Category Archives: Blog

Is Places for Everyone/GMSF2021 the right plan for Trafford and GM?

Open Letter to All Trafford Councillors

Dear Councillor

Before you vote on the Places for Everyone (P4E) Spatial Plan for Greater Manchester (previously known as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework – GMSF), we’d like you to consider the following significant concerns about its acceptability as the spatial plan for GM for the next 16 years:

  • We understand that Labour Councillors across GM will be whipped on this decision, which is an odd approach if there is confidence that it is the right plan, setting out the right future, with the right balance of economic, social and environmental goals, making the right decisions for the residents of GM, and, in our case, Trafford.  Why is it not possible for Councillors to be persuaded by the evidence that adopting this plan is demonstrably the most appropriate, necessary and commendable option for the P4E Councils?
  • All GM Councils, including Trafford, and the GMCA itself have declared a climate emergency, therefore, all decisions made should reflect this commitment to your current and future residents – we do not believe the plan, as currently articulated, has sufficient focus on tackling climate change
  • Despite there being no evidence that the proposed release of green belt is justified, anywhere in GM (in fact quite the opposite, as explained below), 1,754 hectares of GM’s green belt will be released for development immediately following plan approval
  • Whilst the plan demands that residents must accept a loss of green belt, and the consequent impact to their health and wellbeing, there are no policies that incorporate demands on developers (for example, to build those properties that already have planning permission), there are no policies to prevent developers securing planning permission on what is currently green belt land, yet not delivering against that approval, possibly resulting in yet more green belt land being proposed for release in the future
  • Greater levels of division and inequity will be driven by this plan, not just in terms of access to local green belt but also in access to schools, affordable homes (the New Carrington allocation, for example, will now only provide 15% affordable, due to viability issues) and public transport (New Carrington, for example, with 5,000 homes planned within P4E and a further 1,000 homes in the area with recently granted planning permission, has no trams, no trains and no commitment to new bus services – we have checked this via an FOI request)
  • Residents will suffer the health impacts of increased air and noise pollution and constructing 4 major roads across a peat moss will also significantly affect the populations of red listed birds and endangered wildlife that breed and feed in the New Carrington area
  • The New Carrington Masterplan conflicts with many key policies and strategies, not just those set out in P4E but also with the objectives outlined in, for example, the 5 year Environment Plan for GM and the spirit of a number of clauses in the National Planning Policy Framework
  • The GMSF has repeatedly been published with flawed, misleading or disingenuous statements, which should not be necessary if there is confidence in the benefits of the plan
  • There has been an unprecedented volume of responses from residents objecting to the planned builds on green belt across GM in the previous consultations (2016 and 2019), yet the GMCA continue to propose this!

Available Land Supply:

The documents tell us that the P4E plan area has a projected population increase of around 158,200, and housing occupancy rates averaged at 2.38 people per home (according to Census 2011, latest information from ONS puts occupancy levels at 2.4 but as this would reduce the figures further, we have used the Census figure).  This results in a housing need of 66,500 homes for the P4E plan area.  This figure can be compared to an available land supply of over 170,000 homes, as set out in Table 7.1 (excluding green belt allocations).  Given that this figure is over 2.5 times the need for homes, there is sufficient leeway for larger numbers of single occupancy houses, should this become a requirement of future trends.  In fact even without the (20,000) green belt allocations (see Table 7.1), there is more than sufficient land supply (170,000) for every single expected additional member of our population (the increase of 158,200) to have their own home! 

It is clear that there is NO justification for the release of green belt. 

The P4E document itself states that there is sufficient housing land supply to meet the overall identified need in the Government’s formula/algorithm.  The green belt allocations appear to have been made in case developers do not deliver.  We believe this issue should be addressed with policies that make demands of developers, not policies that result in the release of our green belt land.

We have heard the mantra “the Government is making us do it” quoted.  We recognise that there is mixed messaging, which is unhelpful.  The Government has confirmed, including specifically in relation to GM, that the housing need figure is not a target (in both Parliamentary debates and in writing).  The recent MHCLG blog (25th May 2021) seems to be pretty clear:

The Local Housing Need is simply a measure of need and we recognise that not everywhere will be able to meet their housing need in full – for example, where available land is constrained due to the Green Belt and an area therefore has to plan for fewer new homes.”

