Bypass to divert traffic from Doncaster village labelled worst air pollution in England will not start for at least five years

A much needed Doncaster bypass aimed to divert traffic from two air pollution hotspots - labelled some of the worst in England - will not commence for at least five years.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 31st July 2020, 6:00 am

Pressure group Friends of the Earth has labelled two spots in the borough village of Hickleton as having the seventh and tenth highest levels of nitrogen dioxide micrograms per cubic metre of air.

A spot at the junction Fir Tree Close recorded a level of 86 and an area at John O’Gaunts in the village hit 82. The legal annual limit for NO2 is 40 micrograms per cubic metre but no level is said to be safe.

Doncaster Council, in conjunction with Barnsley Council and the Sheffield City Region, included a plan for a bypass in their road network strategy after a concerted effort by campaigners in Hickleton and nearby Marr.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Pressure group Friends of the Earth has labelled two spots in the borough village of Hickleton as having the seventh and tenth highest levels of nitrogen dioxide micrograms per cubic metre of air

But the bypass was supposed to be built over 30 years ago - the Barnsley end in the Dearne Valley was completed but the Doncaster side never got off the ground.

Campaigners have previously said the lack of a bypass results in large lorries from warehouses to and from the Dearne Valley accessing the A1 which has prompted a steep rise in air pollution over recent years.

Simon Bowens, clean air campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said failing to fix air pollution costs lives and showed a failure to address the climate crisis.

"If ministers want to avoid a return to the health-damaging and illegal levels of air pollution we had before lockdown, their enthusiasm for 'active travel' needs to be a permanent switch and not just a short-term gap plugger.”

Gill Gilles, assistant director for environment at Doncaster Council, said: “While air quality is good across the majority of our borough we do have some isolated areas on some of our main roads which we are tackling by implementing the numerous initiatives set out in our Air Quality Action Plan.

“We have promoted sustainable transport but we really need the public to play their part too by car sharing, using public transport or walking and cycling to make journeys and help tackle the air quality issue.

“South Yorkshire leaders including Mayor Ros Jones, Sir Steve Houghton leader of Barnsley Council and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, recently issued a joint letter to residents of Hickleton which outlined that, while a bypass – prior to the arrival of the new HS2 line - would appear the best solution to air quality, congestion and road safety issues, there are obstacles to overcome.

“These include the lobbying of Government to consider the case for funding and the likelihood that construction would not commence before 2025. Therefore Doncaster Council will continue to look at options for interim measures, which would seek to address the immediate concerns.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Nancy Fielder, editor