Looking under the covers of the GMSF (Part 1)
There is still a lot of misinformation being circulated about the plans for Carrington Moss and the justifications for those plans. Some people are mentioning that the net loss of green belt since the 2016 iteration of the GMSF has been reduced by over 50%. This is indeed great news. But not for Trafford!!! In Trafford the reduction of net loss of green belt is only 22% and in New Carrington it is only 20%. What?
To achieve an average reduction in net loss of green belt of 50% across Greater Manchester means that other Authorities in the region reduced their net loss of green belt by much more than 50%. Is this fair? Well, maybe it would be if Trafford had a higher than average proportion of green belt to start with. But we don’t! Trafford currently has the lowest proportion of green belt in the whole of Greater Manchester (other than the city areas of Manchester and Salford). The Regional average of land designated as green belt is almost 47%, whereas Trafford’s designated green belt is only 37%. So much for equity across the Region!
The GMSF states that, once approved, nearly 45% of Greater Manchester’s land will be Green Belt but not in Trafford! We will have only 34.3% Green Belt.
Whilst we recognise it would be impossible to arrange an even split across all the districts, there was an opportunity over the last two years, whilst the GMSF was under a detailed review, to at least redress the balance – instead Trafford languishes significantly below its peers at the bottom of the table. For the citizens of Greater Manchester, many of whom live in an increasingly polluted urban environment, the countryside on their doorstep is essential. It is the place where they go to ‘chill out’, to escape the stresses and strains of modern life, whether walking, cycling or horse-riding, whether nature-spotting, bird-watching or just giving their mind a break. For the residents of Trafford, reducing the green belt by over 350 hectares (which includes the Timperley Wedge reduction) significantly impacts the space available for these health and well-being activities and, of course, also decimates the breeding and feeding grounds of red listed (globally threatened) birds and endangered wildlife species.