Given the implications of the climate emergency, Brexit and the pandemic, the GMCA could, and should, have concluded that the sufficiency of housing land supply did not need to be supplemented by a release of green belt at this time.

Green Belt Release:

Yet, despite these numbers, green belt will be released as soon as the plan is approved and P4E proposes a significant loss of green belt across GM – 1,754 hectares in total, equivalent to 2,456 football pitches.  For Trafford, at 269 hectares, our loss of green belt represents over 15% of this figure (the equivalent of 376 football pitches).  Trafford enters this plan with significantly less green belt land (37.6%) than the GM average (46.7%) and will exit it with a much larger (6.7%) net loss of green belt than the GM average (3.27%).  Leaving Trafford residents with even greater inequity of access to local green belt than previously available, with our post plan green belt figure being just 35% of Trafford’s land area against a GM average of 45%.

There are alternative approaches.  Oldham, for example, proposes (North-East Growth Corridor) that land will be retained in the green belt “until such time that a review of this Plan and / or the Oldham Local Plan can demonstrate that it is necessary”.  All GM Authorities, including Trafford, could adopt similar wording to create a policy that ensures green belt land continues to be protected and is not released whilst brownfield sites are still available for development.

Misleading Statements:

The history of misleading statements that have permeated previous iterations of the GMSF has, disappointingly, continued into P4E, with, for example, the New Carrington Allocation Topic Paper stating (paragraph 12.2) that “Carrington Moss is a former peat bog”.  It then goes on to contradict itself by confirming “initial investigation indicates a maximum thickness of peat of 3m, which thins towards the perimeter”.  That is 9 feet of peat deposits, which are regularly under significant surface water flooding for at least 6 months of the year (see our website page Carrington Lake).  We have requested clarity about this statement from Trafford officers as a recent presentation to residents by the GM Wetlands Project (LIttle Woolden Moss) confirmed that peat can be restored where deposits are as low as 15cm.

The graphic below highlights some of the disingenuous statements included in previous iterations of the plan, along with a summary demonstrating the consistent lack of resident support for the New Carrington Masterplan.  As we are not considered to be major stakeholders (the New Carrington Masterplan defines these as landowners and developers), this plan does not consider the views of local residents.  This is not the approach the Labour administration has taken on strategic plans for other parts of the Borough.  Why are the views of the residents of Carrington, Partington, Sale West and Warburton not considered to be as important as those of Crossford Bridge, Flixton, Stretford and Turn Moss?

There are many other points that we could raise and we will share these over the coming weeks, but for the reasons set out here, and others, we firmly believe the plan will be found to be unsound when examined by Planning Inspectors. 

If you would like to discuss any of these points further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Marj Powner (Chair)

Friends of Carrington Moss

Understanding Sustainability

When Trafford talks about New Carrington being

into a sustainable location, what does it mean? 

Well, it is interesting, because the plans for New Carrington will take away some inherently sustainable aspects of the area and replace them with some fundamentally unsustainable characteristics. 

Read on, to find out more!        But first……………..

If you look it up, you’ll find various definitions which suggest that being sustainable is about ensuring we avoid wearing out our natural resources as we seek to achieve financial success, whether personally, corporately or globally. 

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which all development masterplans and planning decisions should follow, says:

This policy links to the UN declaration within Resolution 42/187 of the United Nations General Assembly, which raises concerns about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development.

The document proposes that sustainable development becomes a central guiding principle of the United Nations, Governments, private institutions, organisations and enterprises

Effectively, this means that plans should not be approved if they are likely to prevent future generations from meeting their needs.  Looking at some very basic examples, their ability to breathe clean air, access healthy, food sources with a low carbon footprint, and have clean water to drink. 

So, at a very high level, it is fair to say that we should not be building on a peat moss, which has the potential to be restored to sequester carbon more effectively, nor should we be building on Grade 2 agricultural land, which future generations may need to grow their food, nor should we be building on wetland which has the ability to reduce flooding and support clean water strategies for the future. 

