Search Results for: petition

Presenting our petition to Trafford Council

On 13th October 2021, our Secretary, Anna Chopping, stepped right out of her comfort zone to present our petition against the Council constructing roads across Carrington Moss. We have set out her presentation in this blog, along with a link to the short debate held by Trafford Council.

Anna Chopping:

I’d like to begin by explaining that I am actually going to be reading my five minute presentation because I am here, not for my skills or natural talent for public speaking I’m afraid, but as a Mum of three, as the Secretary for the Friends of Carrington Moss, and as a resident of Carrington Village

I am here to speak on behalf of many other residents and families who have signed this petition (1,632 in fact). We are local people, and these signatures represent a community that is feeling voiceless and overwhelmed by this tidal wave of development in our area; it’s challenging just keeping up with the sheer number of planning applications, and it feels hard to be heard above the noise and scale of development – so I thank you firstly for this opportunity to present our petition today.

I would like to draw your attention to three main points that we are asking for your understanding and consideration in the debate;

1. We are asking for more consultation,

2. We are asking for genuine alternative options to the building of roads across Carrington Moss, and

3. We are asking for more consideration of the environmental impact of this road proposal in the wake of our climate emergency

So firstly, we are asking for a seat at the table, we actually want involvement in the design stage of plans for our locality. Local people feel powerless, fearful, and angry that planning and development feels to be carried out DESPITE rather than FOR community members.

Thus far, there has been no consultation with the community regarding the strategic agenda for the Carrington Relief Road. Our village is desperately seeking a STOP to the huge number of HGVs on the road through our village, but this proposal for the CRR does not promise to deliver any benefits or ‘relief’ to residents suffering with this daily hammering of HGVs on their houses and stress levels. The Scheme Objectives for this road are not about prioritising the improvement of health, wellbeing or basic safety of local residents and even schoolchildren who will be impacted… the key objective is about increasing capacity to deliver growth – more construction, more industrial warehousing, more housing and crucially – MORE traffic; including induced traffic.

So, what about alternative options?

There appears to be no discussion or prospect of any tram connections, no option or prospect of any train connections with New Carrington or Partington – even when there are existing tracks in place?!  How are we to be making safer more sustainable transport choices that allow us to get out of our cars, when the focus is entirely on building more roads, with no actual commitment to improving public transport.

We want more cost-effective, safer, alternative solutions that work for everybody, not this ‘quick-fix’ ‘panic-built’ approach driven by developers. We understand that there is time-limited external funding for the road which is at risk if the scheme is not pushed through to planning now – but this ‘rushed-job’ could end up costing far more in permanent damage… to irreplaceable habitats, to the red-listed birds, endangered wildlife, and to the carbon-capturing scope of Carrington Moss.

The Friends of Carrington Moss have always driven a positive campaign – one that is fuelled by a heartfelt desire to value, protect and, where possible, improve our shared landscape and green space of Carrington Moss, our green-lung.

We are NOT ANTI-DEVELOPMENT, on the contrary; we are passionate about engendering progressive change; we want to regenerate as well as protect these natural assets of Carrington Moss’ – we want to CONSERVE not concrete-over the value of what is on our doorstep.

Our local environment is valued not only by our local community, but also by professional organisations such as the CPRE, Natural England and the Cheshire and Lancashire Wildlife Trusts – and their reviews of the PfE proposals for Carrington are damning. Please read them.

In conclusion we ask you to please allow us a seat at the table, allow us to be involved in shaping and improving our locality by finding alternative options to these proposed roads across our greenbelt.

After all, where else in Trafford can we

  • restore peat to more effectively capture carbon, so our children and grandchildren can breathe cleaner air?
  • grow crops and alleviate surface water risks, so our descendants have fresh food, with a low carbon footprint, and residents are not fearful of flooding every time it rains?
  • increase the populations of red listed birds and endangered wildlife, so we can help nature’s recovery, increase biodiversity and mitigate the impact of climate change?

Thank you.

You can hear the responses of the Councillors here (fast forward to 13 minutes 55 seconds).

Petition against roads across/through Carrington Moss

Fed up of sitting in traffic in the rush hour?  You are not alone! 

So what is the answer?  More roads? 

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!

As soon as this new road is built (before ANY new houses come along), we will see lots of, what the Campaign for Better Transport ( calls, induced traffic!

When 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 the country”.

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 Moss! 

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.

Excerpt from the GM Transport Strategy 2040 Draft Delivery Plan 2020-2025
(with commentary!)

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!

Our Struggle to Secure Robust, Genuine Consultation

At Trafford’s Scrutiny Committee on 12th January 2022, members were given a presentation about the Carrington Relief Road, providing some background to the initiative along with some information about the Option Appraisal for the preferred route, the engagement with the public and the next steps. 

A member of the Scrutiny Committee requested a more balanced representation of the facts.  The Carrington Relief Road documentation does seem to be plagued by the sheer volume of misinformation (see our letter to Trafford’s Chief Executive in February 2020 about the Outline Business Case document).

This is the fifth in our series of blogs which addresses the gaps in the information given at the meeting, providing further details to help members of the Scrutiny Committee and others, when reviewing the proceedings.

This blog focuses on Trafford’s Statement of Community Involvement and resident perception of the “consultation” process.

One of the most interesting parts of the presentation to the Scrutiny Committee was the discussion about public engagement, which many members of the Committee highlighted as a concern. 

One of the aims of the Friends of Carrington Moss is to increase the level of community involvement in decisions related to the future of Carrington Moss, including appropriate levels of timely and genuine community engagement on all planned developments.

Sadly, we have been totally unsuccessful in achieving this goal.  In fact, we’d go further and say that, despite all our efforts, we have not made any difference at all to Trafford’s approach, which is summarised below (this is a recommendation in the Carrington Relief Road (CRR) Update report to Trafford’s Executive on 27th September 2021)

“authorise community engagement and consultations where the Corporate Director deems it necessary or advantageous

Necessary or advantageous to whom?  Trafford has a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI).  Shouldn’t the community engagement and consultations be consistent with that document and with the Gunning Principles (see below), against which any legal challenge regarding the consultation will be measured?

The words of Councillor Aidan Williams (Extraordinary Council meeting, Warburton Bridge Toll decision, 13th January 2022), resonate strongly.  Councillor Williams talked about the “huge amount of effort that has been invested by local people, over a vast period of time, into trying to get MSCC to understand the perspective of local residents regarding the toll bridge.  Unfortunately, those efforts have not been rewarded”.

We, and other local groups, have tried to help Trafford to understand the perspective of residents about the New Carrington development, the CRR and the importance of Carrington Moss, without success!

What does the SCI say?

The opening paragraph of Trafford’s current SCI document states that “The planning system in Trafford should be as transparent, accountable and socially inclusive as possible. There should be as many opportunities for successful and meaningful public participation as there can be. Trafford Council wants to have even more effective community involvement, providing opportunities for active participation and discussions with the community as early in the plan-making and planning application processes as possible.”

Well, there is a lot of work to do before Trafford meets this goal.  We have lots of examples of non-compliance around the whole of the New Carrington development but sticking to the topic of the CRR, let’s look at what we have experienced.

On 8th March 2021, the Friends of Carrington Moss, representatives from the Parish Councils and a representative from Peak and Northern Footpaths society met with two members of the CRR Project Team, having sent a list of questions in advance of the meeting.  None of our questions could be answered but the Project Team did manage to clarify some aspects of the scope of their particular phase of the work.

As part of our feedback, following this “engagement” session, we requested the following:

  • A specific workshop on traffic modelling covering the anticipated traffic levels (including HGVs) from both residential and employment sites, including current volumes and all planned and expected growth
  • An active travel workshop at the earliest stage of the WCHAR process
  • A workshop to discuss the design of the two routes in more detail (we mentioned that we have ideas that will make Option A workable, we said we’d also like to ensure the final report is more balanced and highlights all the environmental issues, the costs and the risks related to both options)

Despite chasing this request with the Amey Project Manager in late March 21, we had no response.  We forwarded the request to Trafford’s Director of Growth & Regulatory Services in June 21 and to the Corporate Director of Place in July 21 and we still have had no workshops and no explanation of why such sessions could not be arranged, despite the SCI confirming (paragraph 3.11) that consideration “will be given to requests for Virtual Stakeholder events”.

Among much more guidance for the consultation process, Trafford asserts (in paragraph 3.1) that it will “carry out appropriate consultation during the preparation of plans and supporting documents” and that “Comments will be invited on what these plans should contain, what supporting evidence there should be, what the key issues are and how they can be addressed. Consultation will take place at early stages of the plan-making process and continue throughout. Any comments that are submitted will be considered and taken into account during the next phase of the plan-making process

These assertions are not what has been experienced by residents in relation to the CRR.  We do not believe our comments have been conscientiously considered, nor taken into account.  As an example, we raised a specific question in our response to the Public Engagement which took place in Spring 2021:

Residents believe improvements can be made to the design of Option A.  How can these be fed into the process?” 

