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Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors. Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown., Whittlesey, Peterborough Wednesday 28 September 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey today will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors.

Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown.

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Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors. Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown., Whittlesey, Peterborough Wednesday 28 September 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

“But little – if anything – has happened, so I decided something needed to be done,” said the retired businessman.

“The idea was so simple.”

In recent weeks, he lobbied neighbours in West End, Whittlesey, to encourage them to park on the A605, legally, outside their homes.

Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors. Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown., Whittlesey, Peterborough Wednesday 28 September 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

By 7am he had the first cars in position, staggered at short intervals.

And within minutes drivers, especially HGVs, were forced to slow, often to stop, to allow oncoming traffic to pass.

In the first 90 minutes, temporary disruptions were frequent as drivers weaved in and out of the spaces left by the parked cars.

Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors. Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown., Whittlesey, Peterborough Wednesday 28 September 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

“Nothing has been done to alleviate traffic on this road – in one 12-hour period earlier this week I counted 700 HGVs pass my house,” said Mr Baxter, whose own car was parked near his home but on the main road.

“Parking vehicles on West End in predetermined positions that carry no statutory restrictions from 7am to 4pm today will curtail free flow traffic,” he said.

Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors. Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown., Whittlesey, Peterborough Wednesday 28 September 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

“Gridlock the likely outcome, a situation that will come as a shock to politicians in Cambridgeshire.”

Mr Baxter says he has lobbied for more than 20 years for a bypass and despite occasional promises of support, nothing has happened.

Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors. Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown., Whittlesey, Peterborough Wednesday 28 September 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

“Alternative routes in and around the town must be designed for heavy goods vehicles as well as facilitating safe and convenient access routes for residents in every part of the town,” he says

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“Who then to talk to, and what chance is there of finding a sympathetic hearing from anyone with political influence in Cambridgeshire because it seems that as things stand in 2022 a Whittlesey bypass will not be built.”

Mr Baxter added: “New technology that could slash the cost of road construction is dismissed by officials employed at the highest level of local government.

“And their failure to understand that getting rid of traffic through the town could herald visionary ideas for the future is dispiriting.

Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors. Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown., Whittlesey, Peterborough Wednesday 28 September 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

“Their indifference though doesn’t mean that a more sophisticated approach to traffic planning couldn’t benefit us it just means that innovative solutions are outside their comprehension.”

Mr Baxter says the Cambridgeshire Advisory Freight Map, a hierarchical transport scheme including the A605 through Whittlesey became operational in 201.

But he said local councillors, in consultation with the county council failed to understand that property would be devalued by increasing the number of 44 tonne 6 axle transport through the town.

“They also failed to recognise that more of us would be affected by particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, dangerous pollutants produced by transport by mainly by heavy lorries running on diesel,” he said.

Road safety campaigner Peter Baxter is confident his perfectly legal – but effective – plan to disrupt traffic through Whittlesey will be a warning shot across the bow for local councillors. Mr Baxter has lobbied for years to get councillors and highways chiefs alongside to reduce the number of HGVs passing through his hometown., Whittlesey, Peterborough Wednesday 28 September 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

“Everyone in Whittlesey but especially those living on the A605 should be told that exposure to just these two pollutants can lead to serious health issues including lung cancer, diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, dementia, and others.

“The World Health Organisation statement that there is no level to live safely with PM2.5. should be heeded.”

Mr Baxter added: “Have we come to draw a false sense of security from the belief that regulatory agencies are there to protect us and is our lack of urgency concerning the health impacts of air pollution attributable to its hidden and delayed impact?

“My wife Charlotte and I have lived at West End since 1974 bringing up Matthew, Sadie, Lucy and Emily and our grandson Sunny probably not realising the danger of pollution from living on a busy road, now we know better.”

By at the very least “frustrating” traffic for a day, he hopes his campaign “could signal a vital change in the town’s perception of itself and hopefully more people will come forward with great ideas on how Whittlesey, a Fenland Market Town can evolve.”     

  

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