Many commentators, however, only focus on how sustainable the design and development of construction projects are, how sustainably sourced the materials used will be and how attractive the new neighbourhood will become.  This is certainly true of Trafford’s own considerations within the New Carrington Masterplan, which mentions the word “sustainable” 42 times.  The section on Sustainability (4.9) states that it is “part of a holistic design process that runs throughout all aspects of the scheme, including design and layout of buildings and landscape, the components of the masterplan, transport strategy and phasing”. 

Trafford suggests that delivery of the masterplan will result in sustainable transport, sustainable communities, sustainable society, sustainable economy, sustainable drainage and sustainable movements. 

Yet, there is no mention of what will be lost to future generations.  In fact, the Masterplan describes the area (several times) as “the former Carrington Moss”! 

Excuse us, but ……………

In addition, the language used in the masterplan document does not bode well for future sustainability.  Even in that specific section on Sustainability (page 55), developers are only “encouraged” to use sustainable sources of construction materials and the Government’s forthcoming standards.  Principle 9 (page 31) is another good example “Optimise sustainability This masterplan supports prioritizing Biodiversity Net Gain and, where possible, optimise the wider environmental benefits for a sustainable society and economy.”  So, sustainability will be achieved “where possible”.  Should plans be approved on that basis?  We don’t think so.

Trafford acknowledges that the New Carrington allocation area is not a sustainable location today.  They assert that their vision is “to transform Carrington, Sale West and South Partington into a sustainable and attractive, mixed use residential and employment neighbourhood”.  We will not get hung up in this blog about the fact that these are three separate neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct characteristics. 

It is important to recognise, however, that NONE of these neighbourhoods will become sustainable if the New Carrington Masterplan, as currently documented, is implemented. 

Do keep reading to find out why we think this!

The NPPF has a clear focus on sustainable development.  Paragraph 103, for example, states that “Significant development should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes.” 

So, what about the area covered by this Masterplan?  With 5,000 new homes, 380,000 m2 employment space and 4 new major roads, it is clearly a significant development.  Yet in New Carrington, there is only one commitment and that is to the new road known as the Carrington Relief Road.  The plan suggests that the strategic roads will “enhance the provision of sustainable transport”.

But …………

There are NO commitments to improve public transport for this, the largest housing development in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (now known as Places for Everyone), no trams, no trains and no new bus services (in fact, another bus service has been withdrawn from the area recently).  For more information on this, see our previous blog confirming the revelations from our Freedom of Information Act requests here.

We mentioned the substantial volume of peat that remains on Carrington Moss in another previous blog (When is a Peat Moss Not a Peat Moss).  Peat is an irreplaceable habitat, so a mass extraction event to remove this precious substance cannot be offset by any amount of Biodiversity Net Gain (to say nothing of the huge release of carbon into our local atmosphere).

One of the many advantages of carbon sequestration via peatland is its own negligible carbon footprint.  There is no requirement for manufacturing of major technology or equipment and no ongoing use of fossil-fuel based power (although we do recognise that restoration techniques might involve some initial machine-using groundwork and some installation of plastic dams or pipes).  Peat mosses require relatively low maintenance, perhaps some weed incursion control, but mostly it is over to the forces of nature and time to deliver the benefits. 

In comparison, most new buildings, however sustainably built, do not have the capability to capture carbon, and those that do cannot compete with the carbon sequestration capabilities of our peat mosses.  In fact, such construction will result in a huge increase to carbon emissions locally (more heating, more cars on the road, more waste removal).  Furthermore, as this article suggests – it takes over 50 tonnes of CO2 to build the average UK house

Conversely, in addition to their superior carbon capture capabilities, the restoration of our peatland habitats would bring numerous ecosystem benefits, such as water quality improvements, flood impact reduction, species recovery, biodiversity gains, wellbeing and climate cooling to name just a few.  This wetland environment is a very effective tool which reduces the potential for local flooding (take a look at the Carrington Lake page of our website for more information) and helps to dissipate polluted air, with the large areas of woodland on Carrington Moss also supporting carbon sequestration. 