We did not receive any feedback and the decision has now been made by Councillors to move ahead with Option F, despite Officers being fully aware that there could be opportunities to ameliorate Option A (a solution which we believe would result in lower costs for the public purse, be less environmentally damaging and more acceptable to local residents).

This is one of many questions from our response that did not make it into the report to the Executive, discussed later in this blog.  We do understand that Officers are working to challenging deadlines, but it is totally unacceptable that our questions and requests have been ignored by both Trafford and Amey.  There are NO forums for residents to input into the plans for the area.

The SCI document states (paragraph 1.3) that “The SCI will guide all community involvement on planning matters in Trafford, ensuring that people know when, how and for what reason they will be able to take part in plan-making and planning application processes.”

Yet, there was clearly a disconnect between what was publicised and what Trafford presented to the Scrutiny Committee (which stated that “The early public engagement exercise aimed to assist in the selection of a preferred route option, calibrate scheme objectives, and to inform the subsequent development”).  Here, the presentation echoes paragraph 3.4 of the Preferred Option Report (7th August 2021) and the report to Trafford’s Executive (27th Sept 2021).

Scrutiny Committee members expressed their surprise that Trafford’s analysis of the 123 responses revealed that “just 21 respondents expressed a preference between Option A (on-line widening) and Option F (new build)”. 

To be clear, residents were specifically told that responses to the public engagement were NOT expected to include preferences about the route option.  The exercise was limited (as explained in Trafford’s leaflet, their website and their news article) to raising any questions residents had about the CRR and the Option Appraisal process. 

Neither the leaflet, which Trafford confirmed had been sent to 10,000 homes and businesses (despite the spelling error) nor the Trafford news article (produced to accompany the launch of the CRR page on their website) suggested that residents were expected to express a preference in relation to the route options. 

Had residents been aware that route option preferences were expected, there would have been a significantly greater number of responses returned!

This public engagement exercise did not provide any questions for residents to respond to, nor was the “event” published on Trafford’s Consultation Portal.  Trafford’s CRR Options Consultation Report (dated 18th December 2020) stated (paragraph 3.3) that “As part of the consultation stage there will be the opportunity for the public to register questions and concerns that will be collated for consideration as part of the next phase of engagement.”

Note: This was NOT a “consultation” stage and there has been no “next phase of engagement”! 

The leaflet also mentioned the next phase of engagement, suggesting it would be “a series of more focused sessions which will answer your questions”.  There has been a deafening silence since this public engagement event.  No information has been forthcoming from Trafford Officers to the community, no frequently asked questions document has been produced and no responses have been received either to our questions or, as mentioned above, to our requests for workshops.

Importantly, none of the public engagement communications to residents suggested that there will be NO statutory consultation on both routes!

Table 5 of the Preferred Option Report (7th August 2021) included the following question:

Q8. When does consultation period start? More information is required about the next steps in the engagement process, particularly when the Frequently Asked Questions document will become available and when the actual consultation about this road will start? Asked 37 times”.  The response to this question was: “Q8. Not applicable to route option selection.”

This is an inappropriate response.  This question IS applicable to route option selection.  Residents expected to be formally consulted on both routes. 

In another question in the same Table, residents asked:

“Q9. How has the decision-making process been conducted to ensure it is as transparent and unbiased as possible? Has an independent review been conducted? Asked 36 times”

The response to this question was “Q9. The decision process for the preferred option is detailed in Section 1.2. of this report. The preferred option will be determined based on the agreed criteria and the reporting and conclusions will be subject to both Amey and Trafford check and sign off procedures.”

Section 1.2 of the report is a summary of the Route Options.  There is no information about the decision-making process in the report.  This is an important question and the decision-making process should have been transparent to residents and to the Scrutiny Committee.

Trafford’s CRR Options Consultation Report (dated 18th December 2020) stated (paragraph 3.4) that “Once feedback has been collated and categorised, the project team will then host online feedback sessions which tackle individual areas of interest or concern such as traffic congestion, environmental impact, drainage and flooding, and so on.”

Residents have not been invited to any such sessions.  There has been no feedback, online or otherwise.  In fact, there is rarely any contact with Trafford that is not instigated by residents! 

Residents have had no involvement in, or input to, either the creation of the proposals/options or the development of a genuine and robust public engagement approach. 

Trafford’s CRR Options Consultation Report (dated 18th December 2020) stated (paragraph 5.1) that “It is recommended that this proposal be accepted to ensure that an open and fair engagement process with the public is carried out and to give the Council the opportunity of further understanding and addressing issues of concern.”

With all the above in mind, along with the points made below, we DO NOT consider that Trafford established

an open and fair engagement process!

Neither has the Council addressed the issues of concern.  In fact, in choosing the route across Grade 2 best and most versatile land, woodland, wetland and peatmoss, rather than hear resident suggestions about how Option A could be improved, the huge levels of concern about the environmental issues (highlighted by Trafford’s Officer) have been significantly exacerbated.

Other issues remain ignored.  As mentioned in our previous blog, residents have been requesting details of traffic numbers for the area for over 2 years, including as part of this exercise, without success.

Has resident feedback enriched the project?

It is not clear that the engagement exercise itself resulted in any changes to the scheme.  There were some surprising anomalies in the resulting Option Appraisal document.  Some examples are outlined below.

The presentation (and para 3.4 of the Preferred Option Report) also stated that the “early public engagement exercise” calibrated and refined the scheme objectives.  It seems that this exercise has resulted in the removal of the objective to provide “Improved public transport and active travel provision to existing areas which are poorly served and to housing and employment growth areas” which was listed as one of the CRR Objectives in the Engagement Presentation. 

Scrutiny Committee members should ask why this change was made and who requested it!

The report to Trafford’s Executive (27th Sept 2021) stated (paragraph 5.1) that “the public engagement process has enabled Trafford Council to enhance and update the required deliverables, having taken on board the issues that have been raised by the community.”

This cannot be correct because the majority of our questions (21 out of 23) were NOT covered by the summary in the Executive report, nor have we had responses to them.  Our response can be found here.

Furthermore, Table 8 (Other Criteria Summary) of the Preferred Option Report (7th August 2021), includes the following under “Engagement Feedback”:

a preferred option has not been identified from the engagement responses”

The table concluded that “No Clear Preference” for the Option was stated.  An astonishing statement, given that residents were not asked to provide their preference, giving rise to considerable concerns about the bias throughout this Preferred Option Report!  This topic will be covered further in a future blog.

The item in the Table goes on to say “This section does however demonstrate the feedback provided has been considered in the overall preferred option selection and there is a requirement for further engagement and consultation prior to submission of the preparation of the planning application.” 

Yet another incorrect and misleading statement. 

As mentioned above, the majority of our questions do not appear to have been considered, there will be no opportunity for residents to respond to a formal consultation on Option A and a decision has been made about the route without any engagement with residents about their ideas to improve Option A. 

It should be noted that giving the option to ask questions (but not get answers) is not engagement.  Engagement is getting residents around the table, finding out what OUR key objectives are, listening to our proposed solutions and acting on them or explaining why this is not possible!

One of our questions related to the objectives of the CRR.  We asked why protecting the health and wellbeing of existing residents is not the number one objective.  Not only did this suggestion not make it to number one on the list of objectives, it did not even make it onto the list itself!

The report to the Executive continues (paragraph 4.8) with the statement “Every comment received has been evaluated in detail and recorded on a response tracker. Many individuals raised a number of points, so their responses were recorded separately in all relevant categories. The team created a list of 11 “standardised questions”, under which response themes could be allocated.”

Not so! 

We raised questions about, for example, other (more sustainable) options that could have been considered (such as the bridge across the Manchester Ship Canal), dualling capacity and the costings.  We also asked (having recognised that the existing option appraisal is quite basic) when will a more detailed review of both options take place?  None of these (and many others) have been included in the report.

In addition, Natural England’s response had some strong words for Trafford – yet these somehow didn’t find their way into either the report or the presentation to the Scrutiny Committee:

Extract from Natural England response 22nd March 2021 (along with Green Claims Code Principles)

Was Trafford only prepared to include information in the Option Appraisal and Committee Reports that supports their predetermined decision to choose the Option F route?  Again, this is an example of the bias demonstrated in that Option Appraisal report.

It should be noted that we have been raising issues about Trafford’s reporting on the CRR for the past 2 years.  Our letter to Trafford’s CEO (28th February 2020) raised numerous issues, including the lack of engagement with residents.  We particularly highlighted the statement that the project “is expected to be managed using PRINCE2 principles” (paragraph 7, Outline Business Case, Executive Summary, December 2019).  In its methodology, PRINCE2 has specific requirements relating to stakeholder engagement and, as residents should be considered to be THE KEY STAKEHOLDER, we were (and still are) keen to understand who our representative on the Programme Board is.  Once again, we have been unsuccessful in our attempts to solicit responses from Trafford in relation to our questions on this matter.

Up to date evidence?

The SCI mentions (paragraph 2.18) that the “Council’s evidence base contains up to date and regularly monitored information from surveys and evidence gathering exercises. The evidence base helps to inform the preparation of planning policies and the contents of plans. Information contained within the evidence base can also highlight the need to prepare or review a plan. Where appropriate, the Council will seek the involvement of relevant groups and organisations in the development of this evidence base so that it has the most reliable and robust information available.”

The graphic below demonstrates the feedback that has been received to date about the New Carrington allocation, which includes the CRR, and our specific petition against roads being built across Carrington Moss.  Residents have consistently disagreed with Trafford’s proposals, yet there has been NO consideration of alternatives, despite the alternative propositions put forward by residents.

And what about our petition?

Councillor Wright mentioned that “you’ve got to bring the communities that already live there on board with all those new homes and all of that change”.  

Newsflash!  Residents do not feel “on board”! 

As our Secretary said to Full Council on 13th October 2021, “Local people feel powerless, fearful, and angry that planning and development feels to be carried out DESPITE rather than FOR community members.”

Councillor Wright mentioned that the majority of the 1,632 signatories of our petition did not live in Carrington or Partington.  We believe we could have significantly increased the number of signatures further had we not been in a pandemic.  Councillor Wright continued, suggesting that the people who are going to be most affected by the road live in Carrington and Partington. 

This is incorrect! 

Whilst Carrington residents may benefit from the opening of the A1 route (if the existing road is closed to HGVs and through traffic), we do not believe Partington residents will see any benefit from the construction of this road, especially given the amount of traffic it is expected to induce into the area.

The disputed part of the CRR (the part which runs across Carrington Moss) will affect the residents of Sale West the most, especially those with children at All Saints Catholic Primary School, who will be particularly impacted by

huge increases in air and noise pollution

It is Sale West residents who will be impacted by any flooding caused by concreting over this part of the Trafford’s largest Natural Capital Asset, and they could also be impacted by large scale vermin infestation when the construction commences.  

The other populations most impacted by the Option F route are the users of Carrington Moss (including the sports professionals and children who play and train there), the horse riders, cyclists and walkers whose routes across the Moss will be fractured (which could lead to serious accidents) and, again, they will be hugely affected by air and noise pollution.  Of course, nature and wildlife will be impacted too, we will cover that in a future blog.

When presenting our petition to Full Council on 13th October 2021, we asked Trafford to consider:

  1. More consultation, we asked for a seat at the table and involvement in the design of the plans for our locality
  2. Genuine and sustainable alternative options to building of roads across Carrington Moss, and
  3. More consideration of the environmental impact of the CRR, especially given Trafford’s declaration of a climate emergency

We have not been offered any of these things, nor have we been told why they cannot be addressed.  In fact, we have had no formal response to our petition from Trafford at all.

In summary

Given all the issues mentioned above, perhaps the Scrutiny Committee could recommend that Trafford activates the option in paragraph 5.26 of the SCI, which states that “In certain circumstances the Council may decide to undertake Re-consultation”.

In the report to the Executive (27th September 2021), Carrington & Partington Transport Infrastructure – CRR Update, the paragraph labelled “Consultation” suggests that the report “sets out in detail how the public have been engaged so far.”

It should be noted that there has, as yet, been NO consultation about the CRR. 

We are delighted that members of the Scrutiny Committee requested that future consultation proposals are reviewed by Scrutiny Committee in advance of publication.  Perhaps that will signal a change in approach?

And Finally

When it comes to consultation, the courts apply a set of rules known as the ‘Gunning Principles’ to decide whether a consultation is lawful.  These Gunning Principles are considered to be fair to both Consultor and Consultee and are increasingly being used to measure the legitimacy of consultations in legal cases.  

We’ll cover compliance with the Gunning Principles in a future blog.  Legal processes are time-consuming and costly for all concerned, even the winners, so let’s hope such action is unnecessary!

What are our asks?

We set out our key asks in our previous blog.  Without the information we request, we do not believe the Scrutiny Committee can undertake an adequate review of the current proposal. 

For more information about our previous analysis relating to the Carrington Relief Road, please check out the Carrington Link Road page on our website.

What does Trafford’s latest report about the Carrington Relief Road (CRR) mean for affected residents?

Apologies for this long blog but it is a sad day when residents believe their Local Authority’s process is so grossly flawed that they need to take expert advice! The CRR report for Trafford’s Executive Committee (Monday 27th September 2021) is yet another example of a biased report relating to this subject!

Natural England had some strong words for Trafford in their response to the information sharing exercise that took place earlier this year – yet these somehow didn’t find their way into this latest report:

3. Route Options

We note that the full Environmental Scoping Report is not yet available but the Options Appraisal Report states that a desktop assessment has been carried out. We are disappointed that the findings of the environmental desktop study are not fully reflected in the appraisal of the route options. Appendix D contains slightly more information on the environmental constraints but is not an accurate representation.

5.3 Option F Risks

The environmental risks have not been included in this section although they were included in Chapter 5.2 (Option A Risks). We think this presents an inaccurate and unbalanced view of the environmental constraints and it is Natural England’s view that Option F would be considerably more damaging than Option A.

Extract from Natural England response 22nd March 2021

What are we seeking?

We’d like to see the scheme paused until all stakeholders have been appropriately consulted and their views are able to be properly included in the options appraisal

We’d like to see our carbon footprint and the climate emergency taking a more meaningful part of the option appraisal

We’d like to see the options reviewed to allow for less expensive, less environmentally intrusive alternatives to be considered (with entirely separate active travel routes).

What is so wrong with this latest report?

We’ve raised a number of issues below but in summary, what we have looked at is whether two reasonable options have been proposed and whether a fair comparison has been made between those two options.

In short, our key concerns about the Appraisal are:

Our other issues with this report include:

  • Creating active travel infrastructure right next to a road which will see huge numbers of HGVs an hour thundering past, will not only be unhealthy, it will be downright dangerous
  • Trafford’s suggestion that the road may need to be dualled in the future does not accord with the strategic transport aims for GM
  • There is no record that any assessment has been made of the Natural Capital Value of the two routes
  • We believe a detailed review of the costings is needed to ensure this proposal offers good value to tax payers
  • The contingency figure proposed should particularly be reviewed (especially given the recently reported problems with the supply of construction materials), we understand that a considerable number of road schemes are found to run significantly over-budget.

Residents views? 
Actually, we have not been asked which option we’d prefer!

Let’s start with the Engagement process, which has been extremely poor.  Direction is provided in the Department for Transport’s Transport Analysis Guidance, which does not appear to have been followed.

Public engagement should also meet the requirements of Trafford’s Statement of Community Involvement and should be carried out in line with the Gunning Principles (very helpfully summarised by the Local Government Association in the graphic to the right – click to see full screen).  These Principles have formed a strong legal foundation from which the legitimacy of public consultations is assessed and they are frequently referred to as a legal basis for judicial review decisions.

We don’t believe the approach to date has followed these Principles! 

The decision does seem to be predetermined.  

FOCM worked with local Parish Councils to develop a response to the information sharing exercise that took place earlier this year.  We requested several workshops – our requests have been ignored! We raised a number of questions – we have not had any answers!  We were given 4 weeks to respond – we are still waiting for Trafford to come back to us!

What is clear is that Trafford does not consider residents to be key stakeholders nor are they interested in giving ‘conscientious consideration’ to our ideas.  One of the questions we raised in that information sharing exercise (which Trafford has chosen not to include in the document) was as follows

Residents believe improvements can be made to the design of Option A, how can these be fed into the process?  Our ideas for improvement would reduce the impact of land ownership issues and will significantly reduce traffic disruption during construction.

This was our polite way of suggesting that Option A was not reasonable as articulated but that we did have ideas about how this could be addressed. 

Of course, if the aim is to culminate in a decision to choose Option F, it is no surprise that, despite chasing frequently, we have had no feedback from Trafford, so have not had the opportunity to discuss or share our ideas.  As a consequence, the inclusion of Option A remains a tick box exercise!

With this in mind, it is really enlightening that the report suggests (as part of the recommendations) that the Corporate Director of Place be able to:  “authorise community engagement and consultations where the Corporate Director deems it necessary or advantageous.  

Advantageous to whom?  Why isn’t it as simple as saying “we will follow the Gunning Principles in engaging and consulting with residents”?.

It should be noted that the “engagement” exercise held earlier this year was not a consultation.  It was merely an information sharing opportunity, which Trafford suggested would be the “first” event and that a Frequently Asked Questions and Answers document would be made available on the Council’s website in the week after completion of the engagement period, which would then be regularly updated.  This has not happened!

As part of this exercise, some information was made available to residents and they were asked to raise any questions they had about it.  They were not asked to give a view about which option they preferred.  It is, therefore, unreasonable to suggest that residents did not express a preference. 

The document incorrectly suggests that we placed a template on our website, we did not.  We shared the questions that we (and the local Parish Councils) had raised with Trafford’s project team.  Our document did not select a preferred option because we were told this was not the purpose of the exercise.  You can find the document and see the full list of our questions on our website here.

It should be noted that, when they have had the opportunity, residents have repeatedly expressed their preference against this road being constructed across Carrington Moss, not only in the previous GMSF responses but also in our survey, which has been completed by 790 local residents, of whom just 4% support Trafford’s plans and 95% support the FOCM aims.

We also have a petition, signed by over 1,500 local residents against the construction of this road across the Moss which we would like to present to Full Council in October.

In addition to resident signatures, the petition has been endorsed by the following organisations:

Endorsements in the petition against roads being constructed across Carrington Moss

Do the future travel options follow Policy?

The Friends of Carrington Moss (FOCM) has previously raised issues with Trafford about the disingenuous documentation in relation to the plans for this road (which really should have another name, it is not going to relieve anyone).  Our response to the initial Options Appraisal (February 2020) detailed our concerns about the Engagement with residents, the Costings, the Air Pollution, the Strategic Aims for the road and also the Misleading Statements and Factual Errors that permeated the report (as well as other issues).  You can find our letter to Trafford’s CEO here, along with her response and our subsequent feedback.  We still have not had answers to the questions we raised.

It is interesting that the current document states that the “early public engagement exercise” calibrated and refined the scheme objectives.  It seems that this exercise has resulted in the removal of the objective to provide “Improved public transport and active travel provision to existing areas which are poorly served and to housing and employment growth areas”. 

Feedback from FOCM and the Parish Councils suggested that the number one objective should be protecting the health and wellbeing of existing residents.  Sadly, this has not even made it onto the list! 

The traffic figures in the Transport Locality Assessments (part of the GMSF/P4E documentation) have been challenged in terms of credibility. It was also acknowledged in that information sharing exercise earlier this year that the existing road is only busy during rush hour periods (like every other major road in the Country) and prioritising a new major road above public transport improvements is not compliant with Trafford’s Carbon Neutral Action Plan.

More importantly, any decision to go ahead on the basis of this report could also be challenged on the grounds that Trafford has failed to fully take into account its obligations following its declaration of a climate emergency in November 2018. 

With even the Government admitting it must review its road building policy to take into account climate change, it is odd that this document does not reference Trafford’s declaration at all, nor does it mention how it has assessed that, since that declaration, the construction of a road is still an appropriate option.

The report also does not mention that GM’s Transport Strategy 2040 aims to significantly reduce car traffic and move freight onto rail and shipping transport by 2040, less than 20 years away.  So, constructing this road is not in alignment with that Policy, which also suggests that transport investment will follow the Global Street Design Guide hierarchy (it places active travel and public transport first, and people in personal motorised vehicles last). 

Questions should also be asked about why no sustainable options for freight have been considered.  Given Trafford’s approval of overdevelopment in Carrington and the resulting huge number of HGVs on local roads, why has this not been considered a priority? 

Residents have been promised public transport improvements for Carrington, Partington and Sale West since the 2006 UDP (with Trafford reinforcing these promises again in the 2012 Core Strategy). It is, therefore, shameful that, in the largest housing allocation in the whole of GM (as set out within the Places for Everyone documentation), with 6 years’ preparation, there are no sustainable freight options, no plans for trams or trains (even though there is a former railway line running right into Carrington and Partington) and, despite the many disingenuous suggestions in this and other reports, our Freedom of Information Act Request revealed that there are NO commitments to increased bus services for Carrington, Partington or Sale West! 

What about the health and wellbeing of Trafford residents?

There are repeated assertions in the report that the CRR will encourage residents to make healthier life choices and that it will improve the health and wellbeing of Trafford’s residents.  Those people who currently walk, cycle or horse ride on Carrington Moss will have their health and wellbeing severely and negatively impacted by option F.  The professional and amateur athletes that play sports at the Manchester United Training Grounds, the Sale Sharks Training Grounds or the Sale Rugby FC Training Grounds will also be impacted (and sports people themselves have begun to make the connection between air quality and their health 

The World Health Organisation has announced (22nd September 2021) that it is reducing the maximum safe levels of key pollutants with PM2.5: reduced from 10 µg/m3 to 5 µg/m3 (NB the legal limit is 20 µg/m3) and NO2: reduced from 40 µg/m3 to 10 µg/m3 (NB the legal limit is 40 µg/m3). These levels will be phased towards the 2030 target date but this is clearly something that should be considered.

The reality is that wherever the huge levels of 24×7 traffic is directed, there will be a significant increase in air, noise and light pollution.  The obvious answer is to prioritise the reduction of the traffic (ie public transport and sustainable freight), not to move the problem from one community to another which is the current plan. 

Whilst it is positive that the long-suffering residents of Carrington will benefit from HGV traffic being removed from Manchester Road (particularly given the terrible vibrations they are suffering every single day – and night), this could be achieved by simply opening up the A1 route.  It has to be recognised that the air, noise and light pollution will still be there though, and a large number of Carrington residents will still be impacted by the huge numbers of HGVs travelling through the area. The document does not commit to removing HGVs from Manchester Road entirely.

The report mentions in several places that the road will benefit the Partington community, suggesting that the “accessibility of Partington will be significantly enhanced by the scheme” and that it will benefit from “improved sustainable transport access, and to embrace new and improved active travel modes linking to the wider area” but that the impact on Partington traffic is expected to be unaffected by the route option choice.  This is rather odd, given the comments about Option A.  We do not know what sustainable transport access the document is referring to because, as mentioned above, there are no commitments to public transport improvements. We are not convinced Partington residents will see any benefits from this road at all, especially given the planned increase in traffic volumes.

What about the losers?

The obvious losers are the red listed birds and endangered wildlife that have made Carrington Moss their home, the local rural businesses (including agriculture, stabling, livery and their supply chains) that will be heavily impacted and, of course, Trafford’s residents in Sale West will suffer the significant rise in air, noise and light pollution that will be caused by the proposed location of this road.  Sale West residents will also suffer the effect of the construction traffic too. 

The other big losers are the younger generation, who will no longer have access to a huge area of grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land, that could provide future sustainable food sources. 

In addition, it seems there is more work to do to determine whether the route will disturb the peat deposits, and once again, it is the younger generation who will suffer as a consequence of the lack of restoration action. 

Trafford needs to take another look at this initiative to prioritise the actions needed to address the climate emergency!

We’ve set out our high level thoughts on the Appraisal below, but we would encourage you all to look carefully at the information provided. 

Appraisal CriteriaBest Performing Option/Marginal DifferenceKey PointsFOCM Response
Ability to deliver the required network capacityOPTION F  Option F delivers the required network capacity in a less disruptive and more robust manner. It also provides greater network resilience and better access to sites, particularly towards the east of the areaGiven that the Strategy is to significantly reduce car traffic and move freight onto rail and shipping we believe this needs to be reviewed
The ability to create improvements for public transport and active travelOPTION F  Both options will allow public transport improvements, but Option F allows greater flexibility in routing and will allow for more flexible services and provide better journey time reliability for busesBoth options could provide better journey time reliability for buses.
Carbon Budget MARGINAL  Both schemes have been modelled, each resulting in a similar carbon budgetThe carbon comparisons need to be reviewed, we understand PAS2080 has a carbon reduction hierarchy that does not seem to be reflected here.
Road Safety  OPTION F  The directness of the route, the potential for diverting traffic away from already congested areas, the lower number of junctions and reducing traffic on a road which already has a history of collisions makes Option F the better performing optionThis is interesting – in the information sharing paper the document states “There may be speeding and overtaking issues using the whole A1 route due to its long linear alignment”! 
With our suggested modifications to the proposal Option A would be the safer option.
Environment, Ecology and Heritage  MARGINAL  The analysis indicates that there are potential environmental, ecological and heritage impacts with both options. Any scheme taken forward would be subject to a comprehensive statutory process of environmental impact assessment incorporating a wide range of surveys and studiesSee the response from Natural England at the beginning of this blog. Option F has a much greater impact on the environment and the ecology.
Availability of land  OPTION F  For the offline option (Option F), the developer owns the land required and has committed to making it available for the scheme. In order to widen and improve the A6144 Carrington Lane (Option A), there would be a requirement to acquire property through CPO and demolish buildingsThis is based on the biased version of Option A.  Given that our amendments to create a more sensible Option A have not yet been considered this needs to be reviewed.
Geotechnical Assessment  MARGINAL  From information available to date, there is no basis on which to score either scheme differently. There is already physical site survey data available for Option F and analysis of this concludes no adverse issues from an engineering perspectiveObviously, Option A is yet to be assessed.
Drainage and Flood Risk assessment  OPTION F  Overall, from a drainage and flood risk perspective Option F performs better than Option A, with the exception of the requirement for a greater volume of attenuation required. Option F is therefore considered to perform best in terms of drainage and flood riskIf Option F is chosen what guarantees will Trafford provide to the residents of Sale West that their homes will not be impacted by surface water flooding.
The ability to create new landscape or environmental ImprovementsOPTION F  Option F would be the preferred landscape solution as it provides more potential for landscape treatments, recreational areas, more opportunities for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.At the moment, you can stand on Carrington 1 PROW and see right over to the hills 20 miles away, in the future you will be looking at (and hearing) 200 HGVs an hour thundering down a road directly in front of you.  Not the peaceful place of quiet reflection and birdsong that it is today. 
Construction Phase ImpactOPTION F  If the A6144 was widened, this would require a significantly longer construction period and impact more heavily on the network with a higher number of road closures and temporary traffic restrictionsThis response is based on the biased Option A response rather than on a sensible Option A.  In addition, the construction phase impact of Option F on the residents of Sale West will be more than significant.
Assessment of the impact Statutory Undertakers equipmentOPTION F  The presence of existing Statutory Undertaker services running alongside the existing A6144 would present a significant challenge to the option for widening the carriagewayAgain, based on the biased version of Option A.  This should be reviewed following some listening to residents!
FOCM High Level Commentary on the Appraisal

Consultation Responses

Click on the button above for the slides to accompany the webinar discussion 26th May 2022

Both to be published following the Inquiry

Say no! to detrimental Planning reform

An open letter to Sir Graham Brady about the recent Government Consultations

Dear Graham

I’d like to share with you some of the key points from my responses to the Government’s consultation about Planning Reform and some of my grave concerns about the approach the Government is taking, which appears to drive yet more power into the hands of developers.  I apologise for the length of this letter (and for any repetition that may be in it) but I wanted to get all my points over and to ask you to support my request to halt these reforms until the issues I am raising (as undoubtedly are others) are resolved.  It would also be helpful if you could share this letter with your colleagues, the PM and the Secretary of State (SoS).

