Chichester local plan is a missed opportunity for the environment

I was disappointed to read the transport and road proposals included in the local plan.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 8:42 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 10:00 pm

I found the Peter Brett document both obscure and contradictory, and lacking in coherence. Here was the ideal opportunity to place air quality and the environment at the centre of any new proposals for our city. Low or ultra-low emission zones are being adopted by forward thinking authorities across the country; Why not Chichester? Not something that can be achieved overnight perhaps but there is no reason why these ambitions cannot be applied to all new developments proposed in the local plan. Walking, Cycling and public transport, which should be central components when planning our future, only attract vague and general references in the plan. The proposed ‘upgrading’ of various junctions across Chichester seem to have been designed simply to improve vehicular traffic flow. Making it easier for motorists to cross the town will only encourage more drivers to do so.

Increased traffic flow will create more pollution. Peter Brett (pba) have suggested that this will be offset by advances in vehicle technology? Only true if every motorist is able to afford, and willing to invest in a new low emission vehicle. Predictions of traffic increase are imprecise guesswork, and to predict pollution levels on this basis is equally imprecise. Some air quality monitoring has been carried out, but none in the vicinity of our schools. Do we not have a duty of care for our children? Particularly now that medical research is finding increasing links between pollution and respiratory disease. Pba have stated that a worsening of air quality due to the implementation of the local plan is ‘unlikely’. Our existing air quality is poor, and regularly exceeds the Government’s safe levels of NOx and particulate levels.

Why does the local plan not admit that our current air quality is unacceptable, prioritise this as a major health risk and be seeking to improve our air, rather than quoting vague ‘assurances’ that it will not get worse?

Alan Carn, Whyke Road, Chichester