So, here on Carrington Moss, Trafford will be reducing the highly sustainable peatland area (which could be restored to capture carbon more effectively) and will replace it with housing and employment sites that generate extensive additional carbon emissions and do not have access to sustainable transport options.

But………….. that is not all!

The employment area in Carrington, located alongside the Medieval village, has previously had substantial areas of industrial and warehousing development approved over the years.  This has resulted in huge volumes of HGV traffic on local roads and other pollutants being released from some of the business premises, causing well known, significant and unacceptable, health and wellbeing issues for local residents.

Yet, the New Carrington Masterplan currently proposes to build a further 380,000 square meters of additional industrial and warehousing space (so, no digital, no technology, no green or professional occupations, just industrial and warehousing sites).  This lack of diversity, and the resulting very limited career opportunities, means that many local residents will not have the range of employment options that they would need to find work locally.  In addition, these new employments sites will bring yet more HGV traffic into the area because alternatives, such as rail freight or shipping (given the proximity to the Manchester Ship Canal) have not been proposed.

The brownfield sites in the allocation area have already been granted planning approval.  The remaining land is either green belt (Trafford plan to release 169 hectares) or Protected Open Land.  Where this land is not the peat moss or woodland mentioned above, it is Grade 2 agricultural land, excellent for crop production, supporting existing employment, in farming activities and horse riding/stabling pursuits, both of which sustain Trafford’s local economy.  Much of that existing Grade 2 agricultural land will become housing, industrial or new roads and most of the rest will become extremely polluted as a consequence of all that construction, preventing future generations from being able grow crops here and food growing in the UK is even more important now (because of Brexit), it’s not as easy, or cost effective, to import, given the trade barriers that have been erected.  The plans will decimate the existing agricultural and equine economy and local supply chains will be severely impacted by the loss of these businesses too. 

Furthermore, the development will fracture the wildlife corridor, significantly impacting many red listed birds and endangered wildlife populations.  The active travel routes, that are widely used by large numbers of local residents, will also be extensively affected.  There are, for example, over 1,000 horses stabled in this area, many of which are ridden across Carrington Moss on a regular basis.  Already popular prior to the pandemic, recreational use of the moss by cyclists and walkers has increased dramatically over recent months.  All these healthy, active, outdoor pursuits will be severely constrained by the plans for development.

In researching for this blog, we’ve been talking to some existing employers who are currently based on the Carrington and Warburton Mosses to find out how sustainable they are today.

Carrington Riding Centre, for example, has focused on various environmental improvements, continuously investing in their land, maintaining their fields and recycling their horses’ waste.  They also invested heavily in a bore hole so they can produce their own water. 

Their carbon footprint is low, the Centre purchases their bedding and feed from local farmers, they use environmentally friendly supplies for horse feed and bedding and their café uses recyclable products too, such as paper cups, plates, etc. 

They would like to do more and regularly review potential grant funding to explore opportunities to:

  • introduce renewable energy
  • make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources
  • improve water courses and drainage. 

All of these are very expensive for a small business like theirs to absorb but they are keen to ensure they are as sustainable as possible.

Local farmers also aim to be sustainable and contribute to environmental improvements, such as hedge planting, ditch cleaning, soil quality improvements and they use the least amount of chemicals possible in all their activities.  One farmer told us that, whilst they do use local horse and chicken manure, there are times when they need to use chemical fertilisers.  The farmers deploy GPS and weigh cell technologies to ensure precision application, only dispersing what is needed for that crop, in that location, so the environmental impact is reduced as far as possible.

One of our local farmers hires out straw and hay bales for events.  They then recycle the used bales for their cattle bedding and then further recycle them as fertiliser on the fields.  They are conscious that manufacturers in their supply chain do not always use recyclable packaging, and, whilst this is changing for some products, it is still especially true for the bale wrap. 

