Air pollution levels fall in Dorchester during lockdown

Air pollution levels fall in Dorchester during lockdown

Published by Maria Greenwood at 12:20pm 22nd May 2020.

Reductions in air pollution in Dorchester during the pandemic can only be maintained by changing ways of working – according to town mayor Richard Biggs.

He's told the town council:

"The only real solution is to have reduced traffic volumes extended past the current Covid-19 crisis through better ways of working, in other words far more home working and staggered working as well as the public encouraged not to drive into town but to walk, cycle or use public transport."

He was responding to a question from former councillor Gerald Duke who asked the council to come up with a policy to reduce pollution from traffic.

gerald duke

Mr Duke (pictured above) has previously suggested that Dorchester introduces its own charging zone to impose penalties on heavy vehicles which continue to drive, illegally, through the town.

Cllr Biggs said that one of the keys to managing vehicles would be to agree the long delayed parking strategy for the town.

"It has been a long standing aspiration of Dorchester town council to make part of the High Street area pedestrianised.

"In fact it was mentioned in my mayoral speech of 1997.

"The idea was included by the then highway authority, Dorset County Council in the first Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan, but was removed with reluctance, after extensive consultation highlighted significant opposition from other areas of the town that would see the traffic volumes and subsequent pollution increase dramatically as a direct result of any change in the High Streets."

He said the town council would continue to lobby the Dorset Council, as highway authority, to update its transport and parking strategy to reflect the climate change emergency and the changes that the current crisis has presented to the ways that the big employers manage their workforce by allowing more people to work remotely.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter