At our AGM on Wednesday, we had two excellent and very interesting speakers.
We started the meeting with a quick poll in which participants told us whether they had visited Carrington Moss in the last week, how they had travelled, if they had seen any wildlife on the Moss and whether they had recorded it.
Stuart then talked to us about the importance of recording all our bird and wildlife sightings, he told us a little about the records held by the GMLRC pertaining to Carrington Moss and provided some insights into the protected species found here. There is a link to the recording site later in this blog.
James talked in a little more detail about the bird species on Carrington Moss, including the, red listed, willow tit. He described our important habitats as the The Masai Mara of the North and shared a number of links to videos and blogs which may be interesting for our members (the links are embedded in the AGM slide pack – click on the button above). James also mentioned Greater Manchester’s (virtual) Green Summit, which, this year, will be running from 21st to 24th September. If you’d like more information, or to receive the links to a Welcome Pack for the GM Green Summit, please subscribe to the Green City Region mailing list.
Stuart and James responded to a number of questions from participants about a wide variety of issues. More public (virtual) meetings and outdoor recording events (when safe to do so) will be held in the near future, but in the meantime, we’re asking our members to consider contributing to identifying the Carrington Moss Big Five
To support our aim to promote the ecology, the habitats and the wildlife on Carrington Moss, we’d like your help in selecting the species YOU think best represent Carrington Moss
If you need a reminder about what is out there – take a look at our website at these links:
We’d like as many of you as possible to record your sightings to help confirm just how important the area is to endangered and at-risk species. You can find out more about the GMLRC by clicking on this logo
If you are not sure which species you have seen, you can use an app such as iNaturalist to look up the species but it is better to record directly on the GMLRC site above.
Following these two outstanding presentations, we elected/re-elected our Committee, huge thanks to Jan for her support in doing this and a huge thank you to both existing and new Committee members for their continuing work on behalf of our communities.
You will find the updated Committee information on our website (click on the graphic to go to our Committee page).
We then briefly reviewed our Annual Report, click on the graphic to go directly to the report, highlighting our work on Air Quality monitoring in the area and providing a summary of progress against our key aims.
Following our finance report, we launched our very important Friends of Carrington Moss 200 Club, (click on the logo for more information).
We recognise that we may need to take legal and/or other specialist advice in the near future and this is expensive, so please do take the opportunity to join our little lottery. It provides us with much needed funding and you with a chance to win a percentage of our takings.
We closed the meeting with an update on a number of important items, including:
Feedback on our Importance of Carrington Moss Survey
Our joint work with Carrington Parish Council to create a Balanced, Community Focused Transport Strategy for the area
Our next Master Plan workshop, which will focus on Air Quality
An update on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
An outline of the latest Government Consultations about the planning process.
More information about all these items will be included in our September newsletter.
We hope those who came along enjoyed our first online public meeting and will join our future online events.
Many of you are using Carrington Moss as part of your daily exercise routine and, whilst you are out an about, you are highly likely to see lots of birds and other wildlife in this rich, nature-filled environment. So, we are particularly delighted to announce that we will have two special guests at our online AGM on 26th August. We will hear firstly from Stuart Fraser, Environmental Records Officer at Greater Manchester’s Local Records Centre (GMLRC), which is part of the GM Ecology Unit. Stuart will talk to us about recording our bird and wildlife sightings on Carrington Moss and he will tell us a little about the records held by the GMLRC pertaining to Carrington Moss.
We’d like as many of you as possible to record your sightings to help confirm just how important the area is to endangered and at-risk species. You can find out more about the GMLRC by clicking on the logo.
James is an ecologist, a birding expert and the author of “Greater Manchester Birding City Region”, which is available as a free e-book, with colour photos, via Borrowbox (see below). The Greater Manchester Birding City Region Project (GMBCR) have selected a specific bird species to represent each of the 10 boroughs, with the Northern Lapwing being Trafford’s emblem. Take a look at the GMBCR Project “Perfect 10” film, including the Northern Lapwing in Trafford – click on the picture to the right
Like Stuart and James, our group aims to connect people with nature and we are really looking forward to hearing their presentations on 26th August.
Click on the picture to the left to go directly to the Borrowbox webpage to borrow this fantastic book. The photographs are wonderful and James mentions how important the Mosses in the Region are. There are also lots of interesting links to other resources at the end of the book.
For information, Borrowbox makes available a wide range of eBooks and eAudiiobooks. If you don’t have one already, you will need to create an account with Borrowbox either on the Borrowbox website or by downloading the app to your mobile device. You will need your borrower number and PIN to create an account. Click here for more information about Trafford’s online library services.
We will also use our AGM to elect/re-elect our Committee for a further year and to update you on our activities. If you are interested in being nominated for a role on the Committee please let us know by 31st July by clicking on the button below and completing the contact form.
For information, Committee members are typically attending between 3 and 5 Carrington Moss related meetings a week (sometimes more), we also spend a lot of time reading and researching and represent the Friends Committee, speaking at public meetings and other events. New Committee members need to be able to fulfil these activities. The Friends of Carrington Moss is not politically affiliated and, therefore, it would not be appropriate for elected members of political parties, or those seeking to be elected, to be nominated for positions on the Committee.
If you’d like to join us at our AGM, please click on the link below and complete the contact form, so we can send you the details for the online meeting. Many people have used various types of virtual meeting over the past few months but if you feel you need help to get connected for our AGM, don’t hesitate to tell us when you click below.
It is fantastic to have the opportunity to talk to our friend and local historian, Dr Charlotte Starkey about the History of Carrington Moss and the (lack of) Archaeological Studies that have been carried out on this wonderfully, rich and diverse landscape. Charlotte talks about everything, from our local Medieval history, to the current day, from the heavily industrialised North West quadrant of the Moss, to the nature-rich peat-moss that we all know and love.
FOCM: So Charlotte, I know you have recently updated your page on our website with some information about the history of Carrington Moss. Can you summarise briefly and we’ll include a link to your page so people can find out more?
Charlotte: The area is rich in Medieval History. Yes please do take a look at the latest page on the website here for my detailed reflexions on the Medieval period. In these latest musings, I’ve focussed on the first part of the talk I have given to a number of groups about the Medieval Carrington story and there is more to come. I really want to share this history, largely ignored in many circles, in order to give context to discussions about the Moss and its function.
Carrington Hall, the seat of the Carrington family (those descended from Adam de Carinton), was sited to the north of Carrington Moss, almost opposite the Carrington Lane/Ackers Lane junction, west of ‘the Mile Road’. Further along, just beyond the Windmill Inn (pictured left, courtesy of David Dixon, 2011), is the site of what was the old mill. Part of the last of the buildings is still there, very dilapidated (you can tell the lack of respect for the history of this area; the rear of the remains of the mill which channelled the tailrace back to the River Mersey is covered with a film of oil with the pungent odour of crude oil and is quite dangerous). The actual mill pond was a significant structure in its heyday, but it was in-filled and lost when the highways department (Ministry of Transport) and local government re-routed the old lane directly across the mill pond to straighten the road for heavy goods vehicles.
