Taxis should use King’s Lynn bus lane to help improve air quality, says report

Bus Route  Hardings Way  bollards left in the down position.'(The Boal Quay Entrance) ANL-141231-084353009
Bus Route Hardings Way bollards left in the down position.'(The Boal Quay Entrance) ANL-141231-084353009
Have your say

Taxis should be allowed to use a dedicated Lynn bus lane in a bid to improve air quality, a majority of participants in a council survey have said.

The recommendation is contained in a new air quality action plan which will go before councillors for the first time tomorrow.

A total of 20 measures, including traffic and parking management systems, improved facilities for walkers and cyclists, possible electric car charging points and even junction re-designs are contained in the plan.

The document also includes a proposal to allow taxis and private hire vehicles to use the Hardings Way bus lane, which is currently only open to buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

Taxi operators welcomed the idea when it first emerged last year, though opponents have raised safety and pollution concerns against it.

However, a report to the West Norfolk Council’s ruling cabinet, which will examine the plan next week, said of consultations carried out on the plan: “56 per cent supported the use of Hardings Way for private hire vehicles and taxis. 44 per cent did not agree.”

The most popular aspect of the plan was a pledge to improve public transport links around the town.

There was particularly strong support for the Lynn pedestrian ferry, with more than 80 per cent in favour of the pledge to continue supporting the service.

The report said the ferry contributes to more than 90,000 “park and sail” journeys to and from West Lynn each year.

But an idea that car parking charges could be staggered in order to improve air standards divided opinions, although a narrow majority did back it.

Lynn currently has two air quality management zones, the town centre and around the Gaywood clock, where levels of nitrogen dioxide are known to exceed recommended safe levels.

Officials say the plan, which was first published last July before a public consultation during August and September, is primarily focused on making it easier for vehicles to get in and out of town as most of the pollution problems are caused by cars and buses.

The introduction to the plan said: “The quality of the air we breathe is an issue that can affect many people who live, work or visit the borough, especially in our urban areas.

“We are aiming to reduce air pollution to levels that do not cause a risk to human health. These ‘safe’ levels are called air quality objectives.”

The draft plan has also been assessed by officials from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The proposals will go before the council’s regeneration, environment and community panel tomorrow, before they are debated by the cabinet next Tuesday.