Wednesday, December 5, 2018

News: Air quality measures set to ban lorries on Rotherham road


Draft proposals to address illegal levels of air pollution in Rotherham have been revealed - including reducing speed limits on the Parkway and banning HGVs on the A629 between the town centre and junction 35 of the M1.

Rothbiz reported in 2017 that Rotherham (alongside Sheffield and Doncaster) is one of 38 English local authorities with one or more roads forecast persistently to exceed NO2 legal limits based on initial modelling. The local authorities have been charged with coming up with local plans for reducing air pollution or risk the Government imposing schemes to charge users of congested roads like the Parkway.

Rotherham and Sheffield Council have been working together on coming up with measures to deliver air quality improvements as quickly as possible. Sheffield's proposals were outlined last month and show that Sheffield will need to introduce a Category C (CAZ C) charging zone in order to achieve legal compliance by 2021.

The charges will only apply to the most polluting vehicles such as buses, taxis, lorries and vans within Sheffield's inner ring road. The Council is not proposing to charge private cars.

For Rotherham, a paper to be discussed by the Council's cabinet explains that measures will address issues around the most polluting vehicles and will be focused in particular locations across the borough.


The M1 remains a major cause of air pollution for Sheffield and Rotherham but responsibility falls to Highways England rather than the local authorities. A multi-million pound stretch of "smart motorway" has been created through the region to address air quality and keep traffic flowing.

The Council has identified that on the A630 Parkway in Rotherham, an 8% reduction in NO2 levels in the air are required. Here, the introduction of a charging zone in Sheffield and a proposed 50mph speed limit are expected to reduce NO2 levels. A £42m project to widen the Parkway in Rotherham is planned with the Council hopeful of securing Government cash.

On Rawmarsh Hill (A633) a 6% reduction in NO2 levels is required and measures include upgrading the fleet of buses using Government funding to at least Euro VI, which delivers an almost 95% reduction in emissions against earlier Euro standards. However, the paper does add that in order for full compliance to be delivered around half of the scheduled buses from Rawmarsh Hill would need to be diverted onto other routes.

The highest level of Euro VI bus that is available (Euro VI 6B) would help reduce emission levels on Fitzwilliam Road through Eastwood where a 2% reduction in NO2 is required.

At Wortley Road and Upper Wortley Road, Kimberworth and Thorpe Hesley (A629), a 3% reduction in NO2 is required. The Council proposes a HGV ban on the northbound Upper Wortley Road and Wortley Road towards the M1 junction, through the use of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). Studies show that heavy goods vehicles make up only about 3% of total traffic, but create 15% of the NOx emissions on Rotherham's roads.

Another proposal involves using Government funding to enable local businesses to upgrade their vehicles. Government funding could also be used for taxi drivers licensed in Rotherham to change their vehicles, including a mixture of grant funding and interest free loans.

No figures are mentioned but Rotherham Council said it will seek "significant funding" from the Government's Implementation Fund and Clean Air Fund.

Cllr. Emma Hoddinott, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety at Rotherham Council, said: "These are practical proposals which should ensure that the Council meets its legal requirements whilst keeping our commitment not to propose a congestion charge in Rotherham. If they are accepted by the Government, these proposals will mean new cleaner buses on key routes, and support for cleaner taxis and light good vehicles, improving air quality whilst also protecting our local economy."

If approved by the Council's cabinet, the plan will go to the Government for its approval. A full public consultation about the proposals will take place in early 2019.

Images: Google / SYPTE


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