Much of Carrington Moss is still a wetland moss, which is full of peat. Peat is made from layers of dead plant material. We think the peat is very deep on Carrington Moss because it has been forming for thousands of years. Peat ‘grows’ by only a millimetre a year. A 10 metre deep peat bed takes 9,000 years to form. Peat is spongy and moves a lot when you walk on it.
Peat mosses are very important for plants, wildlife and bird species. On Carrington Moss we have over 20 red listed birds. This means they are globally threatened and each year there are fewer of these birds than there were the year before. There are also some endangered wildlife (like water-voles, which is one of the most endangered species on the Earth, it is under serious threat from habitat loss and predators). The combination of wet and dry areas on Carrington Moss means that we get lots of different kinds of plants and insects compared to, say, a garden at someone’s house.
The great thing about peat is that it helps to capture the carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas which is created whenever people or animals breathe out. It is also created when things are burnt. CO2 is a greenhouse gas which helps to keep the heat in the atmosphere of our planet, which we need to live, but ……….. there is a problem! Scientists think that there is now too much heat and too many greenhouse gases are now causing a rise in the temperature of the Earth’s surface. They are calling this global warming and it is causing our climate to change.
CO2 is created when people burn oil or coal, when they drive their cars and when they fly in planes. Since the Industrial Revolution, which began around the 1750’s, people have changed the way things are made. Instead of making things by hand, things began to be made by machines in factories and these factories also released lots of CO2 into the atmosphere. Instead of using horses for transport, people now use cars and planes.
So more people on the Earth, more machines (including cars and planes), more factories means too much CO2! We need to make changes!
Luckily plants use CO2 to make their food. Trees and plants store CO2 in their bodies and in their roots. So we need to plant more of these (not cut them down). Areas like Carrington Moss are very, very important because they help to capture the carbon in the atmosphere and they keep it underground in the peat. We should be restoring, preserving and retaining all the peat mosses to help ensure our planet does not get too warm for people to survive.
This is why it is so important that we do not build houses or roads on Carrington Moss. It is also, of course, an important green space for the wildlife, the birds and the local community, who walk, cycle or horse-ride on it. People go there to do bird watching, nature spotting and, sometimes, just to chill out and feel better.
We are sure everyone involved
in Extinction Rebellion recognises that they are not the first to use the
strength and energy of the public to achieve their goals against the powerful
political and landowning elite. We
recently interviewed the Footpath Secretary of the Ramblers Trafford Group and
she reminded us of the local hero involved in the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass.
FOCM: We didn’t realise there was such a local connection
with the Trespass, tell us more!
June: Well Benny Rothman, who was one of the leaders, actually lived in Timperley, I think his house now has a blue plaque. It was the efforts of those involved in the Mass Trespass that inspired the formation of the Ramblers Association. Then as now, the countryside represented an escape from daily life, particularly for those who do not have access to green spaces. Over the last sixty years the Ramblers have played a pivotal role helping secure the footpath network in England and Wales. We protect the places people go walking and believe in protecting people’s ability to enjoy the intrinsic values of nature.
FOCM: We are lucky in Trafford to have Carrington Moss as
a local place for walking, cycling and horseriding. We don’t have to get in a car to find it, it
is on our doorsteps. Why is it important
June: Trafford Ramblers organise led walks every week. We have over 200 members of all ages and abilities and Carrington Moss has a number of very safe, and free, walking routes the public can use. The big problem is that most of the land is privately owned, and, if the routes are not formally recorded public rights of way, the landowners could restrict access in the future. Many people have been using these footpaths, not just for regular exercise but also as a way to soothe their emotional challenges, so they are an important asset, often better than a prescription!
FOCM: The existing routes are not all public rights of
way are they?
June: No, and the problem is that, if a landowner just allows the public to walk on a path, they can withdraw permission at a moment’s notice and the path can no longer be used by the public. So we need as many of the footpaths to be formally recorded as public rights of way, as possible, rather than to keep the status quo with the permissive paths we have today.
FOCM: So what can we do – can our members help?
June: We are really keen to get the paths onto Trafford Council’s Definitive Map, this would mean the footpaths are protected in law and future generations would still be able to use them. We’d like users of the existing footpaths to help us with our claims for public rights of way. So if your members have been using the routes across Carrington Moss and have not yet completed a user evidence form, please ask them to email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can make our claims on the grounds that the public has established a right of way by using these routes, on an uninterrupted basis, for over 20 years. That does not mean that the people who have used these routes, or parts of them, must show they used them every day, nor that the same person has used the routes over the whole 20 years. Regular use by a range of individuals to these overall routes, over the 20 year period, is sufficient. So, partial use of the way, or occasional use only over a limited period of time will be helpful in supporting our claim.
FOCM: Brilliant, we will remind them again about that. I
think I have seen your group maintaining the routes across Carrington Moss too?
June: Yes, Trafford Ramblers has an active Footpath Team who monitor and help maintain local footpaths and Rights of Way. Some walk local footpaths and check that the paths meets the standards laid down by Trafford Council. We also have small teams maintaining paths by cutting back obstructing vegetation, repairing natural surfaces and placing waymarks (yellow circles with black arrows) where needed. We work out of doors, all year round and we are always looking for more volunteers for this, so if any of your members are interested, we would love to hear from them.
FOCM: I think I saw the team on the Transpennine Trail,
it is a key route across Carrington Moss.
June: Yes, it is an important part of our landscape. I believe HIMOR, who own the land at the Carrington Moss part of the TPT, have said that they will renew the lease for the TPT, which is great news. They have also said they will not object to our recent claim for a public right of way on Birch Road, which is another key route across Carrington Moss.
FOCM: Yes, in fact, HIMOR would be keen to have a
workshop with us about the public rights of way across Carrington Moss, can you
June: Try and keep me away, am looking forward to it!
Fed up of sitting in traffic in the rush hour? You are not alone!
So what is the answer?
We do not think so!
Let’s get to the root cause of the problem! In this area, most people NEED to have a car because our public transport is so poor and local roads are so dangerous, and highly polluted, for those who would like to cycle or walk.
Good Public Transport Accessibility is a myth for Partington, Carrington and Sale West. The Good Public Transport Accessibility GMAL 2018 map shows the gap clearly.
Isolation is the result for those who do not have access to a car, or the confidence to use other options.
So, what is being done about this?
Well, in the Greater
Manchester Transport Strategy 2040, for this area, there is only ONE COMMITMENT and that is for a new
road! A new road, for which there has
been NO consultation. A new road that will have cope with the
existing traffic, an estimated 20,000 plus new cars AND between an estimated 400 and 600 lorries a day – yes, PER DAY, 24 x 7!!! There will also be a huge inflow of traffic from outside the borough, because
people will use the route as a shorter, or quicker, way to get from various
places in Cheshire to Manchester, and back again. So, if this road does go ahead, expect a
massive increase in air pollution and the associated chronic illnesses,
impacting local residents and users of Carrington Moss!
a new road is built, new traffic will divert onto it. This well-known and
long-established effect is known as ‘induced traffic’. Induced traffic means that the predicted
congestion benefits of a new road are often quickly eroded. Traffic levels on bypassed roads can also
rise faster than expected due to induced traffic, all of which means the
hoped-for benefits of a new road can evaporate very quickly. The phenomenon of induced traffic has been
observed by transport professionals repeatedly since 1925! And recent authoritative reviews have
confirmed that induced traffic is still beating forecasts on new roads across
So basically, New Roads Create New Traffic!
What about the alternatives?
Well let’s take a closer look at the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 ……………..
The Vision for 2040, as set out in the Delivery Plan 2020-2025, states that Greater Manchester aims to “improve our transport system to support a reduction in car use to no more than 50% of daily trips, with the remaining 50% made by public transport, walking and cycling. This will mean a million more trips each day using sustainable transport modes in Greater Manchester by 2040.”
Very laudable, but how will this aim be achievable if, as
an example, in the largest allocation in the GMSF (i.e. the New Carrington
development), the only commitment in the
next 5 years is to a new road? In
fact, the GMSF indicates that there will be several new roads across Carrington
Despoiling the peat bog to create these new roads would release hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere and would prevent this habitat from continuing to capture carbon in the future. The Friends of the Earth describe our peat bogs as “a natural ally against climate change” (sign the Friends of the Earth Protect Peat Moss Petition here). In addition, the breeding and feeding grounds for a large number of red listed (globally threatened) birds and endangered wildlife species would be decimated. The agricultural land, which we may need in the future to grow food to feed our population, would no longer be available. Health problems would be caused or exacerbated for local residents and users of Carrington Moss as a result of the significant increase in air pollution. Road transport is responsible for 80% of NO2 pollution at the roadside, where it is most damaging to health.
What about public transport improvements, though! Surely there are some set out in the Transport
Strategy? Well, during the next five
years, business cases will be
completed for some limited new bus services in the area (see graphic below). So, IF
the business case is proven, and IF the
funding can be found, we MAY get some
new bus services! Not exactly a
commitment then, unlike the road!!! There
is NO mention of even one Metrolink stop
for the “only opportunity in Greater
Manchester to deliver a new settlement of significant size” (i.e. the New
Carrington development)! There are NO park and rides planned to reduce the
traffic from outside the borough, which causes so much of the congestion
problems in the area.
What about the commitments to improve the traffic free routes – NO, nothing in the GMSF, let’s hope for improvements through the extensive work of our fabulous local walking and cycling groups!
What can we do?
Is the problem just on Manchester Road/Carrington Lane? No, in the rush hour, every road, everywhere
is busy. You can be nose to tail for
miles and miles. So does this mean we
should build “relief roads” everywhere – of course not!. Manchester Road/Carrington Lane is not busy
at other times of the day, and, given the impact of climate change is now
recognised (and, in Trafford, our politicians have been very forwarding
thinking on this), surely it would make more sense to prioritise public
transport improvements. Yet Trafford
officers are currently seeking the funding for this committed road! NOW, before ANY consultation has taken place.
We do not believe that increasing the road network in the area will add any value to existing residents, will significantly impact their health and well-being, and will, undoubtedly, lead some people to seek compensation as a consequence of these new roads causing or exacerbating health problems. The Friends of Carrington Moss Committee have, therefore, created a petition which requests that Trafford does not approve new roads but, instead, agrees to focus on making significant improvements to our public transport network and our walking, cycling and horse-riding routes.
With your help, we’d like to change the current plans. So download our petition and help us to collect signatures, today!