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Residents of Histon Road in Cambridge fear impact of wildlife as trees chopped down

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Residents of Histon Road in Cambridge say plans to chop down trees will impact the wildlife in the area as well as put people at risk from more damaging air pollution.

The key city route will be closed city-bound for up to a year to introduce new cycle and bus lanes, along with alterations to junctions and some other works.

Histon Road Residents' Association chair Lilian Rundblad with one of the trees due to be felled on Histon Road. Picture: Keith Heppell. (27285983)
Histon Road Residents' Association chair Lilian Rundblad with one of the trees due to be felled on Histon Road. Picture: Keith Heppell. (27285983)

The southbound closure is expected to start in May as the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), which is responsible for the works, as well as bus operator Stagecoach and contractor Skanska have said they would wait until Highways England had finished its work on the A14 to the north of the city.

However, clearance work on the road is beginning this week and that has further upset unhappy residents, who believe air pollution will be increased – putting the elderly at even greater risk.

Histon Road Residents’ Association chair Lilian Rundblad, 86, said: “They are going up and down the road this week with an ecologist to look at the hedges and trees to be cut down. And on January 27, they will start cutting it down. We won’t know where the wildlife will go and what will happen afterwards.

“Everybody here is unhappy. We have never really had much congestion. They decided they wanted to have an extra lane. They don’t have space and that’s even if they cut down all the hedges.

“The hedges are a wildlife area. We could always sit down on the road [to protest] but we are too old for that. We are not that kind of people. But the worry and the anxiety for these senior citizens living along the road and the bungalows behind has been going on for so long now.

“Instead of hedges and trees, we’ll have air pollution. They say it will improve the air pollution but, no, it won’t.

How Histon Road will look under the GCP plans
How Histon Road will look under the GCP plans

“They will have more buses going along the road and these will not stop for the residents to get on and off. The environmental people do have measurements set up but they don’t tell us if it is bad or good, or if we should put on face masks. We should have some sort of alarm system for older people.

“I won’t give up that easy. We should have more consideration for the air pollution in this area, not just tell us ‘we can read it on the website’. Most of the elderly do not have computers.”

Cyclists will still be able to travel along Histon Road in both directions when it closes southbound to vehicles.

A statement from the GCP confirmed that clearance work was beginning this week at the junction with Victoria Road and Huntingdon Road "as well as with site clearance, where required, along the rest of Histon Road".

“This work will require temporary traffic signals between the hours of 9.30am to 3.30pm,” said the GCP.

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