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Residents fight M6 widening plan

19 May 09 10:59 GMT

Residents who say the widening of the M6 motorway will be "detrimental to their health" are taking to their fight to Downing Street.

Under a £6bn scheme to tackle congestion, drivers will use parts of the M6 hard shoulder at peak times.

But residents on the Beechdale Estate in Walsall, West Midlands, claim the M6 widening to include a rescue lay-by will increase noise and emissions.

The Highways Agency said an environmental screen was planned.

More than 400 people have signed a petition against the widening proposals which will be taken to Downing Street.

Allan Sanders, who is among the campaigners, said they would be asking that the Highways Agency widened the motorway about half a mile (800m) further along.

'Visual intrusion'

He said: "We are worried about the detrimental effect on our health, because emissions will rise and the noise levels will increase."

Residents said the plans involved knocking down trees which had acted as a sound barrier.

Mr Sanders added the infrastructure to ease congestion was already in place with the M6 Toll road, which should be subsidised so it was cheaper to use.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: "We recognise that existing noise and visual intrusion from the M6 are issues of concern for residents."

He said trees and bushes would be planted from areas where they had been removed and it was also looking at the best way of providing an environmental screen.

The agency said it would hold a public exhibition about the M6 plans and answer residents' questions at Beechdale Community Centre Hall on 9 June.

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