Traffic bottleneck solution could increase noise and pollution for some residents, consultants report

editorial image
Have your say

Physical barriers may have to be installed to protect residents from increased traffic noise if plans for a controversial new one-way traffic system in Barnsley go ahead, with others offered noise insulation measures on their homes, it has emerged.

Meanwhile, householders in one section of the scheme could expect the air quality around their homes to decrease, even though they are in air quality management zone, though others would be expected to benefit from lower pollution levels.

Barnsley Council wants to install a new gyratory, or one-way, system to free up a bottleneck at the Pogmoor crossroads between the M1 at junction 37 and the town centre, but a shortage of available space means it would have to take up part of Penny Pie Park, an area of open space, to avoid demolishing homes or taking residents’ gardens.

The proposals have been greeted with outrage in the area because of the impact on the park, which would both lose land to the road and then become an ‘island’ but planning papers reveal the potential impact on residents on surrounding roads if the scheme goes ahead.

Full details of the expected increase in noise levels have yet to be confirmed, because further research has been carried out with details not yet released.

But earlier work carried out by consultants resulted in a report which warns that homes in Dodworth Road, which already experience high levels of noise, could expect to see that increase by at least one decibel, stating: “The cause of these likely significant adverse effects is the increase in traffic flow on Dodworth Road”.

Because it is not practical to install noise barriers at that location, the report warns: “Other means of mitigating the significant noise effects predicted to occur along Dodworth Road need to be considered, such as the offer of noise insulation measures to affected properties.”

Other areas expected to be affected by increased noise after the start of the scheme are around St Martin’s Close and Grosvenor Walk, with two options for barriers under review which could be “a possible means of removing or reducing the significant adverse effects predicted to occur at the properties to the north and east of the gyratory scheme”, suggesting that noise levels for some residents may rise above existing levels regardless of work to counteract the problem.

Meanwhile, the same consultants found there would be “significant adverse impacts” on air quality between the motorway junction and Moorland Avenue, though they would be counterbalanced by “signficant beneficial impacts at properties near the Pogmoor crossroads”.

They say other parts of the scheme would not see significant changes and that because of increasing stringent exhaust emission rules, it was expected pollution levels would fall at all locations in the years ahead.

Coun Neil Wright, who represents residents in the area, said there were now two meetings planned with Council Leader Sir Steve Houghton over the proposals, one with residents on August 20 and another on August 29 with councillors from the area.

“Obviously, there are a lot of questions as councillors we need to ask,” he said.

“I have been quite vocal, it is not what residents want and I have fed that back to the people making the decisions. It is a sensitive subject and we have to be there for people.

“We want to be putting across the anger felt by residents to these people and the upset it is causing,” he said.