Overall, the Planning Reforms are extremely biased against communities and in favour of developers.  Clear and significant inequities are boldly exhibited within the proposals and it certainly is not clear how the dominance of large companies has been addressed.  I have set out some examples in the paragraphs below, which are focused on issues relating to housing, but of course, I recognise planning is so much broader than that.

The Government says they “want all communities, families, groups and individuals to have a say in the future of the places where they live”.  Yet the White Paper does not give us that.  In fact, it reduces democracy and citizen input, with residents being excluded from parts of the process or ‘allowed’ to participate at the whim of the Local Authority or the Planning Inspector.  The SoS says “These proposals will help us to build the homes our country needs”, so where is the focus on social housing?  Just stating that the Government supports “inclusive and mixed communities” is not enough.  The White Paper does not demonstrate that it meets the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty.  It does not appear to address the needs of the most vulnerable in our society, including those who share protected characteristics, those who are homeless and those care-leavers who need specific support, ie those who are actually suffering as a consequence of the current housing crisis!  The proposals do nothing for those who will NEVER be able to buy their own home (whatever ‘affordable’ housing schemes are considered).  

Having openly acknowledged (White Paper para 5.17) that the current key beneficiaries of planning gain are developers and landowners, the Government suggests that they be offered even more benefits through these reforms.  There is a proposal, for example, that Local Authorities refund application fees to developers if they do not achieve the new timetable (which will be a real challenge because there appears to be a massive overestimate of the benefits of zoning and a significant underestimate of the administrative burden the Government is planning to impose), yet there is NO charge or penalty to developers if they secure planning permission but don’t ever build any houses.  

The Local Government Association reported, earlier this year, that there are over 1m homes with planning permission that have not yet been built.  It is, therefore, not justifiable to claim that the planning system has failed, as suggested in the PM’s foreword (or blame the newts, as he suggested in his speech of 30th June) and whoever wrote the statement that “too often excellence in planning is the exception rather than the rule” is mixing up planning with development.  A big issue throughout the document but understandable, because we actually have a development system, in which providers have so much influence that the needs of citizens and communities can be ignored, leaving the most vulnerable in our society in crisis and artificially increasing both house prices and land values. 

Despite acknowledging (paragraph 40, Changes to the Current Planning System) that “Not all homes that are planned for are built” (rather an understatement), there is not a single proposal to ‘encourage’ developers to build those outstanding homes and accelerate availability of housing.  An impartial review of current issues would have resulted in such suggestions.  It would be very reasonable to make developers accountable for building outstanding schemes and, in adopting such an approach, there would be NO need for Local Authority targets to meet market housing requirements.  Why hasn’t the Government considered this?

Options for such ‘encouragement’ could include removal of planning permission (thereby reducing the value of the land), compulsory purchase and asking SME builders to take forward approved schemes (addressing another commitment in the White Paper), charging developers a fee for each home with planning permission that has not been built (perhaps equivalent to the Council Tax that would have been incurred had the homes been built to a reasonable timetable).

The SoS says ‘We are cutting red tape, but not standards’ – I beg to differ!  The proposed expansion of Permitted Development Rights to larger schemes is outrageous, given the scandal of the “rooms with no windows”  (and the recently reported flats the size of car parking spaces).  This demonstrates that those same organisations, who are failing to deliver approved developments, cannot be trusted to work without mandated standards in all aspects of a scheme.  Who will benefit from those cuts to red tape?  Oh yes, the developers! 

The proposal that communities have only 14 days to provide their representations on these large schemes is contemptible and is NOT compliant with the Government’s own guidelines on consultation.  Who will benefit from the reduction in the time allowed for public comment?  Oh yes, the developers, once again!

The SoS says the proposals will “recreate an ownership society” – where is the evidence that we need to do this (renting can be a lifestyle choice) and why is this the priority?  The people who would like to buy a property may have challenges but are not typically in crisis!  If the Government is honest about its “levelling up” agenda, it will recognise that the mandated targets for market housing should be agreed with developers in relation to those permissions already given.  The ambition to deliver 300,000 dwellings per annum should be reviewed to determine its appropriateness and updated to require (for the next 5 years as a minimum) that at least 60% of those homes be social housing, supported by a new mandated formula to calculate social housing need for each Local Authority area. 

The House of Commons Research Briefing promises improvements to the planning ecosystem, but the reality, set out in the documents, is somewhat different.  Local communities will ONLY have a voice in the aesthetics of the buildings, not in the what, the where and the when of planning in their area.  This is a huge backwards step from what is set out in today’s Statements of Community Involvement.  The elimination of our democratic right to be involved in planning should not be acceptable to anyone, especially not the Members of Parliament, who represent our communities. 

The Green Belt is not protected, as claimed, it is just subject to the current processes.  Important ecological habitats (including that of the globally threatened newt, and, closer to home, the water vole) will no longer be assured of an Environmental Survey to determine the appropriateness of development.  The Government supposedly have an aim to reverse the decline in nature (not just stop it), yet there is nothing in the documents that suggests support for this aspiration (and promising a further consultation at a later date is not helpful).

The TCPA suggest that “around 90% of applications for planning permission are approved in England”.  Yet there is no mention of this statistic in the very misleading statement that “around a third of planning cases that go to appeal are overturned”.  Of course, whatever the number (presumably around 10% of planning applications), two thirds are not overturned!  The author of this document should be thoroughly ashamed!

The proposal about the simpler national levy seems to be aimed at benefiting developers (again)!  There is nothing in the White Paper that “makes it harder for developers to dodge their obligations” as suggested by the PM.  Local Authorities should influence what is needed in their area, scheme viability should be independently assessed and funding for such an important resource as social housing should be specifically reviewed and consulted upon separately as it is clear registered housing providers cannot meet this need alone.

The White Paper seems to be obsessed with speed and beauty rather than with high quality homes (including provision for those in crisis) and, whilst zero-carbon homes are welcome, the plan to allocate £27b of public money to the construction of (unneeded) new roads should be reviewed.  Both the White Paper and that objective need to be re-written to reflect the post-Covid world. 

Some of the other issues that concern me are the lack of involvement of communities and specialists in the development of these proposals and the lack of opportunity to comment on issues such as costs and the future plans for Environmental Surveys. 

It seems “The Government has welcomed contributions from experts, including Savills and Lichfields” but when organisations such as the Local Government Association, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Institute of British Architects, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Shelter are raising serious concerns about the White Paper, it is extremely alarming.  The opportunity to create a ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ to support discussions about these reforms was not even considered.  Is there not an understanding of the importance of stakeholder involvement? (and let’s be clear – Government Advisers are not stakeholder representatives but maybe they do know a lot of developers!).

The White Paper says “we will streamline the opportunity for consultation at the planning application stage, because this adds delay to the process and allows a small minority of voices, some from the local area and often some not, to shape outcomes”.  Yet the Government purports to recognise communities as key stakeholders.  If this is the case, those “voices” would be considered essential and it should be remembered that the “small minority of voices” are very welcome to the communities they live in (especially for those vulnerable residents who may be unable to articulate their concerns themselves).  Citizens should not be losing their democratic rights because developers are not building the homes which HAVE been approved and do not want to justify their new plans to residents!  Who benefits from the removal of those “voices”?  Once again, the developer!

It is clear that the White Paper does not propose any new rights for community participation, despite the promise to “increase access and engagement”.  In fact it appears to reduce both rights and opportunities and, whilst digitisation will undoubtedly be welcome by many residents, there are also some who will be excluded by this approach and there is nothing to show how their involvement will be retained. 

There was no opportunity to comment on the Government’s assertion that the “cost of operating the new planning system should be principally funded by the beneficiaries of planning gain – landowners and developers – rather than the national or local taxpayer”.  What does this do to impartiality in the system?  This approach could introduce significant bias as there would almost certainly be a perceived obligation to find in favour of the funder.  Questions should also be asked about why is a mere supplier of a product the key beneficiary of planning gain?