Like the Riding Centre, local farmers would consider increasing sustainability, if funding becomes available.  They have also looked at renewable energy, such as solar panels on shed roofs, and improvements to water courses.  They have recently taken up opportunities, through grant funding, to renew fencing, cattle handling facilities, more GPS systems, yield monitoring and livestock monitoring via CCTV, all of which improve the sustainability of their businesses. 

Government funding schemes are evolving, and many are becoming more environmentally focused.  Local farmers are following proposals such as sustainable farming incentives (which will be simple actions most farms can achieve), whole farm plans, crop management, livestock plans, integrated pest management, soil plans, etc.  Local Nature Recovery initiatives, which Greater Manchester is piloting at a Regional level, would involve creating more woodland, wetland, restoring peat mosses, and supporting natural flood management.  The Carrington and Warburton Mosses would be ideal locations for these proposals.

Yet, despite all these Regional and National initiatives, Trafford is willing to sacrifice our essential farmland, this Grade 2 agricultural land, for construction, even though there are urban areas in sustainable locations, that could be used to build homes and employment properties (and it seems the amount of brownfield land is likely to increase post-Covid because of the recognised changes to working practices and personal habits that have become apparent over the past year).

The conclusion of Trafford’s document states that “This masterplan report demonstrates that the New Carrington Allocation site is deliverable and sustainable”.  We do not agree!  The plan to build 5,000 new homes, 380,000 m2 industrial and warehousing employment space, and 4 new major roads on a peat moss and Grade 2 agricultural land is clearly NOT a sustainable strategy. 

Sustainability is more than just a concept.  It is an intrinsic, high value, asset, with features that can and should be measured and monitored.  Furthermore, the assessment of the potential sustainability of this location lacks credibility and this masterplan demonstrates a huge lack of knowledge about the area itself!

That said, when the CPRE tells us that there is “enough brownfield land for 1.3m new homes” and the Local Government Association highlights that “More than a million homes granted planning permission in the past decade have not yet been built” we have to ask why there is a plan to build on green belt at all?  Who will benefit?  Trafford residents?  We think not!

Let’s just remind ourselves again about those words from the NPPF:

At a very high level, the objective of sustainable development can be summarised as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

So perhaps what we should be asking ourselves is – are there other places in Trafford where we can:

  • 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?

If the answer is “No” to one or more of these questions, we should not be building on Carrington Moss.

When is a Peat Moss NOT a Peat Moss?

Answer:  When someone wants to build on it!

Despite the increased recognition of the importance of our wetlands as priority habitat.

Technically speaking, lowland raised bog always remains a peat bog in terms of the geological formation of the substrate (the bowl in which the bog was first formed).  The physical features of that can never change without massive geological and structural alteration to a whole landscape.  This would have a huge impact on local biodiversity, species survival and the essential work as a flood control mechanism that a peat bog provides!

Our peatlands are critical for preserving global biodiversity, providing safe drinking water, minimising flood risk and helping to address climate change.  In many parts of the world, peatlands supply food, fibre and other local products that sustain local economies.  They also preserve important ecological and archaeological information such as pollen records and human artefacts (take a look at this nearby find Lindow Man).

Some comments have been made recently to suggest that Carrington Moss is no longer a peat moss.  Whilst we recognise that, in common with many wetland areas around the world, there has been considerable decline, in both the area and the quality of our mossland habitat, we think these commentators are incorrect. 

They may not be aware of the wetlands survey undertaken, in 1995, by Hall, Wells and Huckerby (results available as a publication by Lancaster Imprints, The Wetlands of Greater Manchester), in which the authors concluded that

a substantial body of peat remains at Carrington Moss”.

The chapter on Carrington Moss gives a short precis of the history of the area including the damage to the moss caused by encroaching industrialisation.  The document describes the central area of the mossland as “deep peat with a nightsoil covering”.  It also confirms that the “total area surveyed of peat more than 0.3m deep is 325 ha”.  Furthermore, the authors found that the peat depths ranged from “2.7m to 0.3m”. 

More recently, documents within the Heath Farm Lane planning application confirmed that peat “is present in thickness of up to c. 2.5m”. 

So, it would appear that the peat is

still here!

