An enormous fence could be built along a key road in Wales in a bid to try and cut down on air pollution.
The nine metre (30ft) high fence could run alongside some of the A494 between the junctions for Queensferry and St David’s Park in Deeside, Flintshire
But the plans are causing a stir among local residents, with one describing it as “one of the barmiest schemes to have come from the Welsh Government in Cardiff.” Others have likened it to the Berlin Wall.
A campaign group called SAY NO TO THE 9M FENCE has now been set up on Facebook in response to the plans and has attracted nearly 500 members.
There have already been attempts to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels near to the roadside, after a 50mph speed limit and average speed cameras were introduced.
Politicians from Westminster have been expressing their dislike for the plans, with Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami calling it an “unacceptable imposition” on residents.
The Labour MP has said that ministers in the Senedd should instead be moving forward on the so-called 'red route' bypass through Flintshire as an alternative way of cutting air pollution.
That would mean the creation of a new 13km two-lane dual carriageway linking the A55 at Northop with the A494 and A550 north of Deeside Parkway.
Mr Tami said: “I’ve long campaigned for the red route which is the only long-term solution to the environmental problems on this road.
“A barrier is not the answer and is an unacceptable imposition on the community. We need the red route and we need it now.”
The scheme had been previously announced as the Welsh Government’s preferred option to ease congestion on the A494. However that was put on hold last year as part of a review designed to reduce carbon emissions.
North Wales Senedd member Mark Isherwood has said he's been contacted by several residents worried about the plans.
“Concerns have been raised with me by constituents that the Welsh Government are determined to go ahead with these plans despite all the arguments they have made against them.
“[They have said] that these fences will stand 30ft or 9m high and that assurances provided that the fences won’t stop daylight from going into houses and that trees will be planted to soften the effect do not provide the reassurance they seek.
“I further note that Welsh Government planning documents themselves state ‘driver exposure to pollution, inside the barriers, has the potential to increase’.”
In March the Welsh Government wrote to Flintshire Council’s planning department to ask whether an environmental impact assessment would be required as part of the proposals.
A government spokesman has said “plans for the environmental barriers are currently at an early stage. A consultation will begin once the planning application has been made.”