I support the proposed clean air scheme and endorse the radical action being taken to tackle what is clearly a major public health problem in our city.
However, as a councillor for one of the wards that directly borders the south of the wider clean air zone, I and many local residents have several concerns that are outlined in the summary of the free text responses from Windmill Hill residents. In the papers showing the response rate to the consultation, Windmill Hill ward was second only to Hotwells which demonstrates the level of concern and engagement with this policy in my area. Furthermore, the analysis of the closed questions in the consultation showed that the vast majority of these respondents wanted the clean air zone to be expanded to cover our ward.
While I appreciate that the borders of the zone are not likely to change significantly at this stage, I would like to seek assurance that the effects of this scheme on neighbouring wards are taken seriously from the outset. Officers have conceded that it is likely that there will be negative effects around traffic displacement on neighbouring wards. This is inevitable, so I would like to see traffic data and modelling included from the start, and the data made available to councillors and residents’ groups.
The modelling in the Cabinet papers shows that the proposed zone will improve air quality along St Johns Lane and in Totterdown. This is obviously welcomed and puts some of my fears to rest. Many people who live around these areas have contacted me about this. Nevertheless, I am concerned about traffic displacement as vehicles avoid the clean air zone via Totterdown and St Johns Lane increasing an already congested road which is also a densely populated area.
I am grateful to officers for answering my questions at recent Scrutiny briefings, and I hope that I can meet with them if this proposal is endorsed and that local residents’ views are taken seriously. A written response to this statement from the responsible Cabinet member would be most appreciated.
Cllr Jon Wellington (Windmill Hill), 4th November 2019