The White Paper states that “Processes for environmental assessment and mitigation need to be quicker”.  This is one of the most concerning parts of the consultation, yet there were no questions to respond to about the Effective Stewardship and Enhancement of our Natural and Historic Environment.  Given the declarations of a Climate Emergency (nationally, regionally and locally), environmental and biodiversity protection has to be one of the most important considerations within the overall ecosystem and safeguards should not be abandoned, condensed or limited by the quest for process speed!  And who will benefit from this introduction of simpler systems?  Yes, it is the developer (again)! 

Will it speed up delivery of development projects – NO because there are no penalties for developers if they never deliver!  And, what about that promise to our children and grandchildren that these “reforms will leave an inheritance of environmental improvement – with environmental assets protected” etc – not a hope, given the way the documents are currently written!

Whilst the Conservative agenda for private sector innovation and investment is well understood, this should not put developers in an exalted position and does not preclude access to democracy or the benefits of citizen leadership.  What we actually need is to move to a true Planning System, one that is community-led and demonstrates full accountability for action.  The Neighbourhood Plans are a great starting point.  Many people have volunteered huge amounts of their own time in the construction of these documents.  It is offensive that the Government has not explicitly acknowledged and demonstrated the value of these contributions in the White Paper. 

Digitisation is a great idea and I support this, but anyone in the business will tell you that you do not automate a bad process.  Residents do not just want transparency through technology – we want a say in what happens in our locality.  With this in mind, communities should be identifying what is needed for their area, working with ecologists and other specialists to assess the suitability of their local environment to meet their plans and leading the process!  Developers may be the source of some of the investment, but they should not be driving, they should be taken on our journeys.

Given the level of influence developers have today, it will take time to move to this approach, but we can start by ensuring they are not given the ability to further dominate the planning system.  The Government should give real power to communities instead.  Yes, they will need support, yes there will be challenges and yes there will be costs associated with this approach, but our communities are our heritage.  They should not be given away to organisations whose focus is on their bottom line.

In summary, quite frankly, the White Paper is a poorly constructed, repetitive document which does not deliver the promised benefits and the Changes to the Planning System document is completely focused on the wrong targets and the expansion of an already discredited initiative.  How does the Government expect to make progress in addressing the housing crisis when they are whipping their public servants, punishing their communities and giving carrots to those organisations that cause the problem?

Whilst I agree, the current planning system has its faults, and I am all for progress and change that is beneficial, I do not think these proposals are well-thought-out, and they are certainly not an improvement on what there is today!  I have previously written to you (for onward transmission to the SoS) about the appointment of Citizens’ Advocates.  I believe they would accelerate change, bring considerable improvements to the planning ecosystem, and put communities at its heart.

It is very sad that the Government has not taken the opportunity of these reforms to enable planning to have a huge and positive impact on our communities, but this is a White Paper and it can be amended.  In the meantime, let’s push those developers to build all the homes they already have approval for. 

Kind regards

Marj Powner (Chair)

Carrington Link Road

Have YOU heard of the Jevons paradox?

Click on the graphic to watch this very short, but very appropriate video demonstrating what happens when you open a new road!

Collisions, noise, light, toxins… what could roads and their traffic be doing to our bird populations?

Click on the photo to the left to go to this short video by
Sophia C. Cooke, who has researched this subject.

Raising a formal complaint to Trafford about the CRR process

The Chair of Friends of Carrington Moss raised a formal complaint to Trafford about the CRR process on 9th March 2022, you can read the detailed complaint here. So many issues to highlight, including (in no order of importance):

  • Costs
  • Lack of consideration of resident inputs
  • No consultation
  • Environmental impacts
  • Lack of data/justification
  • A biased Option Appraisal
  • Misleading information
  • Lack of consideration of sustainable passenger and freight transport alternatives

Trafford’s Inclusive Economy and Communities Manager responded on 22nd April 2022, you can read his disappointing feedback here!

Given many of the issues raised were not actually addressed (they were avoided or misdirected), the Chair responded on 3rd May 2022 with a request for the complaint to be escalated to a Stage 2 investigation. You can read the detailed reasoning here.

A response to this request is still awaited and further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Responding to the CRR presentation to Trafford’s Scrutiny Committee

On 12th January 2022, the proposals for the Carrington Relief Road were presented to Trafford’s Scrutiny Committee.  You can watch the presentation and the response from members here.  After that presentation, FOCM developed a number of blogs to correct the misinformation, fill the gaps and provide the viewpoint of the KEY stakeholder – Trafford residents. 

Our work culminated in a detailed analysis of the latest Option Appraisal document about the CRR (see below).  It’s a bit of a long read but we did find 17 points of bias, 14 contradictions, 10 inaccuracies, 19 misleading statements and 23 other issues!

On 9th March 2022, we sent all that information to Trafford’s Scrutiny Committee, copied to all Councillors for information. You can see the short presentation we included here.

Many of our slides link back to further information (including our recent blogs).  If you do not have time to review all of this material, do take a look at links 1 and 2 below.

  1. Our review of Trafford’s CRR Option Appraisal
  2. Our struggle to secure robust, genuine consultation
  3. Traffic Numbers for New Carrington
  4. A summary of the GM Transport Strategy 2040 – what is promised for the New Carrington area?
  5. A summary of the New Carrington Allocation and Places for Everyone – is green belt release needed?
  6. What was promised for Carrington, Partington and Sale West in the 2012 Core Strategy & the 2006 UDP?

The key takeaways are as follows:

  • It should be remembered that Places for Everyone has not yet been approved – and it is a 16 year plan from the date of approval, giving time to develop sustainable passenger and freight transport options, for which both Trafford and TfGM should be providing more leadership, especially given that GM’s Transport Strategy suggests that achieving the Right Mix is expected to lead to zero net growth in motor vehicle traffic in Greater Manchester between 2017 and 2040.
  • We were surprised to see the costs highlighted as £29.4m in the Executive Report (which is less than the previously reported capital costs of £34m – we’d be amazed if the costs have come down!).  The cost figure mentioned in the Option Appraisal for Option F (route across the Moss) is £36m.  The Option Appraisal makes it clear that many of the costs are excluded from this Option F figure, including the cost of dualling, and there are a number of other costs about which we are unclear whether they are in or out!
  • The Public Engagement exercise was limited to raising questions about the CRR and the Option Appraisal process.  It was not a consultation (there were no questions on Trafford’s Consultation Portal and residents were explicitly told it was NOT about proposing preferences regarding the route option).  In addition, most of the questions we submitted were not summarised in the Option Appraisal Report and have not been responded to.  Our requests for workshops have been repeatedly ignored.
  • Natural England’s damning response to the consultation was not highlighted in either the Executive Report or in the presentation to Scrutiny Committee (see the attached pack).
  • There has been a consistent lack of support for the New Carrington development & CRR proposals from residents, yet no forums have been created so we can provide input.
  • Residents believe improvements can be made to the design of Option A and asked (in the Public Engagement exercise) how our ideas can be fed into the process.  NO response was received, yet there could be opportunities to create a solution which would result in lower costs for the public purse, be less environmentally damaging and more acceptable to local residents.

On 27th September 2021, Trafford Council’s Executive Committee approved the route for what they are calling the Carrington Relief Road, despite feedback from Natural England raising significant concerns about the environment impact of this option. You can read our review of the proposals in our blog, here.

On 13th October 2021, the Friends of Carrington Moss presented their petition of 1,622 signatures to Full Council, which was followed by a short “debate” during which a representative from each political Party spoke for around 3 minutes, followed by a summing up by Councillor Andrew Western (Leader of Trafford Council).

During the presentation, the Friends group requested a seat at the table in the design of the plans for the area, invited Councillors to consider the genuine alternatives to the Carrington Relief Road and asked for Trafford’s declaration of a climate emergency to be fully taken into consideration. You can read our full presentation here.

You can hear the responses of the Councillors here (fast forward to 13 minutes 55 seconds).

In early July 2021, we were asked by Trafford/Amey for feedback about the Walking, Cycling and Horseriding implications of the plans for the road. We worked with local Parish Councils and other interested groups such as Peak and Northern Footpaths Society, Ramblers Trafford, horseriding and cycling colleagues to put together the following response, which was submitted on 23rd July 2021.

In February 2021, Trafford made their Carrington Relief Road website available to residents. They commenced an Engagement process (this was not a formal consultation), which allowed residents to raise questions about the Options Appraisal document that had been issued and was referenced on the website. There was also an indication of the timescales for the implementation of the road, which suggested that the scheme would open in Autumn 2024.

The Friends group and representatives from local Parish Councils met with members of the project team on 8th March 2021 to review their priority questions. The input document used at that meeting is available on the button below, the document has used the transcript from the video on the website as a focus for the questions (note that the priority questions, which were raised at the meeting, have been duplicated at the beginning of the document).

Following the decision by the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration (6th January 2021), Trafford published the Carrington Relief Road Options Report, which set out the options being considered and the planned approach to public consultation. The Options Appraisal Report provided more detail about the options and the pros and cons for each.

