A SERIES of cancer tragedies in Britain’s real Village of the Damned are being blamed on what villagers say is an award-winning council’s efforts to save an ancient town centre.
Villagers say the council has ignored – for more than a decade – claims that ancient homes and monuments along the narrow country road are being damaged by millions of trucks.
This was revealed as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said “smooth” driving would cut air pollution, linked to 25,000 deaths a year in England. Figures show that motor vehicle traffic reached a record high in 2016.
And a leading MP has pledged to fight to rescue what he described as his ‘countryside constituents’.
Sir William Cash said: “These people don’t deserve this and I will not allow them to suffer any more. I will get the laws of the land changed to help them.”
His promise comes as it was claimed that along a 400 yard stretch of the A519 through Woodseaves – dubbed the Village of the Damned by people living long the road – at least ten people have fallen victim to cancers which may be related to highway pollution.
A bladder cancer sufferer who lives in a 19th century cottage next to the road said: “This rare type of cancer almost killed me and now we discover that it can be related to traffic pollution. Ten of my neighbours are cancer victims.”
SatNav companies have been redirecting HGVs onto the inferior A519, two miles away from multi-million pound A518 primary route where less than five years ago £3.5 million was spent on the carriageway in the county’s Best Kept Village, Gnosall. At the time Coun Mike Maryon, who was a highways boss, publicly described the A518 as the ‘gateway’ to Stafford.
Meanwhile, 15,000 vehicles a day were using the A519 – 93 per cent more than used the A518. In the council’s transport plan for 2011 figures showed that Staffordshire’s air pollution was 33 per cent higher than the national average.
Andrea Martin, who had to board up the front of her ancient cottage, said: “This could well be killing us.”
Andrea says that problems really began more than a decade ago when it was announced that a rail hub for the new Eurotunnel was to be built on the A518 at Donnington, Shropshire.
“It meant at least a million more HGVs from all over Europe were about to go through Stafford,” Andrea said.
Andrea said: “This is modern-day highway robbery – we’ve lost the value of our property and live in fear. And now we discover we have been put us a risk of cancers.”
Air pollution in the UK is a major killer. In London toxic air is linked to one in five deaths each year.
The old leather working village of Woodseaves sits on the A519 from Newcastle under Lyme to the Newport Shropshire twenty miles away.
But MP Cash said; “My countryside constituents should not have to suffer in this way – there is a transport law which will end it and if doesn’t work for them, then I will get the law changed.”