MP supports Storrington's Low Emission Zone trial
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert joined a public information drop-in event about a Low Emission Zone trial in Storrington on Friday (16 May). The trial is about to start in the village and will run for the next year.
The drop-in event was held in the Storrington & Sullington Parish Hall and was attended by Anna Worthington-Leese, Chairman of Storrington & Sullington Parish Council, county councillor Philip Circus, district councillors Jim Sanson and Diana van der Klugt, and officials from Horsham District Council.
According to the Daily Air Quality Index, produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, air pollution in Storrington is at Level 9 - just one point off the worst possible level.
The introduction of a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), where vehicles are restricted from entering the village by the level of their emissions, could improve the situation.
A trial of the LEZ has been commissioned by Horsham District Council in partnership with West Sussex County Council, Storrington & Sullington Parish Council and the Sussex Air Quality Partnership.
The trial is being carried out by Siemens and will use four ‘Automatic Number Plate Recognition' cameras positioned at locations on Pulborough Road, Amberley Road, Washington Road and School Hill.
The cameras will count and categorise vehicles by size (for example, cars, buses, trucks etc.) and will identify their emission levels by looking at the vehicle registration dates. However there will be no enforcement or restriction of vehicles during the trial period.
All vehicle data captured by the cameras will be encrypted and will not be used for any other purpose other than the trial.
Data from the trial will be used to find out the air quality benefits of a number of possible restrictions, including restrictions on certain vehicle types and possible time-limited restrictions on specified vehicles, for example during peak traffic periods, and necessary vehicle exemption criteria.
Horsham District Council, West Sussex County Council and Storrington & Sullington Parish Council are keen to make sure all the local residents and other interested parties are up to speed with the plans both before and during the trial to make sure that all views can be heard as part of the project.
West Sussex County Councillor for Storrington Philip Circus said: "We are moving forward on two fronts. Firstly, we are starting the LEZ trial which will provide us with the information necessary to inform our subsequent decision making at a local level. Secondly, the feasibility study is now starting on improvements to the A27 - improvements which will be vital to addressing for air pollution in Storrington. And we have built a strong coalition of interests working together to see this happens."
Diana van der Klugt, Horsham District Councillor for Chantry Ward, said: "It was heartening that most people were very positive about the steps being taken towards setting up a Low Emission Zone. I am confident that at the end of this current trial we shall be able to put measures in place to make a significant improvement in air quality in the centre of Storrington."
Anna Worthington-Leese, Chairman of Storrington & Sullington Parish Council, said: "We are delighted to be the first to test this new LEZ equipment. A lot of time and work has gone into getting this far and we are confident that we will be able to tailor this system in such a way that it will make a real difference to pollution levels in Storrington, thus improving our environment and bringing real benefits to people's health.
"We had a good attendance at the event on Friday and the vast majority of people who attended were supportive and appreciative of what is being done. We are determined to get a positive result out of this - this time something will be done!"
Councillor Jim Sanson, Horsham District Councillor for Chantry Ward, said: "We should welcome this trial (LEZ) which I view as the first positive step in addressing the alarming levels of vehicle induced pollution in the centre of Storrington"
Nick Herbert said: "It's appalling that Storrington has amongst the worst air quality in the South East, and action is clearly needed. This trial is an important step towards securing a Low Emission Zone in the village, and we also need the Arundel bypass to stop rat-running through the Downs and villages such as Storrington. I'm pleased to say that we'll be announcing the launch of the campaign to upgrade the A27 shortly."
The next drop in event will take place on Saturday 24 May between 10am and 4pm at the Mulberry House car park in Storrington.