We encouraged all our members to respond to the consultation (when it begins) and we hope they will object to any routes that suggests the road goes across Carrington Moss. Carrington Parish Council and the Friends of Carrington Moss have proposed a route that takes traffic (particularly HGVs) across the Ship Canal. This would be a much better solution and would support Trafford’s declaration of a climate emergency and their recently published Carbon Neutral Action Plan.

Back in February 2020, we were very disappointed to read the document Trafford shared on their website (an Executive Summary of the Outline Business Case for the Carrington Relief Road).  There has still been no consultation about the need for this road, never mind the route and there is no recognition in the document about the damage to local ecology and biodiversity, the cost to the health and well-being of local residents and the impact on habitats which are the breeding and feeding grounds of over 20 red listed birds and a number of endangered species, including the water vole. In addition, there is no mention at all about the impact of the huge number of HGVs on the health of local residents and the vibration damage caused to their homes. The Return on Investment does not take any account any of these problems, the environmental losses, nor is there any reference to air or noise pollution for impacted residents. 

We held a public meeting back in February and wrote to Trafford’s Chief Executive about our concerns. We also submitted a number of Freedom of Information Act requests to clarify some of the issues we had raised. There is more information about these actions below.

We then began working with Carrington Parish Council to develop our own Community Focused Transport Strategy for the area and have subsequently presented our proposal to other Parish Councils, businesses and Trafford officers. Having held several public meetings to present our ideas to residents, the document has been much improved following their feedback.

We held a public meeting on 25th February 2020, which concluded that we should write to the CEO of Trafford to raise our concerns.  We wanted to understand Trafford’s Strategic Intentions for these roads but also highlighted the risks the roads would bring (air pollution and local flooding being just two of them) and pointing out a large number of errors in the document. 

At the same time, we also raised a number of Freedom of Information Act requests, which gave us access to local authority documents that are not currently in the public domain. 

Because of the Covid pandemic, we did not get responses to either our letter nor the FOI requests until July and both raised more queries.  A detailed response has been made to the FOI documents and further information will be shared as it becomes available.

A further email was sent to Trafford’s CEO and discussions about the road continue with Trafford Officers. 

In the meantime, we have been working closely with Carrington Parish Council to develop a Balanced, Community Focused, Transport Strategy for the area and, whilst we are still awaiting the details of Trafford’s planned consultation events about the roads, we have presented our proposal to them and hope that it will form one of the options to be considered.

Information discussed and presented at the public meeting on 25th February 2020 is set out below. At the meeting we discussed the contents of the Carrington Relief Road document, the options available to us and agreed our next steps.

The first action we agreed was to write to the CEO of Trafford, copying the Leader of the Council and our local MPs. This letter was sent on 28th February.

We continue to gather signatures for our petition against the road, we’d be delighted if you would help us raise awareness about the road and collect more signatures .

We have already been talking to some of the Trafford officers dealing with the plans for the road and they have confirmed that there will be genuine consultation with local residents, which we welcome.

We have asked for more information about the way the project will be structured, the timetable, the communications strategy and the approach for ensuring all risks/issues are captured and mitigated.

The other key issues we raised are set out below:

There is no reference in the document to horse riding, despite there being over 1,000 horses stabled near to Carrington Moss, many of which access the bridleways frequently. 
We have raised a number of issues relating to the financials set out in the Outline Business Case
Hopefully residents will be fully involved in the development of future documentation

Many parts of Carrington Moss are subject to regular surface water flooding.  In fact, we have had very high levels of flooding continuously since October 2019, now extending into Dainewell Woods, leading us to recognise a new feature on the Moss, “Carrington Lake”.  Click here to take a look at some of our photos on our feature page.

It is of great concern to existing local residents that, if building takes place in this location, there will be a severe and regular impact from flooding once our protective habitats are eliminated.  A Local Authority decision which resulted in such a major consequence for existing residents would bring considerable health risks and significant costs.
The emphasis throughout the document is on road network improvements, rather than seeking ways to reduce the reliance on the car.  This is inconsistent with the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040, which aims to reduce car journeys by 50%, and the Clean Air GM campaign.

Residents have a number of ideas aimed at reducing reliance on the car and improving access to the isolated communities in Carrington, Partington and Sale West.

There are a number of Factual Errors and Misleading statements within the Outline Business Case document, which we highlighted in our letter.

Finally, we feel strongly that residents should have sufficient information to enable them to contribute as fully as other key stakeholders, who have clearly been involved in various discussions to date.  With this in mind, a Freedom of Information Act request has been submitted in relation to the Carrington Relief Road and, depending on the information supplied, may need to be repeated for the other parts of the scheme (the Sale West Link Road and the Southern Link Road).  We are hoping for a quick response, especially given the rapid timetable for this programme of work.

We’d like to remind you about some of the other reasons why we will be objecting to the road.

What is Consultation?

How is it different to Information Sharing?

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 to be). 

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.  

If this is not the case, then the activity is merely information sharing
In other words –
a tick box exercise.

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 fully explained.

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. 

You can find a copy of the petition and more information here:

In the News

Carrington Moss in the News

Take a look at our previous newsletters

Take a look at our previous blogs

Carrington Moss in the media

A total of 1,632 people have now signed a petition calling for the Carrington relief road to avoid Carrington Moss.

18th October 2021

Marj Powner talks to Stephen Carlton Woods on what the GMSF means for Carrington Moss

24 March 2019 at 7.00 pm

Endangered Species, SSSIs & SBIs

Red Listed Birds

Rare birds in Britain’s Woodland

Sadly, many of the glorious birds which grace our British woods are now on the Birds of Conservation Concern 4 Red List (the highest conservation priority, needing urgent action), due to habitat loss and persecution. UK woodland was once awash with a huge variety of bird species, but as time has gone on these species have begun to decline, becoming increasingly rare. The chance of spotting them is slim – but if you’re patient (or simply very lucky!) you might just stumble across one of these rare birds.
by Charlotte Varela, Volunteer Content Writer The Woodland Trust

on 10 April 2019

The Starling
Resident of Carrington Moss

This petite finch hangs from twigs feeding on seeds (Photo:

Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
The starling is a familiar bird of farmland, parkland, gardens and towns. Sociable birds, starlings spend a lot of their time in large flocks, roosting and performing sweeping, aerial displays – they can often be seen moving fluidly through a wintry sky. starlings eat insects and fruit, and will visit bird tables and feeders. They make untidy nests in holes in trees or in buildings, in which the female lays five to seven eggs. Both parents raise the chicks.

The Song Thrush
Song thrush ©Amy Lewis
Resident of Carrington Moss

The Song Thrush is a familiar garden visitor that has a beautiful and loud song. The broken shells of their blue, spotty eggs can often be found under a hedge in spring.
Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List 
The Song Thrush is a small, familiar songbird, commonly found in parks and gardens, woodland and scrub. Living up to its common name, it has a beautiful, loud song with repeating phrases. Widespread throughout Europe, and as far east as Siberia, northern populations are migratory, heading to Africa, whereas our Song Thrushes tend to be residents. From March until April, Song Thrushes breed, often producing three broods of up to five blue, spotty eggs

The Mistle Thrush
©Amy Lewis
Resident of Carrington Moss

The Mistle Thrush likely got its name from its love of Mistletoe – it will defend a berry-laden tree with extreme ferocity! It is larger and paler than the similar Song Thrush, standing upright and bold.
Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4:
The Mistle Thrush is a large songbird, commonly found in parks, gardens, woodland and scrub. It probably gets its common name from its love of Mistletoe. It enjoys the sticky berries and, once it has found a berry-laden tree, will guard it from any would-be thieves. In turn, it helps Mistletoe to thrive by accidentally ‘planting’ its seeds while wiping its bill on the tree bark to remove the sticky residue; it also disperses the seeds in its droppings

Did you know?The Mistle Thrush is also known as the ‘Rain Bird’ as it can be heard singing loudly from the tops of high trees after spring rains.

The House sparrow
©Mark Hamblin/2020VISION
Resident of Carrington Moss

he House Sparrow is a familiar, streaky brown bird of towns, parks and gardens. Males sport a grey cap and black bib, the size of which indicates their status
Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: 
The House Sparrow is an opportunistic bird of towns and cities, parks, gardens and farmland. House Sparrows feed on a variety of foods, including buds, grains, nuts and scraps, and will visit bird tables and feeders. They live in colonies and nest in holes or crevices in buildings, among Ivy or other bushes, and in nest boxes; they use a variety of materials to make their nests. Both parents will incubate the three to five eggs and raise the young. House Sparrows are residents in the UK, but may disperse from their breeding grounds to feed on nearby farmland and grassland in winter.

The Tree Sparrow ©Amy Lewis
Resident of Carrington Moss

A scarce and declining bird, the Tree Sparrow can be spotted on farmland and in woodlands; it is not an urban bird in the UK. It has a brown cap and black cheek-spots, unlike the similar House Sparrow.
Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concer
The Tree Sparrow is a scarce bird of farmland, hedgerows and woodland edges, and is not associated with man in the way that the House Sparrow is in the UK. Tree Sparrows mate for life; they nest in holes in trees and can produce two or three broods a year, each containing up to seven eggs. They eat seeds, weeds, cereals and also insects.

