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Environmental groups welcome road plan, urge attention to knock-on impact

Environmental groups have welcomed plans to restrict traffic on three different roads in Gibraltar, but have urged the government to consider too the knock-on impact in other areas.

The plan was announced on Monday by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who said flow on Line Wall Road, Chatham Counterguard and Europort Avenue would be redesigned and restricted to different types of traffic.

Line Wall Road and Europort Avenue will be limited to taxis, buses, residents and blue badge holders, while Chatham Counterguard will be closed to allow restaurants to extend their terraces to assist social distancing once they reopen.

Yesterday the Environmental Safety Group welcomed the new measures and said they will reduce air pollution and help create calmer roads for pedestrians and cyclists too.

“The group hopes that the measures announced yesterday mark the start of a radical transport review that will help retain some of the environmental gains made during the lockdown,” the ESG said a statement.

It also suggested that accelerating the Park and Ride facility as designed at Devil’s Tower Road would also support any changes in traffic flow with such a busy town.

The group also noted that it was looking forward to contributing its own recommendations in every way possible and as part of the public feedback exercise stated by Mr Picardo.

But while the ESG remained positive on the announcement, Pollution Watch Gibraltar were more cautious.

“I have mixed feelings about the Line Wall Road closure as it’s one of our main arterial roads,” said Marilis Azzopardi from Pollution Watch Gibraltar.

“I think it is good to have more roads dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians but if no other supporting measures are introduced it will divert traffic and the associated pollution onto Queensway and lead to larger delays in getting from one point to another.”

“More time spent on the road leads to more pollution and increased fuel usage.”

Ms Azzopardi is hoping that other measures will be introduced during the coming days that would address the problem she has highlighted and would also tackle traffic-related pollution in general with a variety of strategies.