irrespective of the harm to others.

A large part of the answer lies in the planning system – allowing major housing developments only where there is much less need to travel by car.

Urban sprawl is definitely not the answer.

David Siddans

Yew Tree Lane, Harrogate