It is possible that Carrington Lane or its equivalent was a route for the Romans to Wilderspool and one cannot rule out the possibility of archaeological remains along the navigable River Mersey.
Interestingly, a Manchester painter (Thomas Barritt, 1743-1820), who was also an antiquarian, described what he named as a sword once belonging to the Black Prince. Not that the sword came from Carrington but it reminds us that the Caryngton men-at-arms were heavily involved in the Hundred Years War (and note that the spelling of the ‘modern’ Carrington surname changes as we move through the archives). J. P. Earwaker dismissed Barritt’s curved scimitar sword because he found that the scabbard on the Black Prince’s effigy at Canterbury was straight; but that does not preclude the possibility that Edward had more than one sword and it would be quite unusual for just one sword to have lasted his many battles in the Hundred Years War.
Sad to say, much of the named artefacts of the Caryngtons, in wills and other documents from the medieval period, have not survived, or at least have not been discovered, in this area. One has to remember that, when the Booths took over Carrington circa 1600, they systematically appear to have wiped the Caryngton name ‘off the map’, as Sir Peter Leycester suggested in his history of the Bucklow Hundred written in the mid-seventeenth century.
One piece of the Carrington dynasty is the portion of their medieval chapel dedicated to St Nicholas in Bowdon Church and the ‘Carrington Knight’ in St John’s Collegiate Church in Chester which has been mutilated at some point in the distant past. Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of seafarers and numerous members of the Caryngtons sailed regularly to Normandy, La Rochelle and Bordeaux from Calais, Portsmouth, Southampton and possibly Chester, which was a very busy commercial port in the Middle Ages.
FOCM: Fascinating, so, have there been any recent archaeology studies of Carrington Moss, do you know?
Charlotte: One study, mainly a geological survey, was carried out under the auspices of Lancaster University in 1995. The results can be found in a book by David Hall, C. E. Wells and Elizabeth Huckerdy, called the Wetlands of Greater Manchester (there is a copy in Manchester Central Library Special Collections). Though geology was their main emphasis, they mentioned the problems of conducting archaeological studies on the Moss stating that the Moss was very ‘busy’, referring to the amount of urban waste which was thrown on the Moss by Manchester Corporation. They themselves did not carry out a detailed archaeological survey.
FOCM: The history of the Moss is so interesting. When did Manchester Corporation start to use the site?
Charlotte: In 1886, when the Stamfords of Dunham Massey, then owners of the Moss, faced increasing financial concerns, they sold the Moss to Manchester Corporation’s Cleansing Department. This was also the time when the landowners of England were coming under increasing pressure from the newly formed local councils to release land for other uses. Initially, the agreement was that only ‘night soil’ (human waste) would be thrown on the Moss to be used as fertiliser for the newly laid out agricultural fields, organised in a series of square and rectangular patterns along the routes which you can still walk today: Birch Road, Woodcote Road, Ashton Road, North Road and so on. This was in the central area where Manchester United has its training ground. By calling these tracks ‘Roads’ Manchester Corporation tried to recreate the Moss as an extension of its ‘urbanisation’ into north-east Cheshire but, before then, most of these ‘roads’ did not exist except as tracks, and certainly not in the regimented manner in which the Corporation set them out for the light railway system they introduced to disperse the ‘night soil’. Moss Lane is a very old track into the Moss.
FOCM: But they didn’t just stick to human waste, did they?
Charlotte: No, the City soon began to dump its refuse on the Moss, which is why you can find lots of oyster shells, glass bottles, pots, shards and many other things, even on the surface of the Moss. This was not the agreement with the Stamfords, who objected, but by then it was too late. They had sold the Moss for £38,000, which was £13,000 more than their own estimates (though they didn’t tell the Corporation that). From that point onwards the Corporation regarded the Moss as their own and it was a significant move because that also meant that Manchester had gained a major foothold into north-east Cheshire, a fact which is quite obvious today with the spread of their airport.
FOCM: Oh those canny Stamfords! Some of the farms are still there today.
Charlotte: Yes, the farms are the result of intensive draining from the Corporation’s efforts to increase the agricultural benefits of the Moss. At first, a great success (it was actually listed as ‘Park’ with days out for visitors to view the nurseries etc.). It grew flowers and vegetables for the increasing populations of Manchester and peat was used for the stabling of all the Corporation’s horses. At one point, before all this, a commercial company had extracted peat from the Moss much earlier in the nineteenth century. Civic dignitaries would visit the Moss on specified weekends dressed in their finery, travelling, much to the amusement of the locals, on gleaming steamboats that on working weekdays towed behind them to the Moss barge-loads of manure, stinking to high heaven. The Corporation took great pride in their new-found greenspace.
FOCM: So what happened next?
Charlotte: With the dumping of urban waste, which began relatively quickly (1900s),the Moss fell into disuse apart from the work on the few remaining tenancies (all the smaller tenancies were ousted when Manchester bought the Moss). One has to remember the traumatic impact of two World Wars as well. That put paid to the efforts to keep the Moss a ‘pleasant prospect’ and, like much of the surrounding land around the River Mersey, from here southwards to Northenden, the Moss became a vast municipal tip. It’s not so long ago they were still burning methane off the urban tip that skirted the River Mersey from the A56 towards Urmston Meadows. This problem was made worse when, in 1947, under government auspices, a petrochemical industry was introduced along Carrington Lane (Petrocarbon to 1955ish; Shell up to 2014; Lyondellbasell now).
FOCM: Did those companies bring benefits to the Moss?
Charlotte: No, they introduced serious contamination to the North-Western quadrant of the Moss: whilst discovering the method for fractionating crude oil, they introduced polymers, polycarbons, methane, cyanide, nitrogen dioxide, adding to the cocktail of zinc, chrome and other hard metals, asbestos etc, already introduced by Manchester Corporation with the gas works and other industries. In fact, a recent commercially sponsored ‘dig’ on the north-eastern sector of the Moss listed ‘plastic’ among the subsoil as an archaeological find! Modern plastic sheeting was actually ‘invented’ here, with Petrocarbon, the very first petrochemical company specifically established to create an alternative to rubber for industrial and commercial use in 1947. This was, of course, emulated across the world once the chemists at Petrocarbon left, were poached or enticed by more lucrative salaries abroad. We all know the disastrous consequences the world now faces with plastic pollution. Spoil from the earlier gas works and coking plants, the Irlam Steel works etc, all added to serious hazardous materials on that sector of the Moss, and these are still major problems. There is a curious converse parallel here for the Moss to locations where mining destroyed landscapes in England and Wales. Coal mining led to the release of vast amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when burnt. The industrial revolution of Manchester and the world was built on that energy source. On the Moss, there was, and still is the residue of, a substantial body of peat in which carbon dioxide has been locked (as in all peat bogs) naturally. Yet, industrialists and politicians at a local and national level encouraged the importation of a major pollutant, oil, onto the pristine natural site of the peat bog. That insult to a natural carbon sink began a process of degradation of the Moss as a carbon-capture source whilst polluting the subsurface of the Moss. In every sense Manchester’s industrial past is marked by dreadful pollution of the natural world, a tradition which is continued in attempts to degrade Carrington Moss still further.
