LETTER: We need to get to grips with pollution on our highways

A reader discusses pollution.

Vehicles queue on the eastbound track of the M62 motorway
Vehicles queue on the eastbound track of the M62 motorway

Pollution from our urban highways trunk roads and motorways poses significant risks to the environment across Walsall and the West Midlands. Many people have voiced their concern over the high level of air pollition but rarely highlight the nasty pollutants from our extensive roads network.

Tyre erosion, dust from brakes and clutch pads, engine wear, exhaust emissions, and oil and fuel leaks are washed into our drainage systems by rainwater. Suspended solids settle in local streams and rivers, blocking up gravel and limiting light penetration of our waters.

A key challenge is that the data used to show levels of pollution from our roads is limited and fragmented across organisations and responsibilities. Not only that highways departments and Highways England and water and sewage companies provide patchwork information but convoluted checks on pollutants.

More stringent regulation and penalties are required to keep control of water quality discharges. Improved monitoring and control of highways must be a priority.

Getting to grips with highways pollution will keep our water free of chemical pollutants and help wildlife live in their "rings of bright water" in our streams and rivers.

Doug James, Walsall

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