'Air pollution hotspot' Doncaster village not built for lorries, say residents fighting for a bypass

It is a tiny village with two of the country’s worst hotspots for air pollution – but residents are not surprised.

By David Kessen
Friday, 31st July 2020, 6:00 am

Residents in Hickleton, Doncaster, have been fighting for years to get a bypass through the village, which at present sees hundreds of lorries driving along its narrow roads.

This week, figures from Friends of the Earth show the village has two of the top three readings outside London for the pollution gas nitrogen dioxide. Even taking London into account, the sites make the top 10 nationally.

Readings opposing Fir Tree Close stood at 86 micrograms per cubic metre of air and at house called John O'Gaunts, they stood at 82. Both exceed official limits

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Lorry's pass through Hickleton, Yorkshire's most polluted village.

Richard Clark has lived in the village for 30 years. He is campaiging for a bypass.

He said the impact NO2 levels had on health in the village were not known, because tests had not been done on residents.

But he was grateful that Friends of the Earth had raised the issue and kept it in focus. The charity says NO2 pollution has been linked with an increased risk of respiratory and lung problems

Mr Clark said: “The council has tried to improve the situation with 30mph limits, but we don’t feel that has made it particularly safe.

Villagers from Hickleton near Doncaster are lobbying for a by-pass. Picture Scott Merrylees

"The issue is the volume of traffic in the constricted space of the road. It’s a Domesday book village with roads that were designed for the horse and carriage.

"The pathways are really narrow.

"We are a rural village, with perhaps 100 houses. We don’t think we meet the economic threshold for a bypass, but there is still a duty of care.

"It is scary trying to cross the road here.”

He feels a pypass could be part of a major east-west link as part of the A635.

He said regional mayor Dan Jarvis had been supportive of the idea of a bypass.

"It is diffiult to measure the effect of air pollution, but our postman said he noticed the difference during lockdown when there was less traffic,” he added.

Christine Jackson, chairman of Hickleton Parish Council added: “The levels are a great worry, but no one in the village will be surprised.”

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