Air pollution zone to be raised with Barnsley Council's new chief as action is pledged by hospital to minimise its contribution to the problem
Barnsley Council’s new chief executive will be given a tour of one of the town’s traffic congestion and air quality blackspots after she arrives to take control of the authority this month.
Sarah Norman arrives on Monday July 8 to take over from Diana Terris, who retired earlier in the summer, and will be spending time with councillors in each of local areas, called wards, which make up the Barnsley borough.
Three councillors representing the Old Town ward, which includes Pogmoor and Barnsley Hospital, intend to show her how traffic congestion builds around the Pogmoor Road/Gawber Road crossroads and the nearby junction with Summer Lane.
They have recently declared the situation, with air quality levels just below problem levels, a clean air emergency – partly because there are two primary schools in the area, with new research confirming that children inhale more air than adults, potentially subjecting them to higher levels of pollutants.
Councillors Phillip Lofts, Jo Newing and Clive Pickering have now held a meeting with senior staff at Barnsley Hospital and hope to pursue some initiatives to make improvements in the area.
Coun Lofts said there were around 7,000 vehicle movements in the area each day and somewhere between a quarter and a third of those could be attributed to the hospital, through its staff and visitors.
It was also estimated the site was short of 1,000 parking places which would be needed to meet demand from those using vehicles to get to and from the area.
Lorraine Christopher, Managing Director of Barnsley Facilities Services which looks after day to day management of car parking at the hospital, told councillors that the Trust was working hard to reduce staff dependence on using cars to travel to and from work.
The Trust has recently invested more than £250,000 on upgrading its car parking barriers which has already had some impact on improving traffic flow and easing congestion.
Lorraine added: “We have also taken further measures such as encouraging car share schemes and increasing the number of bike lockers on site. The hospital is reviewing its latest Active Travel Plan which encourages sustainable travel.
“We have around 3,800 staff and only 1,200 car-parking places on site and we reserve around half of these for patients and visitors. We have to limit the number of temporary car parking permits issued to staff to ensure that adequate parking is available for those patients and visitors. We regularly remind staff through our internal communications about the impact of inconsiderate parking on residential streets and we have worked with resident groups to identify issues when they arise.”