FOCM: The tragedy of “progress”, is there any of the original peat moss left?
Charlotte: This is a key heritage asset for the North West Region. It is one of the last remaining peat bogs from the last Ice Age, along with Chat Moss, and it is (a) land designated as Green Belt; (b) a carbon-capture sink, like all peat bogs; (c) a source of great joy and wellbeing to many walkers, cyclists, and horse-riders (the horses bringing the equestrian tradition of the Medieval age that continues right into the present day). It has designated sites of special scientific interest and biodiversity. By Moss Lane there is still evidence of the original Moss, as well as at Birch Moss Covert. When the Carrington Spur was constructed, 50,000 tons of peat had to be removed before the land could be considered safe for heavy traffic. One can understand, therefore, that, outside the heavily industrialised sector, there are vast quantities of peat beneath the agricultural surfaces elsewhere. You can see this in the coloured water of the drainage, that deep red-brown colour of peat leaching from the land, taking carbon-dioxide with it.
FOCM: So we should retain, preserve and restore as much as we can of the peat moss, it is so valuable in the current battle against climate change?
Charlotte: The great threat now comes from Trafford Council’s plan to construct 4 major roads and build a huge housing estate on the Moss, in spite of numerous studies, old and new. The Manchester and District Regional Planning Proposals, 1945, for example, produced by Rowland Nicholas (Jarrold & Sons, 1945, see p. 11). Nicholas (a Surveyor and Chief Engineer to the Manchester and District Regional Planning Committee) specifically stated that the Moss was unsuitable for housing; and this came from a man who had revolutionary visions of change to Manchester that never materialised. The most telling evidence of all, of course, is the fact that, for over twelve thousand years no one built upon it; and the supposed genius of modern construction and engineering techniques are never going to improve on what nature has built on the Moss over many millions of years. If these plans go ahead, they would not only destroy the Moss and create an unhealthy urban mess; they would create a major source of additional pollution, destroy a key carbon capture area, and lead to massive flooding. As a peat bog, it retains vast quantities of excess water which otherwise would have nowhere to go. The building of any major roads here will generate a huge number of additional traffic journeys, including countless numbers of cars coming into the area from outside Trafford, saturating the roads beyond, thus leading to even more road building in more green belt areas around and beyond Sinderland. Home builders’ bodies also consistently warn against building on Peat Bogs.
Equally important is the World Health Organisation’s warning of the links between climate change and abuse of the natural world on the one hand, and the spread of infectious diseases in the modern world, on the other. In the light of the concerns for our climate, and because of the mounting evidence that abuse of the natural landscape and the creatures on it is not unconnected to the fact that we have a major pandemic threat with us this very moment, it is astonishing that the political will to listen to the science and respect the natural world seems as far away as ever in Trafford and Greater Manchester Combined Authority. It is hugely worrying, particularly when we know that the Covid-19 threat has basically brought every country in the world to a standstill and crippled the world economy. Where is the sense in building new roads across a peat bog which will mean the destruction of one of nature’s climate and flood control mechanisms, a resource of huge biodiversity, which helps to sustain the health of the planet and the people and animals on it, in the light of the science of climate catastrophe and human disease?
Ominously an article in New Scientist of 15th October 2019, using a predictive model that had proved successful in forewarning of every past pandemic when applied retrospectively, warned precisely of the link between human disease and climate change at the very moment the Covid-19 pandemic was establishing itself without much of the western world having a clue (New Scientist, 15th October 2019, “How Deadly Disease Outbreaks could worsen as the climate changes”). We all know what happened just about the time of the publication of this article and the consequences across the world even as we discuss these issues this very minute: in reality coronavirus was already afoot by early Autumn 2019. The same subject was examined extensively in a powerful study by the World Health Organisation in 2018: Climate Change and Human Health (World Health Organisation, Feb. 2018).
When Charles Dickens spoke to the Manchester Athenaeum in 1843, he praised its members for enabling study and reading to take place amidst the business of the industrial world because reflection and thought encouraged self-respect, self-confidence and respect for all around oneself. Some of these qualities are desperately needed in the world of the Manchester Planners today as they try to steam ahead with the destruction of all that is important and beautiful around them in places such as Carrington Moss.
FOCM: That would certainly be a tragedy for our Moss, should we be asking for more archaeological studies to be carried out?
Charlotte: The evidence of archaeology in the Moss has hardly been touched by specialist archaeologists. Part of the problem is that, as a subject, archaeology was still in the early stages of development in universities, such as the University of Manchester, which was in the process of being formed as the Moss was being developed. Modern archaeological work is a relatively new science and has recently developed fantastic resources with the growth of technology in geophysics, lidar and ground-penetrating radar. There had been a strong, long-established antiquarian tradition in the region with fascinating results which, however, did not include the Moss. Though The Manchester Guardian carried numerous naturalist studies mentioning the Moss in the nineteenth century, no one mentioned the archaeology. Archaeological interest in peat bogs, however, had grown from the mid-eighteenth century when a peat bog body was found in Lincolnshire. Since then increasing numbers of such bodies have been found across the world. The most famous local examples, of course, are Lindow Man from Lindow Moss, near Wilmslow (1984 / British Museum), and Worsley Man (1953), on a Salford Peat Bog. Leather shoes have been found at Chat Moss, but, sadly, whatever is buried underneath Carrington has suffered the fate of the surface of the Moss in large sections where industrial and other waste has dominated the environment.
The Moss, however, is much, much more than the industrialised quadrant and has hardly been excavated. Much will have been destroyed and usually an archaeological dig only happens when there is good evidence of a specific archaeological/historical reason or if, as happens with planning regulations, a survey is conducted. Funding is always an issue but some of these commercial studies are not detailed and they look mainly for expected agrarian use in field contours. In the case of Carrington Moss, they do not consider (perhaps do not even know) that this was a hive of activity in the Middle Ages focused upon Caryngton Hall, Carrington Lane, the equestrian tradition for which it was known in the Middle Ages, and the widely travelled experiences of the Caryngton family, not simply abroad to Normandy, Aquitaine and Navarre, but also within the British Isles during the wars with Wales and Scotland, and in tending their estates further afield in the Longdendale Valley, the Forest of Wyrehale (Wirral) and Marcher lands. I believe the site of Carrington Hall, and parts of the area where the old mill existed along the Lanewould be useful points with which to begin. That whole section north of Carrington Lane was a key transport route in the Middle Ages and, of course, it was connected to other routes by the River Mersey. Two dug-out canoes (c.AD/CE 1030-1245 radio-carbon dating) were discovered along local river banks when the ditch for the Ship Canal was excavated.
