Cogges Link Road inquiry: day 3

October 5th, 2011 by Kate Griffin Leave a reply »

This took place on Tuesday 27th September and began with the questioning of Paul Taylor, an air quality scientist contracted by the county council.

Mr Taylor’s evidence was very hard for the non-specialist to follow, particularly because he didn’t speak very clearly and had to be asked more than once by the planning inspector to speak up. To add to the confusion, he kept referring to both the Cogges Link Road and the Shores Green alternative as “the scheme”.

Key points:

  • In Mr Taylor’s opinion, both the CLR and Shores Green will have a substantially beneficial effect on air quality but will make certain areas of Witney worse.
  • Neither scheme benefits every area of Witney.
  • The town centre would actually be less polluted with the Shores Green option, but the difference is small.
  • Neither scheme has “regional significance” in reducing pollution.

Mark Lowe, cross-examining, challenged Mr Taylor’s focus on the AQMAs (Air Quality Management Areas, parts of Witney designated as in need of special attention). He argued that it’s counterproductive to push pollution down in certain troublespots at the expense of risking a failure to manage it overall.

Mr Taylor was followed by Mike Wright, who has been working on the noise aspect of the link road project for the council. Key points:

  • A 1-decibel difference in noise doesn’t make much difference to the human ear, but a 10-decibel difference feels like a doubling of the noise.
  • The difference in noise between the two schemes ranges between 1-2 decibels in favour of the CLR and 1-2 decibels in favour of Shores Green. In other words, not much difference.
  • The land set aside to replace the land compulsorily purchased would lie between the A40 and the Cogges Link Road and would be much noisier than the land being purchased. Equivalence of noise levels is one of the criteria used to determine whether the land is seen as a suitable replacement or not.
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