It is true that the ecosystem services traditionally provided by wetland habitats have been diminished here on Carrington Moss, but they are certainly not eradicated (yet).  The frequent sightings of globally threatened species, of birds, wildlife and plants, when out and about on the moss demonstrates the value and importance of this essential habitat.  We are so lucky that our local green space is host and home to over 20 red listed birds, for example.  School trips to the moss have seen the skylark, recent visitors have seen the willow tit and you may have your own sightings to share (don’t forget to record them).

This treasure chest of biodiversity brings so many benefits that we should be enhancing, helping these species populations to recover, reintroducing previously abundant flora and fauna and encouraging residents to take advantage of this (almost) pollution-free environment for their regular exercise regimes. 

Our local peatmosses (both Carrington and Warburton) are highly significant to Trafford’s efforts to address climate change.

You may have also seen that Carrington Lake is back and the moss is once again protecting our local area from significant flooding.  This is its job!  We are very concerned that the planned developments will bring a huge risk of local flooding because the amount of water currently amassed on the moss will exceed the capacity of the drainage systems, as has happened elsewhere. Take a look at our video which talks about the impact of flooding on local residents here (click on the image below)

Carrington Moss 21st January 2021

In addition, whilst there has been significant damage to our peatmoss in recent times, and that has undoubtedly resulted in CO2 being released into our local atmosphere, draining or removing the moss for development will result in a further, and much more immense, release of carbon, impacting not only the local environment but the health of local residents. 

The Heath Farm Lane application, for example, asserts that “United Utilities require that all peat is removed from below the invert level of adoptable drainage” and that the local highways authority “would have a preference for removal of peat from the footprint of adoptable highways”.  The peat will also need to be excavated from below all proposed building construction.  This will release CO2 into our atmosphere!

It should also be remembered that over 50,000 tons of peat was removed when the Carrington Spur was built (source: Motorway Archives, Lancashire Archives, Preston). At a very rough estimate (varying dependent on whether the peat was wet or dry) this could have equated, at that time, to a minimum of 12,000 tons of CO2.

We have explored a number of academic studies which assess the impact of that carbon release.  Our researcher, Dr Charlotte Starkey, has reviewed several assertions in detail, including those set out in the New Scientist (1994), Scientific American (2009) and The Guardian (2017).  The results, when applied to Carrington Moss, were quite diverse, ranging from estimates of over 250,000 tonnes of carbon to over 2,200,000 tonnes of carbon.  Charlotte believes there is likely to be around 2,000,000 tonnes of carbon in Carrington Moss today. 

One of our members, Landscape Architect, Paul Beckmann, has reviewed the Why Mosslands Matter approach.  Assuming the area of peat at Carrington Moss is now c.300 ha. (it was 325 ha. in 1995, as mentioned above) and that the average depth is c. 2m (we know in parts it exceeds 3m), Crawford’s calculations suggest the removal of our mossland would result in the release of approximately 2,400,000 tonnes of CO2 into our local atmosphere.  So, an estimate at the upper end of the range.

This is a critical issue and CO2 release is totally incompatible with Trafford Council’s declaration of a climate emergency and its recently published Carbon Neutral Action Plan.

The protection and restoration of our peatlands is vital in the transition towards a carbon neutral economy and should be added as key objective in Trafford’s Carbon Neutral Action Plan.

So, what shall we do?  Well, the Friends of Carrington Moss has been working with partners from the Wildlife Trusts, Trafford Wildlife, the RSPB, the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, a Rare Plants expert, local bird watchers and other experts to create an alternative transformation strategy for Carrington Moss.  A transformation strategy that results in Carrington Moss becoming a Carbon and Biodiversity Bank

The challenges faced by our local peatland area are not irreversible and, internationally, there is a growing recognition that peatland restoration projects are highly cost-effective when compared to other carbon-reducing technologies or initiatives and there are many other benefits when peat-forming ecosystems are re-established, not least of which is the contribution to Trafford’s (and Greater Manchester’s) Net Zero aims.  Restoring the peat moss will also support the recovery of nature, improve the sustainability of our local soils and will help address the impact of the climate emergency, enabling Trafford to comply with local, regional and national environmental policies.