As we mentioned in our previous blog, the Friends of Carrington Moss recently arranged two workshops to provide input to the local Master Plan.
We’d like to take this opportunity to provide some feedback on the outputs from these workshops. We’ll give you some information about next steps and we’d love to have your thoughts about some of the key issues, because, of course, the
(ie what happens in response to the workshops) are, most importantly, why we spent so much time planning, preparing and hosting these sessions.
The Coronavirus has impacted timescales, so please bear with us and our partners over the coming months as some of the planned activities will not be completed within the same timescales now.
The first deliverable from each workshop was a set of key design principles which were discussed and agreed within the participant groups. We also received further feedback after the workshops. The graphic below represents the final output, which has been updated for all comments and responses received.
The core principle for each of the two topics is shown at the centre of the graphics. We believe these core principles are the overarching imperatives in the Master Planning process for these two themes. Some suggestions were also made about additional principles, which need further discussion.
The workshops also discussed the key assets we have on the Moss. This activity was structured in a slightly different way in the two workshops.
In the Ecology and Biodiversity Workshop:
We looked at the quantitative values of the ecology and biodiversity on the Moss and how they can be measured. Quantitative values can typically be measured numerically in some way, such as by size of the area, the number of creatures supported by that feature, or by using a pre-determined metric established by experts.
To facilitate this discussion, Trafford Wildlife shared their assessment of the wide variety of existing habitats on Carrington Moss and a representative from the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU) presented information about the sites of biological importance and the presence of endangered species on Carrington Moss.
The break-out groups then considered the qualitative values, discussing their views about the most important ecological assets on Carrington Moss. Qualitative values are things that would not necessarily be counted numerically, they can be perceptions and feelings, not just tangible measurements and typically relate to the quality of a feature.
The results of this activity are shown in the graphic below:
As you can see, there was a lot of consistency in the discussions that took place in each break-out group, so it is important that these values are considered in the design and development of the updated Master Plan.
In the Interconnected Traffic-Free Routes across Carrington Moss
We categorised the various routes across Carrington Moss that are used today and also identified potential future traffic-free routes that will be important to consider in the Master Planning process.
Again, there was a lot of consistency between the groups, including in their assessment of potential future routes. Connectivity with the wider network of walking and cycling routes is considered to be very important. There was a lot of discussion about the dismantled railway line and it is important to take the number of horse riders using the Moss on a day to day basis into account. Our friends in the horse riding community tell us that there are over 1,000 horses stabled in the area, no wonder we see someone on horseback almost every time we go onto the Moss.
Finally, the third activity was to identify the key next steps to help progress the Master Plan and ensure community engagement continues as a key part of the discussions. These have been consolidated because there was so much overlap between the break-out groups and lots of actions were suggested.
Let’s look first at the Quick Wins, these are things we can do in the short term (in the next three to six months), without too much difficulty. We are already working with our partners to deliver these:
Plant wildflower meadows (next to the footpaths, ditches, solar farm, hedgerows)
We have already discussed this with HIMOR and hope to sow seed over the coming months
Plant bulbs/understorey in the woodlands
Again, we are actively planning this with HIMOR
Create a programme of work for schools (including, if possible, on-line resources), arrange school/resident visits onto the Moss
Two school visits already arranged, with more to follow, we are also planning some community walks over the coming months
Introduce more way markers and signage to help those using the Moss
Again, HIMOR are actively supporting this initiative
Do litter picks on and near the footpaths
We held our first litter pick in February and will be doing more over the coming months
Involve representatives from all communities in discussions about the Master Plan for the area, invite those representatives to the existing forums which are part of the Master Plan process
Whilst we feel this must be a quick win, community engagement on Master Planning is not yet in place, but we hope to bring more information on this over the coming weeks.
The workshops also identified things that would take a bit more discussion but we believe can be achieved in the medium term (in the next six to nine months) and also some more challenging actions which may start over the coming weeks but will take much longer to complete (possibly up to a year or longer):
We’d also like to have your inputs into the next steps and with that in mind, we have created a very short survey, which should take less than 5 minutes to complete. We are keen to secure inputs from as many in the community as possible, so please encourage your family, friends and neighbours to respond too. Click on the button below to access the survey.
We are now planning our next workshops, the first of which will consider the plans for the Strategic Road Network to be constructed across the Moss, these currently include the Carrington Relief Road, the Sale West Link Road, the Birch Road Link and the Southern Link Road. We will be seeking to identify quick wins, route options and alternatives to the reduce the need for so much new tarmac! A further workshop will look Risks and Issues (for example, Air Pollution, Noise Pollution, other impacts of high volume HGV traffic and potential COMAH site topics). More information will follow on these workshops over the coming weeks. They may, of course, need to be on-line sessions, due to the Coronavirus.
Carrington” and we are working with Trafford Council’s
Strategic Planning Team to ensure community
representatives are able to input into the design of that
This is important, because if lots of money is spent developing a plan, it is much harder to effect change in later phases of the process.
With this in mind, the Friends of Carrington Moss recently arranged two workshops to provide input to the local Master Plan.
The first workshop focused on the Ecology and Biodiversity on Carrington Moss, and the second covered Interconnected Traffic-Free Routes across Carrington Moss. Participants included landowners, developers, Trafford Council, specialists from local regional and national groups (see the graphic below for a full list), school pupils and representatives from local community groups.
Why is the Master Plan important?
The Master Plan will shape the future of our local landscape. It will act as a framework for upcoming planning applications and will be a supporting document in the final iteration of the GMSF which is due to be published later this year. The community are extremely important in this process. The other people who are involved may not live in the area and may not know its existing features and unique characteristics as local residents do.
In line with their Statement of Community Involvement (available at this link Trafford’s Statement of Community Involvement), Trafford will be seeking to consult and engage with residents and other interested parties throughout all phases of the Master Planning process.
Trafford Council’s planning officers have confirmed that the new version of the Master Plan for the area will use the HIMOR Master Plan, which is available at this link HIMOR Master Plan March 2019, as its starting point.
As it is a strategic document, the Master Plan will aim to show what the vision, ie the long-term proposition, for the area looks like. It will include some analysis of the existing site, highlighting the constraints and the opportunities which may arise during the plan period.
The work of the Friends group will provide some useful baseline information which can be included in the inputs to the Master Plan, including, for example, our monitoring of air quality on and around Carrington Moss.
In addition, the outputs from our recent workshops definitively demonstrate that local residents and specialists can add real value to the Master Planning process. The design principles for each theme (Ecology/Biodiversity and Interconnected Traffic-Free Routes) were discussed and updated during the workshops and attendees have had the opportunity to comment further during the review of the workshop outputs.
We are now working with workshop participants to consider the next step actions, particularly focusing initially on the quick wins, which could include, for example, route signage and wildflower planting.