The Corn Bunting
©Luke Massey/2020VISION
Resident of Carrington Moss

Like many of our farmland birds, the Corn Bunting has declined in number in recent years. Spot this streaky brown, thick-billed bird singing from a wire or post – it sounds just like a set of jangling keys!
Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4:

The Hawfinch
The hawfinch is the UK’s largest finch (Photo: Amy Lewis/WTML)

The hawfinch is the UK’s largest finch The UK’s largest finch can be found in mature woodland with a mix of tree species. That said, it has declined in many areas of Britain and is now one of the hardest birds to see, spending much of its time in the canopy. The hawfinch’s impressive bill is powerful enough to split open cherry stones, exerting a tremendous pressure of around 150 pounds per square-inch!

The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Resident of Carrington Moss
The lesser spotted woodpecker hammers at trees in search of food (Photo: M Walker/WTML)

The lesser spotted woodpecker hammers at trees in search of food. The lesser spotted woodpecker is now one of our rarest birds. We have lost three out of four pairs since the 1970s, and these charismatic little woodland birds have disappeared entirely from many areas. The lesser spotted woodpecker’s favourite habitat is deciduous woodland where there are plenty of trees harbouring beetle larvae and moths to eat.

The Nightingale
The nightingale is famed for its sweet song (Photo: Amy Lewis/WTML)

The nightingale is famed for its sweet song. The nightingale is a spring migrant found in the South East of the UK. Favouring thick vegetation and coppiced woodland, this bird’s specific needs mean it has declined due to habitat loss and changes in the climate both here and in its wintering grounds. You can still hear the nightingale’s sweet song in areas of Essex, Kent, Sussex, Suffolk and Lincolnshire.

The Pied Flycatcher
As the name suggests, the pied flycatcher is an expert at catching flies (Photo: Amy Lewis/WTML)

The pied flycatcher As the name suggests, the pied flycatcher is an expert at catching flies. This summer migrant colonies mature woodland in the west of the UK, gorging on insects, caterpillars, fruit and seeds before it returns to West Africa. Pied flycatcher numbers have halved since 1995, potentially due to a decline in traditional woodland management.

The Willow Tit
The willow tit is one of Britain’s rarest birds (Photo:

The willow tit. Numbers of the willow tit have plummeted over the past few decades. Alongside the lesser spotted woodpecker, the willow tit has become one Britain’s rarest woodland birds. Numbers have plummeted over recent decades, and since 1970 willow tit numbers have declined by a shocking 91%. Experts aren’t entirely sure what is to blame, but increased competition, a rise in predation and changes in habitat have come under fire.

The Nightjar
The nightjar is a master of disguise (Photo: Banik)

The nightjar is a master of disguise.The nightjar lives in open woodland alongside its heathland and moorland habitats, but you would be very lucky to spot one. Now recovering and placed firmly on the Amber List (the next most critical group after red), these almost mythical birds are still largely confined to southern England. With a chirring call, silent flight and fabled ability to steal milk from goats, it is little surprise the nightjar has such a supernatural reputation.

The Spotted Flycatcher
It is a rarity to stumble across a spotted flycatcher, as their numbers have declined considerably (Photo: Amy Lewis/WTML)

The spotted flycatcher. It is a rarity to stumble across a spotted flycatcher, as their numbers have declined considerably. The spotted flycatcher is a charming woodland bird with impressive insect-catching skills, but this late spring migrant isn’t faring well. There are now six times fewer spotted flycatchers in Britain than just 30 years ago, and it is rare to hear their squeaky song floating down from the trees.

The Wood Warbler
These brightly-coloured little birds has suffered a steady decline (Photo:

The wood warbler. These brightly-coloured little birds has suffered a steady decline. The wood warblers zesty green plumage brightens up deciduous woodland, with the highest density in Wales. It prefers beech and oak woods, but has suffered a steady decline and is now a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. If you do manage to spot one, it can be distinguished from other warbler species by the clear split between its white belly and bright yellow-green chest.

The Petite Finch
This petite finch hangs from twigs feeding on seeds (Photo:

This petite finch hangs from twigs feeding on seeds. This stunning little finch breeds in woodland habitats and is most likely seen demonstrating impressive gymnastics as it hangs from tiny twigs to feed on birch and alder seeds. Sadly, numbers have dropped due to habitat loss and the intensification of agriculture.

The Yellowhammer
©Mark Hamblin/2020VISION
Resident of Carrington Moss

The yellow hammer.Like many of our farmland birds, the Yellowhammer has declined in number in recent years. Spot this bright yellow bird singing from the top of a bush or fence, or in a mixed-species flock in winter Average Lifespan: 3 years. Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.The Yellowhammer is a sparrow-sized, bright yellow bird of woodland edges, hedgerows, heath and farmland that feeds on seeds and invertebrates. In the winter, it will join mixed flocks of buntings, finches and sparrows to feed on seeds on farmland. Yellowhammers are often seen perched on top of bushes singing their ‘a little bit of bread and no cheese’ song. The female builds a cup-shaped nest from grass and moss, laying between two and six eggs. The male Yellowhammer is a striking bird: he has a bright yellow head and belly, with an orangey chest and streaky brown back. Female buntings, including female Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings, can be very difficult to tell apart.

Water Voles
Resident of Carrington Moss

Head to the riverbank to track down one of our most endangered and much-loved mammals, the water vole. Better known to some as ‘Ratty’ in The Wind in the Willows, the water vole was once a common resident of rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and other wet places. Sadly, the loss of these habitats and the invasion of mink has caused their numbers to dwindle, but thanks to the hard work of volunteers and Wildlife Trusts, water voles are making a comeback in some areas.

Active from April to September, spring is often the best time of year to see them because bank side vegetation is shorter so water voles are more easily seen.

Look out for signs of their presence such as burrows in the riverbank, often with a nibbled ‘lawn’ of grass around the entrance. Water voles like to sit and eat in the same place, so piles of nibbled grass and stems may be found by the water’s edge, showing a distinctive 45° angled cut at the ends. ‘Latrines’ of rounded, tic-tac sized and cigar-shaped droppings may also be spotted


Resident of Carrington Moss

Threats to Bats

Sadly, many bat species around the world are vulnerable or endangered due to factors ranging from loss and fragmentation of habitat, diminished food supply, destruction of roosts, disease and hunting or killing of bats.

In the 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 and threats in the home including cat attacks, flypaper and some chemical treatments of building materials. Other potential threats can include wind turbines and lighting if they are sited on key bat habitat on near roosts.

The construction of roads has the potential to negatively impact bat populations, through loss of roosts, foraging habitats and by severing landscape elements used as commuting routes by bats. Roads create an open space, which most bat species are reluctant to cross. Traffic further increases the barrier effect due to sudden movement, noise, headlamps, street lighting and the risk of collision. Most species of bat fly relatively close to the ground or close to trees and hedges for protection against the weather and potential predators. Those that do cross roads typically do so at traffic height, with a high risk of collision. Research shows that roads also have a major negative impact on bat foraging activity and diversity.

Bats are afforded protection by European and UK law in an effort to help bat populations recover from the devastating losses sustained in the last century. Mitigation for the impacts of roads is therefore an essential part of helping to ensure the survival of our bat species.


Eco-passages in the form of different types of under-passes (tunnels and culverts) and overpasses (hop-overs, elevated verges and green bridges) are important for providing safe crossing points for all types of wildlife, including bats. The effectiveness of such schemes in helping biodiversity should be robustly monitored, pre and post-construction, to enhance the design of future mitigation.

Wire or mesh structures placed at height over roads, known as bat gantries or bat bridges, have been proposed as artificial road crossing structures for bats and have been erected as mitigation over many roads in the UK and Europe. However, one recent study in the north of England has demonstrated the ineffectiveness of such structures because at the sites investigated the bats still crossed the road at the height of the oncoming traffic.

Building and development

Many bat species roost in buildings and are extremely vulnerable to the activities of humans. Bats using a building are directly threatened by building works if they are present while the work is underway or if a demolition is taking place. If bats disturbed at a particularly sensitive time of year (e.g. during hibernation in winter or when baby bats are born and raised in the summer), it can have hugely detrimental impacts on local bat populations.

  • All bats and their roosts are protected by law.
  • If you think you have bats roosting in your property, you must seek advice from your Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO) before doing any works.

Loss of Habitat

The decrease in bat numbers mirrors the ever-changing countryside. Natural habitats such as hedgerows, woodlands and ponds have been declining and fragmenting. It is important that we create new suitable habitats and manage and enhance existing habitats to help bats recover and survive.

Loss of habitat, the use of pesticides and intensive farming practices have lead to a reduction in the abundance of insects which the bats rely on as their only food source. For example the change from hay making to silage, has meant that many insects do not reach adulthood so there are less flying adults available. Changes in climate may also influence insect life cycles and so this may affect when bats can feed.


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.

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.  

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