A CIRCLE line style bus service could solve transport and pollution woes in Southend, it is claimed.

Other suggestions include an airport tram link with railway stations to cope with an increase in those flying from Southend Airport.

Independent councillor Martin Terry, who represents Thorpe Ward, was speaking after new figures revealed dangerous pollution hotspots around the town and worsening congestion.

He said: “We need a circle line service covering all the key points running all day until late in the evening, serving all sectors of Southend’s population.

“We don’t have a decent bus service. Most routes die after 7pm.

“We need a circle line service into the centre of town running to Leigh and back past the hospital.

“If we had that I believe people would use it, particularly if they are going out for a drink at night and know they can hop on and off this route.”

Between April 2005 and March 2006 about 8.23million passengers used buses around the town.

This has fallen by more than half a million journeys with more people using cars.

Pollution is rising with Southend Council working on a three year air quality action plan to reduce high levels of nitrogen dioxide such as at the Bell and Cuckoo corner junctions on the A127.

Mr Terry said: “Our population is continually growing, Southend airport passenger numbers are growing and there is no link between c2c and the airport.

“The council needs to start delivering on decent, reliable, affordable public transport.”

An Arriva spokesperson said: “We’re always looking at our routes to make improvements for the benefit of our customers and also to encourage new customers to think of the bus as an alternative to cars.

“We welcome any ideas that our customers have. A spokesman from First Essex said: “We will take the suggestion to the next meeting we have with the council and we will discuss the opportunity. It is likely a service such as this will need financial support to make it sustainable but we will definitely consider this.”