Whilst these workshops aimed to support Master Planning for our own area, this is a great framework which can be adopted by others and is a huge opportunity to enable local communities to be involved in the design phase of the Master Plan. We are creating a toolkit which can be shared with other groups and we believe this will help change the perception that residents can add little value to the planning process.
Just labelling an activity “consultation” is not enough.
It is important that all those involved
in the planning ecosystem recognise the difference between real and robust consultation
and simple information sharing (however complex the data being shared happens
Consultation involves taking account of, as well as
listening to, the views of those citizens being
consulted and must, therefore, take place before
any decisions are made.
We, the citizen, should be clear, that consultation
does not mean that our views always have to be acted upon. There may be good practical or financial
reasons for not doing so. When a
citizen’s views are rejected though, the justification for doing so should be
Making a pretence of consultation is unproductive,
engenders suspicion and increases mistrust.
True consultation will enable the citizen to contribute to scheme
designs, will stimulate debate and encourage “buy-in” to the proposals.
Real, robust consultation should, firstly, consider
whether there is a need for what is being planned and then, secondly, consider
how those needs are to be addressed. It would
also helpful to inform people about how the decision-making process works.
So, looking at the “committed” road across Carrington Moss – we should, firstly, have been consulted about whether a new road is actually needed. IF it is agreed that a new road IS needed, we should then be consulted about the design and placement of that road. Alternatively, if it is agreed that improved public transport would address the existing traffic challenges (and we could get a lot of public transport for the £33 million estimate that the new road is going to cost), we should be consulted about the public transport needs for the area.
Designing the new road will, like the overall Trafford
Masterplan for the area, cost lots of money, so how likely is it that the design
will be changed as a result of any “consultation” to be carried out? It is, therefore, imperative that citizens
are fully involved in that design process!
All roads are extremely busy during rush hour but we cannot duplicate them all just to satisfy the needs of one type of road user – the driver! If more focus was given to other users and public transport/traffic free routes were given a higher priority, we (and our children/grandchildren) would all be a lot healthier.
Remember, if a new road is built, it is likely to be full of traffic from outside the borough before a single new house is built. So, if the traffic chaos during rush hour continues either before, during or after the new houses have been built, what is the answer?
Someone is bound to suggest yet another highly polluting new road, rather than the public transport improvements we so desperately need!
With this in mind, please don’t forget that we have a petition against the new roads across Carrington Moss. If you live in Trafford and haven’t signed it yet, and are unable to print your own copy, get in touch. If you can print out the petition and get signatures from your family, friends and neighbours, we’d be delighted.
The GMSF is the strategy for the region which incorporates Trafford’s plans for the future of Carrington Moss.
A number of perceptions have been circulated about the delay, one of which is that the Government will not approve the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) request to allow the release green belt as part of the approach they are taking. Not quite correct.
For clarity, there are two ways in which the regional
strategy can be presented:
as a Joint Development Plan (JDP), which is what has been produced to date
as a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS), which is the preferred future approach of the GMCA
Under the current regulations, an SDS CAN
remove land from the Green Belt, but ONLY local/neighbourhood plans can
redefine the Green Belt boundary. This is
the issue that is still being discussed with the Government.
So, what are the next steps for the GMSF?
Information in the papers supporting the GMCA meeting on 27th September suggest the following:
Over 17,500 individuals and organisations responded
to the GMSF consultation in January 2019 and more than 67,000 comments were
made. These have been analysed and a
Consultation Summary report will be published over the coming days. We will provide links to this in a future
In summary, the specific New Carrington question received 523 responses and New Carrington Allocation questions received 738 responses (note that the Timperley Wedge Allocation questions received 942 responses). These low numbers reflect the very poor communication about the plan. In Trafford we received a glossy leaflet to every home about the marathon, which is a one-day event. We received nothing which set out the huge human and wildlife impact of these plans!
The key issues that arose in the comments will
inform the further evidence work that needs to be undertaken and, also, the GMCA’s
engagement strategy over the coming months. A Consultation Final Report will be produced
with the next Draft GMSF, which will outline how these issues have been
considered and how the plan has been changed as a result of comments made, or
why some comments have not resulted in changes. It is not intended to respond in detail to
every comment made.
It is recommended, by the GMCA, that, in order to
allow time for Government to amend the SDS regulations (mentioned above),
engage more fully with residents and other interested parties, and undertake a
12 week consultation, the timetable would look as follows:
Programme of engagement around evidence (for example transport, affordable housing, viability)
October 2019 – March 2020
Town Centre/Urban Living/Affordable Housing campaigns
For a region which purports to want to minimise the release of green belt, the work of the Save Greater Manchester Green Belts group has revealed that
NO Release of Green Belt would be required
anywhere in Greater Manchester, if:
the latest household projections (2016) were used in the Government’s standard methodology (these have been produced by the statistical experts, the Office for National Statistics – ONS), rather than the 2014 projections which the Government currently requires Authorities to use (these were produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government MHCLG);
the GMSF included projections (as allowed by the National Planning Policy Framework – NPPF) for large and medium sized windfall sites;
a 15 year plan was submitted (as allowed by the NPPF) rather than the current 19 year plan.
In addition, local and regional politicians could accept the MHCLG statement that the methodology for calculating the number of homes to be built in an area is a starting point, NOT a target! In Trafford that would mean we could look at the housing actually NEEDED here and prioritise building homes which address our local housing crisis.
There is NO housing crisis anywhere in the region for
people who can afford to buy their home.
So, it is important to recognise that the release of green belt is totally in the hands of our local and regional politicians.
For Trafford overall, our reduction in green belt loss
was only 22% and for Carrington Moss it was a very
So basically, Trafford continues to take a heavier hit than almost all the other Local Authorities in the region in terms of loss of green belt in the current plan!
Please ask your local politicians (Councillors and MPs) their views. Why would they accept and allow this imbalanced and disproportionate outcome for Trafford residents???
This latest delay brings a great opportunity to increase the level of consultation about the plans and engage with a much broader range of citizens in our communities, including those who are not typically accessing information online. We hope Trafford Council fully exploits this over the coming months to ensure all residents fully understand the impact of these plans.
Honesty and openness are essential, especially in
terms of the loss of health and wellbeing assets, the
reduction in air quality and the increase in noise
In preparation for the first match of the season, we recently met with Dave Hulme, General Manager, Sale FC Rugby and asked him for a bit of background about the club and the impact of the plans for Carrington Moss on its future……………….
Tell us a little about the history of
Sale FC and how the club is doing.
Founded by a team of enthusiastic sportsmen, drawn mainly from Sale
Cricket Club, Sale Football Club was founded in 1861, is the fifth oldest
surviving rugby club and the most prominent in the history of the North West
(and no, that’s not just us being biased).
Over the years, our players have become renowned for their mobility and
powers of endurance, which when allied with their bountiful enthusiasm render
Sale FC invincible. In the very early
days of the Club, rules were usually deemed unnecessary and those that were
enforced were often made up on the spot.
