Calls for more monitoring of air quality where Calderdale homes could be built

A part of Calderdale where large numbers of new homes might be built should be assessed for air quality, and the impact of an incinerator also needs close monitoring, say councillors.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 2:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 2:19 pm

Coun Paul Bellenger, speaking in the questions-to-Cabinet-members section at April’s meeting of the full Calderdale Council, said poor air quality was a leading risk to health.

And Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) urged the council to strengthen monitoring air quality following granting of an environmental permit for a company to operate a small waste incineration plant at Sowerby Bridge.

Cabinet members said there were plans being put in place to assess the effect on the air residents breathe.

Air quality concerns

Coun Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland), said more work needed to be done to establish where poor air quality hot spots were – there were only eight air quality management areas and West Vale in his ward was not one of them.

But it endured heavy traffic, especially if there were hold-ups in other parts of Calderdale, said Coun Bellenger, who feared the situation would worsen with more housebuilding.

“The Local Plan proposes a considerable number of properties to be built in Greetland which will increase vehicle movement and add nitrogen dioxide – I ask for my ward to at least be assessed for air quality management area testing,” he said.

Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot), Cabinet member for Climate Change and Resilience, said areas were under constant review.

Carrying out monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic had been difficult and the council was rethinking strategy to tackle issues.

“We do have a plan going forward looking at air quality management areas.

“I can’t promise you it’s going to happen overnight but I can promise you air quality as a strategic priority is very much there,” he said.

Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) urged careful monitoring of air quality along the A58 through Sowerby Bridge following a successful appeal following refusal of planning permission, and then granting of the environmental permit, for Calder Valley Skip Hire to operate the incinerator plant at its Belmont site in Sowerby Bridge.

She urged Cabinet to look at European legislation which she believed might give concerned residents as transparent a monitoring process as possible.

Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park), Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, said she was aware many residents were disappointed at the permit decision which was out of Cabinet’s control.

“I am pleased to be able to say there is a comprehensive monitoring plan that has been devised and we will put in place.

“I will check with officers about the reference to the EU scheme that may be different to what is being put in place,” she said.