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Councillor calls for Tong Street works to focus on improving air quality

Matt Edwards, Green Party councillor for Tong Ward has called for Bradford Council to ensure tackling illegal levels of air pollution are at the heart of a major road scheme.

Matt Edwards standing on Tong StreetGreen Party councillors have welcomed a commitment by Bradford Council re-design the Tong Street scheme to make the project more environmentally friendly, but have called to make sure there are concrete commitments to tackling poor air quality.

But speaking at the meeting of Bradford Council's Executive, Councillor Matt Edwards was clear that the scheme had to put the needs of residents in Tong Ward first.

Councillor Edwards said, “Residents in my ward - in particular Holmewood and the roads adjacent to Tong Street – already have some of the worst health outcomes in our city.

“Whilst there are many complex reasons for this – one factor thar stands out as being particularly significant and that is air pollution. Indeed, the Council’s own report on this project states kerbside air quality exceeds the legal national standard.

“I am glad that the council have stated that tackling poor air quality will be considered when designing the scheme. But there needs to be a specific commitment that the scheme will improve air quality for residents.”

“Whilst doing nothing is not an option, without seeing any concrete plans of what the Highways Department are thinking I am not really able to say if what they are thinking is going to deliver this but I am hopeful from the report today that we are moving in the right direction.

At the meeting, Councillor Edwards also raised concerns that council officers did not notify him that plans for Tong Street were to be discussed by the Executive.

He said, “I only found out about this being on today's agenda through reading about it in the local paper – the day before the agenda for this meeting was circulated.

“I am disappointed that given the size of this scheme and implications it will have for thousands of residents living in my ward that Council Officers didn’t feel the need to brief me  – or even let me know that the scheme was ready to bring to this meeting."