Campaigners worried over the air we breathe as new Calderdale homes are built

Campaigners worried about the impact thousands of new homes might have on the quality of the air they breathe questioned modelling used to assess it in Calderdale’s Local Plan.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 7:00 am

Calderdale Council’s planning lead officer Richard Seaman said risks could be managed and mitigated.

Stuart Bennett, of WSP, for the council, said the authority struck balance between including important roads with requirement for practical and manageable study areas.

Where there were uncertainties local modelling would be modified to match data, he said.

Traffic in Brighouse

But Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) told the fourth series of hearings into the plan, which will shape where new homes might be built into the 2030s, that M62 traffic impact had not been given sufficient consideration.

“The M62 is closed two or three times a week due to accidents.

“This causes absolute mayhem from Ripponden to Brighouse.

“I don’t think this has been taken into account – it’s a major headache for most people in the area and with additional houses it’s going to be even worse,” he said.

Greetland resident Lyndsey Ashton said in West Vale around 700 new homes were planned and would result in around 3,000 extra cars.

On a route including a primary school, air quality would worsen and children would be breathing in air exceeding legal limits, she said.

Calderdale resident Amanda Tattersall said the number of moderate places of concern had reduced from initial modelling and the danger was not picking up on problem areas.

Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) said most of a potential 15,000 new homes which might be built were in the lower Calder Valley, introducing as many as 26,000 extra cars to an area already heavily polluted.

Coun Jacob Cook (Con, Greetland and Stainland) queried data predicting a decrease in vehicles in his area, saying it seemed “wildly inaccurate.”

Claire Holman, of Air Pollution Services, speaking for Clifton Village Neighbourhood Forum, said modelling took no account of terrain and position of buildings.

Clifton resident Jason Carlton said whichever way you looked at it, all routes carrying traffic in the area led back into an existing air quality zone – also close to busy neighbouring Bradford and Kirklees, but strategy did not appear to be joined together.

Anthony Rae, of Calderdale Friends of the Earth, said adverse impact on air quality had been clear for some years and modelling left him “considerably dissatisfied.”

Inspector Katie Child, who will judge whether the plan is sound, asked what mitigation was proposed for dealing with nitrogen oxide levels in some places.

Mr Bennett said the council will implement a raft of measures to do this.

Coun James Baker (Lib Dem, Warley) said modelling focussed too much on cars – emissions from domestic burners and properties were a larger source of pollution.