AN MP is calling for the Fortune of War junction to be straightened out in a bid to combat excessive vehicle emissions along the A127.

Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, has had his say on Essex County Council’s consultation over congestion on the main south Essex route.

The highways department has been tasked by central government to reduce the level of emissions on the A127 as quickly as possible.

The solution of introducing a congestion charge on the A127 was suggested by the Government, which was then deemed unsuitable, firstly by Basildon Council and then Essex County Council.

Then, in May, Basildon Council voted to support the implementation of a 50mph limit between the Pound Lane junction and the Fortune of War junction.

Mr Francois believes he has the answer.

The Conservative MP said: “The Government were initially contemplating some form of congestion charging – which would likely be highly unpopular with Essex residents – and instead the county council has proposed reducing the speed limit along that stretch of road from 70mph to 50mph.

“I am absolutely opposed to any form of congestion charging on the A127 and I suspect that many of my constituents would feel the same.

"Nevertheless, rather than reduce the speed limit, I think a better option here, at least in the first instance, would be to straighten out the road at the old Fortune of War Roundabout, thus reducing a major reason for increased emissions in the first place.

“I have written to Essex County Council and I do believe we should try this method first, before restricting the speed at which Essex residents can drive along this already very well used road.”

In a letter written to the county council as part of their consultation process, Mr Francois said a reduction in the speed limit would be “impinging on the liberty of his constituents, adding: “A great many emissions are caused by vehicles having to slow down at the Fortune of War roundabout in Laindon and then having to accelerate away.

"It no longer functions as a roundabout but merely slows down the traffic for no sensible purpose that I can see.

“Surely, if we wanted to reduce emissions it would make much more sense to simply straighten out the carriageway on both sides, thus allowing traffic to flow freely, reduce the need for all that deceleration and acceleration and thus reduce emissions significantly as a result.”

The county council insisted the speed reduction was the quickest option, but reiterated no decision had been made at this stage.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure at Essex County Council, said: “The proposed reduction in speed limit on this section of the A127 will improve local air quality, road safety, and congestion, making a positive difference to the many thousands of people who use the road, or live by it. However, it is important to remember that no decisions about the planned improvements have been made to date.

“I don’t believe congestion charging is the right approach in this case, but we do need to find alternative methods to improve air quality and the reduction in speed achieves this.

“The purpose of the consultation, which closed on Monday, was to find out what people think of our proposals and we are grateful to everyone who responded. We will now fully consider all responses before making any decisions.”

The council feel the speed reduction would mean emissions would be safe by 2021.