We’ll be providing more information about our Alternative Transformation Strategy in a future blog and you can find more information about how peatmosses work on the Research page of our website.  We have also shared some information for younger readers in our previous blog “Why is Carrington Moss so important

There is a huge problem with suggesting that the New Carrington development will lead to public transport improvements for this area

Trafford has promised this before and has not delivered

see the Trafford page of our website for links to the Trafford UDP (2006) and Trafford’s Core Strategy (2012)
In Trafford’s Unitary Development Plan of 2006 and in Trafford’s Core Strategy of 2012
Carrington, Partington and Sale West are identified as “priority regeneration areas
with public transport improvements stated as being
core to delivering the regeneration!

So what are they telling us now?

The New Carrington Masterplan recognises concerns raised by residents about the “insufficient public transport service and connections (Bus, Train & Metrolink) available in the area”, yet makes NO commitments for improvements stating that “improving bus accessibility to New Carrington, Altrincham, and Sale should be encouraged”

Transport for Greater Manchester’s Transport Strategy has only one commitment for this area and that is the Carrington Relief Road across our peat moss!!!

There are NO commitments to public transport improvements, and no plans to bring the tram to the largest residential allocation in the whole of Greater Manchester. 

What they say is that “In the next five years, we aim to complete business cases for early delivery of…

New bus services to support the New Carrington and Sale West allocations to serve new development at Carrington with improved public transport links, particularly to and from the Regional Centre”

This has been confirmed in the response to our recent Freedom of Information Act request, in which TfGM state that There are currently no committed schemes to improve public transport in this area.

They go on to say “TfGM and Trafford Council are planning to take forward the development of business cases for two schemes in the area: a busway between Broadheath and Sale West, which could support the 19 service; and a bus priority scheme where the Cat5a route meets the A56 to improve journey times and reliability of buses between Partington and Altrincham”

These two schemes will not address the significant lack of public transport in this area, will do little to reduce isolation and change the current reliance on the car as the main means of transport to and from New Carrington and surrounding areas. 

We have now been waiting for public transport improvements for almost 15 years,
isn’t it time our Council made them a priority?

see our Alternative Transport Strategy
which sets out residents’ priorities, which are traffic calming schemes and public transport improvements

We need a masterplan that is influenced by residents – not by developers!

Why we do not support the GMSF in its current form

We have sent the following feedback about the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework to all Trafford Councillors in advance of their discussion about the GMSF on 30th November.

Summarising the issues!

Whilst we totally support the principle of the GMSF, concur with its ambitions, and recognise the considerable effort that has gone into drafting it, we cannot support the current iteration because it still advocates the unnecessary removal of Green Belt land across Greater Manchester, when there ARE clear alternative approaches. 

The issued documentation declares that Local Authorities are able to make “adequateprovision to meet housing need numbers WITHOUT releasing Green Belt land.  It must also be remembered that, back in 2015, a GMSF Option was considered which required NO use of Green Belt land and a decision was specifically made NOT to take this forward.  This suggests that the decision to release Green Belt in GM is a desire of the leadership, NOT a requirement.  This assertion is further reinforced by the recognition that, whilst a lot of effort has been made to create exceptional circumstances which support the release of Green Belt land, NO attempt has been made to identify exceptional circumstances to reduce the housing need number to ensure all development is focused on brownfield land. 

Given that Local Authorities have identified “adequate” sites to meet housing need numbers, together with the expected changes to working practices post-Covid (which we believe will lead to the availability of windfall sites across GM), the extensive feedback from residents against the release of Green Belt land, and the emphasis of all political parties on nature-led recovery and the climate emergency, the only reasonable approach for the GMSF is NOT to release Green Belt land for development.  The GMSF could have been prepared within that constraint and should, if confidence in developer delivery is low, also have proposed that an extensive post-Covid review be undertaken during the GMSF period to determine whether further analysis is needed.  The current approach is likely to lead to Green Belt being built on, whilst a huge number of windfall (brownfield) sites are left unused.  

