Deeside MS Jack Sargeant shares local resident concerns over 9 metre high ‘Berlin Wall’ along A494
A Senedd Member has said he shares residents’ concerns over 9 metre high environmental barriers the Welsh Government wants to erect along the three sections of the A494 from Aston Hill.
The Welsh Government has said that environmental barriers – which have been likened to the Berlin Wall – have the “potential to deliver reductions in roadside concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.”
The section of road where the barriers are proposed has already been reduced to 50mph due to levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) being above the legal limit as set out by an EU directive.
But Alyn and Deeside MS Jack Sargeant said he wants to see the evidence from the government around the impact barriers will have on reducing emissions further.
In March, Deeside.com revealed a request had been submitted to Flintshire Council planners for their views on whether the installation of timber barriers would need an Environmental Impact Assessment.
The government has confirmed it is pressing ahead with the plans and is to begin a statutory 28-day consultation ‘shortly’ ahead of a final planning application being submitted later this month.
Jack Sargeant said: “I take reducing air pollution very seriously but do share residents’ concerns about the impact of barriers on communities.
“I have raised those concerns with Welsh Government and have asked to see evidence on the impact of barriers.”
“As always, I am grateful to residents for raising these issues.”
The proposal would see the huge barriers installed at three separate sites along the A494, each comprising solid fencing 9m in height across the entire length and “linked to the height of the nearest residential properties.”
The first section would run 430m from the exit of Old Aston Hill, adjacent to residential properties on Alder Avenue, down the hill ending at the Lower Aston Hall fly over.
A second section, 70m in length, would be installed from the flyover along the grass verge outside the Plough Pub.
A 200m third section would be installed from the Plough Lane junction along Aston Road to South Bank.
According to documents submitted to the local authority by Cardiff based planning consultancy WSP, the A494 would be visually blocked out for those properties where the barriers will be installed.
WSP also said that “air quality barriers have been tested in both the UK and Europe confirming the associated improvements, albeit no similar structures are currently in place.”
Flintshire County Councillor Helen Brown has set up the campaign group on Facebook in a bid to fight the proposals.
The independent member for the Aston ward said: “I’ve had a lot of residents contact me over the past few days with worries and concerns about this ridiculous proposal of a 9m fence.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The environmental barriers are one of the precautionary measures identified in the Weltag studies which led to the development of the Welsh Government supplemental plan to the UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide in November 2018.”
“Plans for the environmental barriers are currently at an early stage. A consultation period will begin in the coming weeks following the application for planning to the local authority.”
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