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Fears traffic fumes from congestion at traffic lights on the A96 in Nairn town centre are hitting health

By Donald Wilson

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Traffic congestion in Nairn.
Traffic congestion in Nairn.

Congestion at traffic lights in Nairn town centre is causing increasing concern about pollution levels.

Nairn West and Suburban Community Council want the area’s four Highland councillors to back a call for monitoring of exhaust fumes at the Leopold Street lights, which they say are in need of attention because often traffic cannot get through them on to the A96 before they change.

Other sets of traffic lights, such as the ones at Lochloy Road end in our picture, often lead to congestion elsewhere in the town.

In a letter to councillors and officials, community council chairwoman Sheena Baker said it was concerned at the exceedingly high level of exhaust emissions along the A96 and Leopold Street.

“This is detrimental to the health of anyone walking, living, or working in the vicinity,” she said.

The residents’ organisation believes it is now a matter of urgency for the pollution levels in Leopold Street to be monitored.

“Traders in Leopold Street have found the exhaust emissions pervading their premises. During warmer summer weather, shop doors are left open and the fumes are noticeable in their shops. This is not a healthy situation for the business owners and their staff all of whom are in these buildings for many hours at a time.

“Customers have also noticed the fumes and while they may not be breathing them in, as the staff are, for protracted times it will still be having a detrimental affect on their health walking along the roadsides with the queues of static or extremely slow moving traffic.

“The lights at the Leopold junction clearly need attention as do the Lochloy junction set. If lucky, four, sometimes five cars, manage to get out of Leopold Street before the lights change again.

“When the traffic is backed up across the A96 yellow boxes and along the front of the bus station car park sometimes only one manages to get out.”

Mrs Baker said a few years ago the Scottish Government initiated monitoring equipment being placed by Rosebank Primary School which is close to the junction. Unfortunately this failed to return any results as the equipment may have been vandalised.

She is now asking Highland Council to initiate a scheme to have monitors placed in several locations along the A96.

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