Councillor lodges first ever child protection referral relating to air pollution after tree felled

In what’s believed to be the first case of its kind, a councillor in Rochford, Essex has lodged a child protection referral related to traffic pollution, following the chopping down of a 100 year-old tree to make way for the building of 662 new homes and the creation of a new road junction.

Rochford District Council had originally rejected an application by Bloor Homes to build the houses in June 2021 amid fears it would ‘result in a severe impact on the local highway network’. The council also stated that it had taken ‘significant levels of objection’ from local residents worried about the impact of increased traffic into consideration.

The 100 year-old tree prior to its felling

Following a public enquiry last year however, that decision was overturned, sparking protests and a 15-week demonstration at the tree which was ultimately cut down.

This prompted District councillor Julie Gooding to act, emailing members at the county and district councils to say: ‘The process currently under way has increased the amount of extra pollution from the construction trucks flowing into the entrance of the development area which is outside the school gates. I have spoken to families who say they are worried and frightened and concerned, and it is my role then to escalate that.’

Julie, who resigned from the Conservative party recently, saying ‘I will be independent to vote with my conscience and act in the interests of residents’  lodged the child protection referral because she believed children at for the 500 pupils at nearby Holt Farm Infant and Junior school were at risk of significant harm from extra pollution: not only since the tree has been felled but also during the process to take place whereby the road widening scheme takes effect’.

Rochford District Council said it was installing more air quality monitors.


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1 year ago

Oh yes? And if those extra AQ monitoring sites say the pollution is going up, what happens next? The plan for over 600 new homes and a road junction is hardly likely to be stopped. What will the local authority do to keep the air pollution to a minimum? We are not told, maybe they don’t know themselves?They will say the new homes come first and I can see why – same situation in many parts of Britain as I write this. It used to be called progress, probably still is by many. But where does that leave us with the air quality problem? Fo9r example, what will this proposed new development do about diesel vehicles and home heating? Says “first zero-carbon community”, but do we really belive that? Cambridgeshire: Plans for 25,000 homes would cause ‘lasting damage’ – BBC News and this was optimistic too Addressing air quality impact of new homes ( . Exeter also anticipating more pollutiion from traffic but all the page mentions is about encouraging people to walk and cycle more. Yes, that’s good but they need to go to school and work too and deliveries to homes, shops sn warehouses come in vans and lorries. Perhaps there is another plan for more AQ monitoring? Hope so – but what action will then be taken? Are more EVs the answer? All new homes with heat pumps, a ban on wood stoves and bonfires? Probably none of that, at least not yet, just a central community biomass heating system? And more monitoring ……. am i growing too cynical? Thanks again :).

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