Rayleigh has an Unseen Killer on the Loose!

Chances are if you like to shop in Rayleigh or dine al fresco then you're sure to have been 'touched' by Rayleigh's unseen killer. Rayleigh's killer has been active for more than 6 years with the Tory administration failing to act to bring this 'killer' into check for  more than 6 years.

Our town's 'killer' spares no one and it's estimated has claimed between in excess of 20,000 victims in the UK alone. The identity of this 'killer' is toxic nitrogen oxide. With 80% of nitrogen oxide being accounted for by vehicle emissions our constant congestion causes even more air pollution, the required action from our council is well overdue. With the majority of people taking to the private car it's worth remembering that a staggering 97% of all modern diesel cars emit more toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution on the road than the official limit.

With the threat of heavy EU fines, our Tory led council has opened a public consultation into how they might reduce these harmful level's of Nitrogen Oxide that blights our town centre. They are looking for your opinion of the proposed pollution reduction schemes, such as the removal of zebra crossings and replacing them with pelican crossings, car sharing and promoting cycling and walking.

"All residents within the AQMA will receive a letter directly informing them of the consultation, as will the statutory consultees. Statutory consultees include: Essex County Council, neighbouring local authorities, Rayleigh Town Council, Rayleigh Chamber of Trade, Environment Agency, Highways England and Defra"

We are concerned that this consultation will be another demonstration of Rochford District Council's failure to communicate effectively with it's residents and has seemingly 'forgotten' the residents that prop up the local High St economy by not reaching the rest of the community with it's somewhat limited communication effort.

"Apart from consultation on the extent of the AQMA, there has been little engagement with local people in Rayleigh about the AQMA"

It's high time that this issue, that is probably one of biggest public health issues in the country, is taken seriously by our council. We can not afford to be soft on this issue. With a further reduction in acceptable levels due to come into force between 2020 and 2030 we need to take firm, swift action now.

If you want to know more about our views on air quality in Rayleigh and Rochford District please comment below.

  • Peter Wood says:

    Hi there,

    My name is Peter, I am 20 yrs old from Rayleigh and always look to do what I can for the town in which I live. Although pollution is not something i considered a problem, congestion is, which is why I took an interest to your article “rayleigh has an unseen killer on the loose”.

    I would like to ask a question on your suggested improvements “They are looking for your opinion of the proposed pollution reduction schemes, such as the removal of zebra crossings and replacing them with pelican crossings, car sharing and promoting cycling and walking” and would question the benefit to a pelican crossing over a zebra crossing?

    Also my own suggestions would be to increase the amount to park in the car parks, reduce the time constriction on free parking to encourage use of these pay and display car parks, and perhaps increase the time parking charges apply. The main benefits of this is it acts as a deterrent for vehicle users who live nearby ad would rather walk. I appreciate however this may not be an option for some and will still need to park, therefore being hit with a harder parking charge.

    Either way, whatever solutions are enforced I believe it is unlikely to see a reduction in pollution on this matter.

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Peter

  • Hi Peter,
    Thank you for your comments. I must start by saying the proposals in my blog post are those of the councils and they are not mine (I wouldn’t want to take the credit for that!)
    You make some interesting proposals with regards to car parking. Perhaps there is some ‘mileage’ in your proposals! Car parking charges appear to be a ‘sensitive’ topic at the council and I for one think (not 100%) that we would benefit from a pay as you exit type system. Perhaps 30 mins for free?
    In my humble opinion the key to reducing pollution is get traffic moving and get those that don’t really need to use a car, to use alternative transport methods. Currently I don’t think cycling is appealing to many due to safety concerns and even walking the pavements in some areas are inadequate. With the lack of budget for investment in our infrastructure I don’t think you will see a shift in our transportation decisions any time soon.

    Do you think this consultation contradicts itself? There is a statement in there about ‘raising public awareness’, yet a huge subsection of the community doesn’t seem to be targeted on the consultation – will people wonder why suddenly they are being asked to leave the car at home if they don’t even know the problem of air quality exists?

    • Peter says:

      A pay as you exit system with your suggested 30 mins free would encourage the driving to town if people are only after a few shops, which moves us further away from the solution. Also, as you may appreciate there is not usually a budget available to implement an in/out system, and some car parks it would be impractical (such as Bellingham Lane). Aside from its implementation these are subject to potential vandalism and then there are maintenance costs on top of this. The short term solution is to create a deterrant from driving, and for those that do drive, to get them moving as quick as possible. The clear short term deterrant is to constrict free parking and to increase charges. It may also pay for Hullbridge residents to have a “Park and Ride” system with frequent buses from the large car park on the bottom of Ferry Road in to town, and back to the car park. Appreciating the number 20 bus does this, supposedly every 15/20 mins, have something more frequent? They are just trains of thought potentially worth investigating, although they need to be weighed up thoroughly when discussed…

      • Hi Peter,
        Do you think that the pollution is caused by people driving to town to park or by through traffic? What about signage in ‘choke’ areas asking people to switch off their engines if in queuing traffic? Do you think that might help? I wonder how many of the town’s visitors are from ‘out of town’. I think deterring visitors by raising parking charges may in the long term stop them visiting the town all together. Our parking charges are already higher than other towns such as Basildon and they have a greater range of shops to offer. I appreciate your comments certainly offers an alternative perspective.

        On 14th December at Rayleigh Town Council offices there is an EXTRAORDINARY FULL COUNCIL MEETING to discuss the Air Quality Consultation. Why don’t you come along? The public are allowed to speak and it could be an interesting debate. If you need anymore details feel free to get in touch.

  • Danny says:

    South Essex should have had a light rail transit system built 20 years ago.. when i was at college it was one of the schemes being mooted in an exhibition at Runnymede hall.. yes it would have been expensive to build but look at the places they’ve built them (Manchester, Sheffield etc) and car usage has fallen drastically.. unfortunately short term thinking rules as far as transport in Essex is concerned

  • […] James Newport writes about air pollution here. […]

  • James says:

    There needs to be improvements to the infrastructure, the key change would be to make Webster Way a red route and possibly a one way system.

    • I’ve thought of Red Routes before, it doesn’t take much to stop the traffic flow does it? I extend the same invitation as I will to everyone on 14th December at Rayleigh Town Council offices there is an EXTRAORDINARY FULL COUNCIL MEETING to discuss the Air Quality Consultation. Why don’t you come along?

  • Jim says:

    This issue has become noisy so belatedly RDC are going through the motions of consultation – our experience over the last few years is that
    they definitely do not take public opinion into account.
    They ( RDC) chose to plant large developments on the two busiest ( gridlocked ) roads in the Town , therefore adding to the traffic/pollution
    Levels – so I cannot take them seriously – this is another tick the box exercise.

  • On 14th December at Rayleigh Town Council offices there is an EXTRAORDINARY FULL COUNCIL MEETING to discuss the Air Quality Consultation. Why don’t you come along? The public are allowed to speak and it could be an interesting debate. If you need anymore details feel free to get in touch. 7.30pm

  • Scott says:

    why would we want to dissuade people from parking in the town? This is not only detrimental to local businesses but an obvious waste of space having car parks half full all of the time. Improve local bus routes/ more frequent and run later. Address the parking issues in wier gardens and roach avenue as this is an obvious “cut through” that easily becomes congested due to bad parking. Congestion could easily be relieved by utilising the wier gardens/brook road areas more efficiently. Have a look at the love lane – “no entry”- that would take a large percentage of the traffic away from crown hill and the town centre. It’s all in place, just badly organised at the moment

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