As the game began to evolve, the need for specified regulations became
apparent and, in 1865, the Minute Book was created stipulating the ten rules to
be followed by all players. In fact,
this is now the world’s oldest existing rugby rule book and a much-treasured
possession here at the Clubhouse.
Mention Sale FC to anyone and the first words that usually spring to
their mind are ‘Heywood Road’ but this has not always been our home. Back in the day, games were played on either a
rented portion of Sale Cricket Club or on fields owned by local farmers. Although we didn’t have a home to call our
own, this setup did mean that we became a very real part of the community and a
strong bond was formed with local people, something we have continued to build
upon over the years. At Sale FC there’s
nothing we enjoy more (no, not even scoring that winning try in a cup match)
than seeing young, local talent blossom in front of our very eyes.
Success on the pitch meant that better facilities were demanded and in
1905 we bought a field at the end of Heywood Road. Better training grounds and social facilities,
coupled with the formidable force of the 1910/11 squad took us to an
unprecedented P26, W24, D2, not bad for our 50th year even if we do say so
Over the years, Sale FC have featured
many prominent international and County players. Pat Davies became our first England
international in 1927 and the ‘Roaring Thirties’ brought about an international
backline; Hal Sever (England wing), Claude Davey and Wilf Wooller (Wales
centres) and Ken Fyfe (Scotland wing). Fran Cotton, Steve Smith, Dewi Morris,
Richard Trickey and Jason Robinson.
In 1936, we were invited to take part in the Middlesex Sevens Cup and
through pure skill and determination we came away as victors. Suddenly people in the South were forced to
recognise the North West, not just as a Rugby League area, but as a formidable
source of Union players too.
Prior to World War II, an increase in membership meant that the Club had
almost outgrown facilities at Heywood Road and so an additional site on
Woodbourne Road was purchased. Initially
this was meant to be a training ground for the junior team but there were talks
to eventually relocate the rest of the Club there too. Jim Birtles kept the spirit of Sale FC alive
during the war (and for the next thirty years after that!) but when war was
over the desire to develop Woodbourne Road had disappeared and it was instead
decided to focus efforts on the redevelopment of Heywood Road. Land was sold to fund the project and the
ground gradually began to evolve into the home we now cherish and love so much.
A new clubhouse was built, the old bath
house was replaced by squash courts, changing facilities were improved,
floodlights installed and the commemorative ‘Jim Birtles Stand’ replaced the
old bike shed.
The success and growth of Sale FC in recent years has enabled us to
invest even further into our facilities, purchasing land at Carrington for
training purposes. This site is now
regarded as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and is used not only by us but by our professional
friends over at Sale Sharks and even a number of international clubs too.
2011 marked the 150th birthday of Sale FC, we are proud of what we have
achieved so far and look forward to the challenges and successes the next 150
years will bring.
On the field, the first team have had a successful period in recent
times rising from level ten to level three since Sale Sharks left Heywood Road
for Edgeley Park in 2003. Having gained
promotion to National One at the start of last season, we are looking to consolidate
further and to gain another promotion to the Championship as soon as possible.
Off the field, our top quality facilities are important for our
development and growth as a rugby club but also as a part of our local
community. It is the enthusiasm and
dedication of the people at Sale FC that really make us such a great club. From players to our Executive committee,
members, supporters to groundsmen, everyone has an important role to play.
What made Sale FC choose Carrington
for their training ground?
In the early part of the 21st Century the area off Carrington Lane was
being developed into top quality sports training facilities by the two
Manchester Football Clubs. It, therefore,
made total sense to relocate our training facilities from Woodborne Road to
Carrington as well.
Have you been happy here?
Yes, our training grounds offer a great environment for our players, giving
them access to premiership quality floodlit pitches and other facilities to
support their development. This is a key
factor in helping us get to the top of our game and to stay there.
One of the benefits of the Carrington location is the wide-open
countryside around our site. It is a
safe, clean setting, which provides fresh air and a peaceful atmosphere for
players when they are training. With
easy access from surrounding areas, we are able to coach multiple teams, simultaneously,
without impacting the local community.
You gave us permission to put up an
air quality monitoring tube on your site, how will the planned new road impact
The proposed developments in this area will have a massive and
detrimental impact for both our professional sportsmen and our young players,
some of whom are only five years of age.
The outcome of exposure to air pollution is now well researched and
scientists recognise that it not only reduces athletic performance, it can also
put the health of our sportsmen at a higher level of risk. During training, for example, athletes typically
take in as much as 20 times more air than a person at rest, so this means that
they would be exposed to 20 times more pollutants as well.
While the effect of air pollution on athletic performance is a concern,
the impact of air pollution on the short- and long-term health of athletes is an
even greater worry. With this in mind,
we are keen to support the Friends of Carrington Moss in their campaign preserve
and restore Carrington Moss, rather than building roads and housing alongside
the training grounds.
Do you have any other concerns about
the plans for development?
There has been very little communication and discussion about the plans,
which will, as I have already mentioned, have a massive and detrimental impact on
the club. The initial plans published
show that a roundabout, to facilitate the new road, will be constructed right
on the end of our land and may even encroach on it. This would mean the loss of one of our pitches
which would reduce our ability to provide facilities to as many people as we
currently do. Even if the planned road
is alongside our pitches, rather than on our land itself, given the expected
impact to the health and well-being of our players, we feel strongly that this
should have been discussed with us BEFORE these plans were published.
So, in summary, the proposed Carrington developments would impact the
club’s ability to grow further and will hamper the positive contribution we
look to make to the well-being of the people in the local area.
So, what does the future hold for
We are aiming for the top. We have
a very strong team, with some new signings for the new season. The club are looking to grow and develop for
the benefit of our members, our players and for our local community as a whole.
The Carrington site is vital for that
growth, as this is where our circa 250 young players learn all about rugby and
the individual benefits the sport brings.
We are really looking forward to the presentation from David Reeves, Reserves Management Coordinator for Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Northern Group at our AGM on 17th August. We hope you will come along. David will be talking about the Sites of Biological Importance (SBI) on Carrington Moss, which have long been recognised by Trafford as crucial for their ecological value.
a very forward-thinking Trafford Council documented the Wetlands at
Carrington Moss as an SBI in their Unitary Development Plan (UDP) of 2006
and recognised the importance of “The protection and enhancement of the
moss land as a carbon sink to mitigate the effects of climate change”
back in the Core Strategy of 2012, before other Authorities were even talking
about climate change!
Core Strategy, the Authority identified “The protection and enhancement of
the sites of nature conservation and biological importance, including the
Carrington Rides” as a condition which MUST be satisfied in order
for development to take place in the area.
