The roads to Dover and Deal are put under huge strain every day. Thousands of lorries travel along the A20 and A2 to the port. And thousands of cars go between Dover and Deal on the only main road available – the A258. Traffic levels have been rising for decades. Yet the capacity to handle it is the same. It's no surprise the roads so easily get congested.
This is why I've been fighting for more investment in our roads. To get the A2 dualled and the M20 lorry park built. We need to make sure the infrastructure is in place to be ready on day one for Brexit and avoid gridlock.
I'm also passionate about tackling pollution. That's why we fought to get queues of trucks out of Dover town. They are now queued at lights before they reach the first roundabout.
Yet pollution is also a problem in Deal. Last week I met with organisers from local campaign group Deal With It. They told me about their research showing air quality near Deal Castle is worse than in parts of central London. Nitrogen dioxide levels measured 52.9 micrograms per cubic metre. They tell me this was the only reading in East Kent to exceed the EU's legal limit of 40.
It is of serious concern that we have illegal pollution levels in the centre of Deal. Everyone knows congestion is a major cause of poor air quality. There is simply too much traffic in the centre of Deal. This is another reason why we need to think about a new road to the North of Deal – to stop traffic going through the town centre unnecessarily.
All this town centre traffic is not just polluting. The high levels of traffic on the A258 into Deal is also dangerous. In the past six years there have been 100 accidents. Over the last 15 years, 18 accidents have resulted in serious injuries. Five have been fatal. Each accident is down to driver error. Yet there is no doubt that the A258 itself is a major factor. This road simply cannot handle all the traffic that travels on it. And every time there is a crash, the road is closed. Even when there is not an accident, tailbacks are common, creating yet more engine fumes.
Deal is a great place – yet it would be greater still with less traffic and pollution in the town centre.
This is why so many people are saying we need better road access to Middle Deal and the North End that doesn't go through the town centre and Walmer. Residents tell me we should think about building a dualled spur from the A256 to connect to Middle Deal and the North End.
It's clear we must take action soon – to build clearer, cleaner and safer roads for Dover and Deal.
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