Swaffham residents to conduct a survey on town pollution

Swaffham town centre. Picture: Ian Burt

Swaffham town centre. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Residents in Swaffham hope to reduce high pollution levels by highlighting the number of heavy good vehicles that travel through the town centre on a daily basis.

They will conduct a survey involving two volunteers working in shifts on Monday September 4 and Friday September 8 to observe the volume of vehicles passing Swaffham's iconic Market Place building, the Butter Cross.

James Dean, chairman of the highways and traffic group said: 'We want to get a handle on the percentage of heavy goods vehicles compared with the number of cars and classify them into categories by the number of axels, ranging from two to six.

'This would be a preliminary survey ahead of a possible formal one in October which would determine the origin and destination of the vehicles. We do not want a complete ban of HGVs but want to avoid the town being used as a through road for large 44-tonne long distance lorries which could be taking alternate routes.'

If the town council greenlights the study in October it may us an Automatic Number Plate Recognition system where CCTV cameras will capture data on vehicle movements and journey times.

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Town Mayor, Jill Skinner, said: 'Swaffham has become concerned with the increased traffic levels in the town centre along the A1065. Preliminary air pollution measurements have shown levels of nitrous oxide that exceed nationally acceptable levels.

'Next week we will perform a survey of the traffic levels by volunteers in preparation for a future formal traffic survey. There is a recent HM Government proposal to relieve town centre congestion and air pollution with by-pass development. We are of the opinion Swaffham must be heard and be ready with our evidence.'

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Ms Skinner added that there are no plans to seek a restriction on HGVs.

The data from the survey will also go toward a Neighbourhood Plan which is being overseen by the town council. This has so far seen the creation of five topic groups, which have each been tasked with identifying issues and options open to the town over a period of at least 12 months.

The intention is to examine infrastructure issues that could worsen as the town develops in order to meet Breckland Council's goal of constructing 1,612 houses by 2036.

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