Trafford’s Landscape Strategy of 2004 the document noted that “The Council has
completed a Landscape Assessment of the Borough’s open land and has identified
seven different landscape types that it wishes to seek to preserve and enhance”. One of those Landscape
Types was the Mossland at Carrington Moss. This document also mentions that the Mossland “forms
perhaps the oldest remaining landscape feature in the Borough. It is invaluable archaeological evidence on
how the landscape and climate has changed over the centuries”.
The Landscape Strategy talks about the “unique”
characteristics of Carrington Moss and the mossland ditches are described as “important
areas of ecological value”. It states
that any development in the area should conserve and enhance the structure of
the Carrington Rides. Again, way in
advance of current thinking, Trafford suggested the establishment of
traditional wildflowers next to ditches and fields. One of the key proposals in the Landscape
Strategy was the conservation and enhancement of the open aspect and views
which were considered to be “important characteristics of the area”.
UDP of 2006 included the Carrington Rides in the list of features the Council
would seek to “retain, protect and wherever possible, enhance”. They
are described as a Local Nature Conservation Site. That document also identified the Carrington
Tree Belts as one of the areas in which the Council would seek to “consolidate
and strengthen the effectiveness of the wildlife corridors”. The UDP states that “Local Nature
Conservation Sites were identified by Trafford Borough Council as a result of a
habitat survey carried out by the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, to a
nationally approved method and updated by local knowledge”.
Testament indeed to the level of importance Trafford has placed on Carrington Moss in the
Yet now, here we are, trying to persuade our local politicians that they should not put up to 10,000 houses and several roads across it. What has changed???
Well for a start, in 2012 Trafford estimated that Carrington could deliver 1,560 homes, now the GMSF plans to eradicate the carbon capturing peat moss and build a minimum of 6,100 homes (and up to 10,000) on it. This level of increase is not only illogical, it is unsustainable. It conflicts with the strategic aims of the GMSF, the Trafford declaration of a climate emergency, the GM 5 year Environment Plan, and a number of other policies and strategies.
for some of our politicians, the protection and enhancement of the sites of
biological importance, including the Carrington Wetlands, a grade A SBI, is no
longer considered as important today as it was just a few years ago!
residents, however, the importance of this wonderful green space has increased
due to recognition of the potential affect of climate change and the health impact
of air pollution.
This breeding and feeding ground for more than 20 red listed (globally threatened) birds and a number of endangered wildlife species, will instead be largely built on (roads and houses)
Who will benefit ………..?
We are not anti-house-building, and we do recognise there is a housing crisis, so are these plans focused on those who are in dire need of housing?
Are there development obligations that ensure the people of Trafford who need homes are considered first?
How expensive will the new houses be? How will Trafford ensure the required minimum 30% affordable homes will definitely be built?
Are there development obligations that prevent the new homes being sold (often off plan) to foreign investors?
And something topical for this week, Carrington Moss is a flood plain, what will happen to all that water – will we end up with floods in new or existing homes?
The planned new road(s) will create significant levels of additional air pollution in the area, affecting the health and wellbeing of residents, users of the sports facilities and users of the Transpennine Trail.
Currently residents are able to use this free local amenity for walking, cycling, horseriding, nature spotting and bird watching. Oh yes, the GMSF suggests a green corridor is planned, but most of it appears to be on land that residents cannot routinely use. The sports fields of Manchester United and Sale RFC, for example, some of which are actually synthetic. To be clear, we are not criticising the sports clubs for this, but we do not believe the Authority should be classifying artificial grass as a “green corridor”! How does decimating this fantastic local amenity benefit residents?
Did you know Trafford declared a climate emergency back in November 2018? Well, the plans are to build housing and roads on a peat moss which has been capturing carbon for thousands of years, so we will actually be releasing hundreds of thousands of megatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere! Does that sound like it meets the requirements of a declaration of a climate emergency?!
current A6144 road is busy during rush hour, not at other times of the day, so why
do we need a new road as a priority? Is
there a commitment to more public transport for this area? Not in the strategy
documents that have been published so far.
Absolutely no commitments to anything but the Relief Road!
And the new road(s) across Carrington Moss (the GMSF indicated more than one road) will be a great additional shortcut for people from outside the borough. Given the amount of additional traffic (and no public transport improvements, no park and rides, no trams) – will it resolve or exacerbate congestion issues! The recently built A555 (Airport Relief Road) is an example from elsewhere in the region, but, of course, that has been closed due to flooding ………..
With all that industrial and warehousing space in New Carrington (between 410,000 and 900,000 square metres), the anticipated 400 – 600 lorries per day (24×7) will bring even more traffic and pollution to the area.
Some of the terrain is Grade 2 agricultural land – which means it is perfect for growing the crops we need to eat (I won’t mention the “B” word, but this may become particularly important after we leave), locally sourced and sold, reducing our carbon footprint – but no – the fields will be built on!
Wildlife & Birds?
about those endangered creatures, whose habitat is this SBI, will they benefit
from these decisions? Sadly, many will
undoubtedly die because their habitat has been fractured or eliminated. Some may have already been moved several
times because of the development programmes in the area. Some ecologists involved in planning
applications appear not to have the interests of wildlife and birds at the
heart of their aims and objectives. In
one recent planning application, an ecologist’s report appeared to suggest that
red listed birds can just relocate to nearby fields when their homes are
destroyed. Experts will know that the
birds need to fight for their territory, fight to protect their young and fight
to secure sufficient food to feed themselves and their families. So, it is not just a case of “Open arable fields
in the wider area” providing “suitable habitat” for the displaced red listed
birds whose feeding, roosting and nesting habitats are expected to be destroyed!
These endangered wildlife and red listed birds are already struggling, here are just a few examples of the challenges some of the creatures you will find on Carrington Moss are facing (images courtesy of the web pages mentioned below):
the water vole – which has “undergone one of the most serious declines of any wild mammal in Britain during the 20th century” (https://ptes.org/get-informed/facts-figures/water-vole/) – between 1989 and 1998 “the population fell by almost 98%!” Research led by the Wildlife Trusts indicates there has been a 30% decline in water vole populations since 2006, which represents an approximately 3% loss in populations per year.
bats – many bat species are vulnerable or endangered as a consequence of loss or fragmentation of their habitat, diminished food supply and destruction of their homes. According to https://www.bats.org.uk/ “bat populations have declined considerably over the last century. Bats are still under threat from building and development work that affects roosts, loss of habitat, the severing of commuting routes by roads“. The brown long-eared bat which has declined by 31.3% since 1999 (a 2.2% decline per year).
the common toad – many of our once common amphibian species are in acute decline, including the common frog, common toad and natterjack toad. Recent research has shown that common toad populations have declined across the UK by 68% over the past 30 years, which approximates to a 2.26 % decline per year. The reasons for the decline in the common toad are similar to those affecting hedgehogs including habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution and climate change. https://www.froglife.org/2018/03/23/amphibian-and-reptile-declines-uk-perspective/
Especially as the ONLY commitment in the GMSF and the GM Transport Strategy 2040 for this area is a new road. A new town is being planned, yet no trams, no commitments to additional bus services (everything but the new road is subject to business cases and funding).
