A ‘CONSTANT flow’ of residents attended Gunnislake Public Hall last week to learn about the dangerous air quality issue blighting the village and to hear Cornwall Council’s proposals on how to address the problems.

The public drop-in session gave residents a chance to find out exactly how pollution was affecting the village and allowed them to give their views on the problem and the proposed ways to deal with the issue.

Gunnislake was declared an Air Quality Management Area in March 2014 due to high nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels from vehicle emissions exceeding health guidelines and air quality standards requirements.

Cornwall Council has been investigating ways to improve the air quality in the village and had drawn up a draft action plan, including several options which the council feels could be investigated further, which was on display during the consultation drop-in day. Residents were able to view the plan, speak to Cornwall Council representatives and comment on the consultation.

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: ‘The public drop-in session was very well attended, with dozens of people coming to find out more about the draft action plan and give their views. We received comments on the actions proposed in the plan and people also came up with new suggestions.

‘Residents felt strongly that HGVs were a problem and suggested they should be banned or a vehicle weight limit should be implemented. The stop-start traffic was also noted to contribute to the poor air quality and Alma Terrace was identified as somewhere this could be improved.

‘All the comments will be considered before the action plan is finalised. The consultation is open until March 7, so we are still keen to hear people’s views on improving Gunnislake’s air quality.’

One of the options proposed in the plan was to alter the traffic arrangements at Alma Terrace, which is one area most affected by the pollution.

Cornwall Councillor for Gunnislake and Calstock Cllr Dorothy Kirk has been instrumental in getting Cornwall Council to address the issue.

Following the drop-in consultation in Gunnislake, she said: ‘It definitely raised public awareness of the issue. There was a constant flow of people who were engaged and concerned about the problem. The majority of people from Alma Terrace turned up and other people along the A390 came along who didn’t know about the problem, so it helped to raise awareness.’

Cllr Kirk said although it was good that an action plan had been created, there was no guarantee that anything would be implemented because of the lack of funding available.

‘The problem is with the lack of funding. Although there are measures proposed, not all can be implemented because there is no funding in place at the moment.

‘We are hoping that public pressure will push this issue to the top of Cornwall Council‘s agenda. We need to make this more urgent because it is important. More housing developments in the pipeline at St Ann’s Chapel and surrounding areas will only increase the problem because more traffic will add to the problem — even if something is done about the present issue.

‘Public health is important. Children’s asthma is on the increase and NO2 contributes to this. The children of Gunnislake deserve better.’

The consultation runs until March 7. For more information or to make a comment, visit www.cornwall.gov.uk