Campaigner against multi-million pound Calderdale highways plan says ‘I’d have exposed hypocrisy at hearing’
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In June, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet agreed to withdraw the CPOs, some relating to Salterhebble, Halifax, arguing they were no longer needed.
But Reid Anderson, who was the remaining objector to the CPOs, said he would have exposed in the hearing what he claims is “rank hypocrisy” by the council over the issue.
In the Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 Michael Gove wrote that the immediate air quality challenge was to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides in the areas where these harmful gases currently exceed legal limits – areas like Salterhebble, said Mr Anderson.
“Air pollution caused by motor vehicles at Salterhebble was so bad that back in 2007 the council declared it an air quality management zone.
“Pollution that is just as bad today, the worst in Calderdale.
“So for Calderdale Council to be pressing ahead with this enormous road scheme is quite unbelievable.
“The Environmental Statement submitted with the Planning Application made it clear that the scheme would make the already appalling pollution at Salterhebble even worse yet the council ignored it and approved the plans.
“Calderdale Council, having declared a climate emergency, regularly trumpets its green credentials.
“Saying one thing, and doing something completely different is rank hypocrisy, which I as an objector would have exposed at a public enquiry.
“The report to Cabinet claimed withdrawing the CPO ‘would not in itself impact on the environment.’ Who are they kidding?”
But in response Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), said the land required for work around the Calder and Hebble junction of the A629 is being purchased by the council following successful negotiations with landowners, removing the need for compulsory purchase orders.
And the programme itself would bring improvements and was designed with environmental impacts in mind, she said.
“The removal of these orders is unrelated to any environmental impacts of the scheme and there are no remaining objections related to land acquisition.
“The project, known as phase 1b of the A629 improvement programme, has been developed with environmental impacts fully in mind and significant modelling work has explored any effects on air quality in the area.
“The results of this work highlighted no concerns over worsening air quality under the project and identified that if no improvements were carried out, existing levels of pollution would steadily rise.
“The project also includes major improvement in facilities for pedestrians and cyclists as well as work to make bus travel a more attractive option.
“By encouraging a shift away from individual car use and reducing ‘rat running’ on smaller village roads in the area, we expect to see improvements in air quality, supporting our wider work to tackle the climate crisis,” said Coun Scullion.
She said the phase 1b project links with the wider A629 improvement scheme as well as with other huge transformation and infrastructure improvement projects across the Calderdale area.
“Together these projects offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Calderdale a better, more sustainable place to live, play and do business,” said Coun Scullion.