Given the size of the industrial and warehousing area (planned to cover the remaining brownfield site in Carrington), we have estimated that the road will be used by between 400 and 600 lorries per day (24×7 – based on estimates from previous planning applications for this site). Add to this the 20,000 plus cars which will be needed by those living in the new homes to be built (because there will be insufficient public transport) and the induced through traffic……..
… the impact on our air quality will be phenomenal!!!
As there is no monitoring of the air pollution in this area by Trafford, despite its proximity to the M60 and the airport flight path, the Friends of Carrington Moss Committee began our own monitoring on 1st June, to provide baseline figures before any new road(s) or housing developments are built. This will increase our knowledge of the environmental impacts effecting the area and we took the opportunity to catch up with local subject matter experts, Peter Bagnall of the Breathe Clean Air group and Sue Huyton of the Clean Air Parents group. Here is what they told us.
FOCM: Hey Peter, which air pollutants should we be measuring?
Peter: Well there are a number we could measure in addition to the Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) that you have started to monitor. I’d be happy to come along and measure very small Particulate Matter (PM2.5), the Air Quality Index (AQI) and Carbon Monoxide (CO2) on a regular basis. That will help you to build up a picture of the current baseline in terms of Air Quality in the area.
FOCM: So, we have started to monitor Nitrogen Dioxide, what is it and what does it do?
Peter: NO2 is part of a group of gaseous air pollutants emitted by road traffic and other fossil fuel combustion processes. In the air it contributes to the formation of other pollutants such as Ozone, Particulate Matter and Acid Rain and it damages your health by causing reduced life expectancy, chronic respiratory issues and cardiovascular problems. It has also been linked with depression, anxiety, autism, dementia, cancer and birth defects, to name just a few other conditions.
FOCM: Are the other pollutants just as dangerous?
Peter: Particulate Matter in the air with a diameter of 2.5 micrograms or less (PM2.5) is considered to be the most hazardous pollutant to human health. It is also emitted from diesel engines and the combustion processes. It is carcinogenic and can be absorbed into the bloodstream by the lungs. TMBC do not monitor PM2.5 anywhere in Trafford and the nearest site that does is the DEFRA automatic site in Eccles (https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data-plot?site_id=ECCL&days=7).
FOCM: We put up our first diffusion tubes on 1st June to measure the NO2 in this area, tell us about the process.
Peter: It can get a bit technical but in essence, the diffusion tube is a passive sampler which measures the pollutants in the air. The results are provided by specialised laboratories who use Government regulated methods. For those who are interested in more detail, it is a plastic tube containing a chemical reagent to absorb the pollutant to be measured directly from the air (they are also known as Palmes-type nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes). The absorbent used is triethanolamine (Tea Water). Stainless steel grids at the closed end of the tube are coated with a water based solution of this absorbent. Diffusion tubes are classed as an “indicative” monitoring technique and can carry as much as 25% uncertainty compared to the Automatic Ambient Monitoring apparatus which uses the Chemiluminescence method as employed by DEFRA and local Councils. When we come to recording your results, we will take this bias into account in the reporting.
FOCM: Are there any legal limits for gases like NO2?
FOCM: Are there any current legal claims related to the health effects of Air Pollution?
Peter: There have been many cases related to air pollution and the damage it causes to human health. They have previously been about stopping incinerators and biomass plants being built. There is currently a case in the London Inquest Courts relating to a young child named Ella Kissi-Debra who died as a result of an Asthma attack caused by regular exposure to air pollution. This is still on-going and, due to more information becoming available, the courts have awarded a new inquest https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48132490. Other countries are also facing legal action as a consequence of the impact of air pollution on their residents’ health https://www.france24.com/en/20190528-mother-daughter-sue-france-over-ill-health-air-pollution.
FOCM: And Sue, tell us about the Clean Air Parents Network, it sounds like a fantastic initiative, what are your key activities?
Sue: The Clean Air Parents’ Network was established just over a year ago to connect parents, carers, grandparents, who are concerned about how air quality impacts their children’s health now and in the future. Poor air quality has a greater impact on children’s lungs. They breathe faster and are more active, taking in proportionally more toxic air which can cause asthma and stunt lung development , contributing to the long term conditions that Peter refers to when they become adults. We connect parents on a number of levels, within City regions (my main focus is Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham), this can be existing clean air parent groups, helping to set up new groups or linking individuals campaigning on their own! We also connect people from across the country to each other, so there can be shared learning and support. Ultimately though, we want to get parents involved in campaigning to clean up the dirty air. This can be locally, regional or nationally. We focus on getting the dirtiest vehicles of the most polluted roads primarily and that’s why my work focuses on areas that have been mandated by the Government in their drive to introduce Clean Air Zones.
FOCM: It would be great to work with both yourself and Peter going forward – there is lots to do isn’t there?
Sue: There certainly is. Where I think the way we can work together is for me to promote your campaign to our local members, provide some information and expertise around air quality. We can also provide links to other organisations that could do more locally based work and bring in the wider British Lung Foundation (BLF) and Client Earth (CE) knowledge base and connections. The Clean Air Parents’ Network is a partnership between BLF and CE, so we are close to the national policy makers and influencers.
FOCM: It is all very topical at the moment, are you managing to influence decisions at a national level?
Sue: Our influence can be local, regional and/or national. We want to have a huge number of parents to demand that Government complies with the law on air quality and adequately funds local authorities to implement robust enough measures to do this.
FOCM: Fantastic, what’s next?
Sue: Well, here are the details of some events we are running in Trafford in June: Come and join members of the Clean Air Parents’ Network from Trafford for a free screening of the film “Fighting for Air”, followed by a Q&A session with panellists from health and the environment, including: – Eleanor Roaf, Acting Director of Public Health, Trafford Council – Dr Patrick Carrington, Consultant Haematologist, Trafford General Hospital, University of Manchester Hospital Trust. – Transport for Greater Manchester (tbc) – Chair, Sue Huyton British Lung Foundation and Clean Air Parents’ Network Learn more about air quality in Trafford, how it impacts your children’s health, and what we can do locally and nationally for clean air for our children to breathe with healthy lungs.
Sue: Have a look at our website and sign up to our network for regular updates and opportunities (www.cleanairparents.org.uk). We are also on facebook @Clean Air Parents’ Network.
Well it was fascinating to talk to Sue and Peter, they both have so much expertise and knowledge that we know will be useful as we move forward. In the meantime, we’ve been doing a little research of our own and we think the Human Rights Act needs to be updated to be more specific. We’ll be campaigning on this in the coming months.
Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 is the Right to Life and this already requires public authorities to “consider your right to life when making decisions that might put you in danger or that affect your life expectancy”. So, based on the evidence now available which shows the impact on human life expectancy from air pollution, it can be concluded that constructing new roads across Carrington Moss will impact the Human Rights of those whose health (and life expectancy) will be affected!