Anger over black spot plan delay

Bond End, Knaresborough. (S)
Bond End, Knaresborough. (S)

Residents from a Knaresborough road black spot have spoken of their disappointment after a council committee postponed taking action on the traffic hell blighting their homes.

Home owners from Bond End went to a meeting of North Yorkshire County Council’s Harrogate area committee on Thursday, March 21, in the hope of hearing plans to tackle air and noise pollution at the junction.

But despite a debate and proposals put forward, the committee agreed to wait for another official council report on the problem.

Speaking after the meeting resident Anne Hill, who has been campaigning for action on the junction’s problems, said: “I am very disappointed. This was a very negative meeting – it’s given me no hope.”

Heavy traffic at the junction has brought nitrogen dioxide (NO2) figures above the Government’s permitted levels, and nearby residents say their quality of life is being damaged by noise and air pollution from traffic waiting at the traffic lights.

At the meeting councillors considered a report which showed traffic causes 77 percent of NO2 emissions in Knaresborough, and 40 percent of that comes from HGVs and smaller lorries.

But while Knaresborough’s Coun John Batt proposed a ban on HGVs travelling through the town centre, the move was not agreed as officials as other councillors argued the ban would send lorries via Woodlands Corner - another site with problem levels of NO2.

Coun Batt said a HGV ban would help people in Knaresborough “living in fear 
for their health” because of
 the air pollution.

But Coun Richard Cooper spoke against the scheme, saying it would “simply move the problem somewhere else” as lorries would be forced to divert via Woodlands corner, while Coun Reg Marsh claimed the only solution was a northern relief road taking traffic away from Knaresborough town centre altogether.

Bond End resident Brian Robinson, who also spoke at the meeting, lay blame for the pollution problems at the feet of bus companies – including Transdev and Connexions – who run old diesel buses producing heavier emissions than modern vehicles – through the junction.

But despite pleas from the frustrated residents, councillors voted to wait for the publication of NYCC’s Air Quality Management Plan, which will set out the council’s plans to combatting pollution at sites like Bond End.