Plenty of response over Braunton’s traffic plan

A rare break in the traffic at Braunton. Picture: Tony Gussin

A rare break in the traffic at Braunton. Picture: Tony Gussin - Credit: Archant

A mixed reaction to plans to tackle air pollution in Braunton - but what do you think?

There has been mixed reaction to proposals to tackle air pollution in Braunton by dealing with its long-running traffic problems.

A 10-point bag of options has been welcomed by some, but others feel Braunton has too many traffic measures and they should be scrapped.

North Devon Council’s executive has approved the next stage of an air quality action plan, as required by the Government because nitrogen dioxide levels in the village are 22 per cent higher than they should be.

After consultation, the draft plan includes computer controlled lights at the square using the MOVA (Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation) system, plus lights at Wrafton, less on-street parking and a park-and-ride.

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District councillor Derrick Spear said the plan was a ‘catalyst’ that imposed a legal obligation to do something, with the burden in this case falling on Devon County Council as highways authority.

“Air pollution is dangerous, it’s a silent killer,” he said.

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“Braunton’s problems are well- known and as the season extends, are becoming worse. It concerns the parish council considerably.”

Ilfracombe consultant Martin Cassini says traffic control is the problem, not the solution. Given roads designed for equality and a social context, all road users would be able to act sociably and make common cause.

He said he raised the ideas with NDC in 2009 and lobbied the parish council in 2013, to no avail.

“We need fewer traffic lights, not more,” he said. “Our 2009 lights-off trial in Portishead showed that far from improving congestion, MOVA generated it.

“The trial went permanent after journey times fell by more than half with a transformation in air quality and quality of life.”

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