WINCHESTER’S Lib Dem prospective MP has called on Highways England to soften the environmental impact of proposed M3 Junction 9 improvements

Ahead of the next consultation event on August 3, Paula Ferguson, has called on the agency to properly assess the long-term environmental and air quality impact of the scheme. The rebuilding of Junction 9 is primarily designed to alleviate congestion but environmental groups are calling for the project to be scrapped.

Ms Ferguson believes that the short-term reduction in traffic congestion and improvements for cyclists, must be balanced against the short and long-term environmental impact.

She said: “The plans will cut traffic congestion and improve routes for cyclists, but Highways England need to do more to properly assess the short- and long-term environmental impact. They’ve assessed it during the construction period, but not long term.

‘While in general, infrastructure improvements are to be welcomed, I am concerned about the impact the changes will have on air-quality and carbon emissions.”

"We need to know more."

Many residents in Kings Worthy are also worried about having to cross three lanes of speeding traffic in order to get onto the A33 from the M3.

When there’s so much concern about the environment, Highways England are completely wrong not to model the long-term environmental impact of the junction changes. This is something they simply must do.’

Cllr. Jackie Porter said: "The improvements should reduce the amount of traffic that is simply driving through the city, but it’s still not enough. Hampshire County Council must move more quickly to provide additional Park & Ride facilities so that fewer cars come into the city as a whole."

Highways England are holding another consultation event tomorrow, Saturday August 3, at the Tesco Extra, Winnall and residents are encouraged to go along.