Mark Lewis – Politics and Protests
Never one to shy away from a fight, in October 2019 Mark Lewis took it upon himself to protest for better air quality in his home town of Storrington. Geared up in a gas mask and kilt, he took to the High Street, Storrington, with a placard stating “TORY COUNCILLORS & MPs DO NOTHING AS STORRINGTON CHOKES”. Mark’s action garnered praise from local residents, and attention from the local newspaper.
Mark continues to work closely with the local Extinction Rebellion Group and has plans to do more work in his local area, hoping to bring about change to the climate emergency on a local level.
Article as published in West Sussex County Times, Thursday, October 31, 2019
New demand for pollution action
Written by Sarah Page
New demands are being made for action over poor air quality in Storrington. Former parish councillor Mark Lewis donned a gas mask and placard to highlight his concerns in the village centre last week. And scores of villagers later took to social media praising his efforts and pledged to join him in future protests.
Storrington has already been acknowledged as being among the worst places in Britain for air quality. Earlier this year a group of residents at Manley’s Hill again pleaded for action over what they described as a ‘toxic trench’ in the area. The village has suffered high levels of pollution for more than 20 years and was last year named as the fourth worst place in Britain for air quality – worse even than London.
“No-one is doing anything about it”, said Mark Lewis, who has put forward proposals to West Sussex County Council for a contra flow system which he believes will help ease traffic congestion.
“We need to dissuade 28,000 cars a day drive through Storrington because it’s easier than travelling along the A27 – because the A27 doesn’t work. They all through Storrington. For nearly 12 hours a every day, the traffic idles in the High Street and in Washington Road. There is a traffic jam permanently there which adds to the toxicity of the area.”
A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said that an Air Quality Steering Group had been formed with the county council, Horsham District Council and Storrington Parish Council which aimed to produce an ‘Air Quality Action Plan’. “In recent years a number of options have been considered and trialled, and recently two schemes design to improve traffic flow through the High Street have been completed. A request to control traffic movements in Manley’s Hill at the junction with School Hill has been received and is currently being evaluated by West Sussex County Council. The ability to deliver any scheme is subject to understanding its feasibility, an evaluation of its costs and benefits, and the prioritisation of resources to progress it. There are currently no committed proposals to consider controlling traffic flow through the use of temporary traffic signals.”