Furthermore, at a local level, whilst we welcome the work that has been undertaken to reduce Green Belt release in New Carrington, Trafford’s overall reduction in Green Belt take is significantly lower than that of other boroughs in GM.  In addition, the plans as documented are NOT plans that are underwritten by local residents.  The New Carrington Masterplan talks about the intensity of discussions with landowners and developers, yet there have been NO workshops about the Trafford allocations with residents or Parish Councils prior to issuing the documentation.  It is certainly a very strange type of democracy that has Local Authorities working on secret plans which significantly impact the local communities they are accountable to, despite a Statement of Community Involvement which suggests, in its introduction, that the Council should be “providing opportunities for active participation and discussions with the community as early in the plan-making and planning application processes as possible.”

With this in mind, the Friends of Carrington Moss are working with local Parish Councils and other community groups to develop alternative proposals for the area.  There is a lot of talent in our communities and a large number of ideas have been proposed.  These alternative options further demonstrate that the release of Green Belt is NOT necessary.

Unnecessary Release of Green Belt Land for Development

We believe that the GMCA is making a deliberate and conscious decision to unnecessarily release Green Belt land for development.  Once this precious resource is released, it is irretrievable for the vital purposes it performs.  In our view, this approach is unsound because it is neither justified (given the confirmation of adequate housing supply) nor sustainable (given the selective implementation of GMSF strategic policies). 

For clarity, the GMSF paragraph 7.12 states that “in numerical terms, the existing supply of potential housing sites identified in the districts’ strategic housing land availability assessments, small sites and empty properties is adequate to meet the overall identified need”.  This means Green Belt land is being released to cover a “buffer”, just in case it is needed.  This is not justifiable and any buffer required should have been covered by a case for exceptional circumstances, as set out below.

The release of Green Belt will have a particularly severe impact on Trafford as we have the lowest proportion of Green Belt land in the whole of Greater Manchester, other than the city areas of Manchester and Salford.  In addition, St Marys Ward has the lowest proportion of Green Space in Trafford, with Bucklow St Martins Ward close behind.  These are the two Wards most affected by the plans for New Carrington.  Many of our residents are not affluent and have valued free access to this local green space more than ever since the pandemic began.  Whilst you may see a corridor coloured green on the New Carrington map, it should be recognised that much of that “green” space is not green and it is not accessible to the public.  This reduced green area will be further diminished if Trafford’s planned roads across the Green Belt go ahead, bringing significant air and noise pollution to residents, sports participants and school pupils.  The community has developed alternative proposals which make these roads and the release of Green Belt unnecessary.

GMSF 2020 could have determined not to release Green Belt and could have proposed a post-Covid review, within the GMSF period, to verify whether developer delivery is on target and, if not, whether sufficient windfall sites are available to meet any shortfall.  Should that review ascertain that Green Belt release could be necessary, this should be considered further and agreed at that time.

Case for Exceptional Circumstances in calculating Housing Need

We believe insufficient effort has been made by the GMCA to present the case for exceptional circumstances to justify a reduction in the housing need numbers calculated using the Government’s National Formula.  This standard method for calculating Housing Need is NOT mandatory.  This has been confirmed, both in writing and verbally, by Ministers, on several occasions over the last few years.  In a recent example, the Hansard transcript for the GMSF and Green Belt Parliamentary Debate of 18 March 2020 confirms the Minister for Housing’s statement that “It is worth noting that the standard method is not mandatory; in exceptional circumstances, an alternative approach can be used, provided that that reflects the current and future demographic trends and market signals. If my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale West cares to check paragraph 60 of the NPPF, he will find reassurance in that paragraph” (Hansard: 18/3/20 Parliamentary Debate).

In addition, it has been demonstrated in responses to previous drafts of the GMSF that a 15-year plan would generate sufficient available brownfield land to meet housing need requirements across the Region, totally removing the need to release Green Belt.  A 15-year plan would also allow more flexibility to adapt to the, as yet unforeseen, changes required due to climate change and the current global pandemic (some rethinking of our lifestyles and economy is likely to be required, which will have a direct impact on planning).

So, there are a number of potential exceptional circumstances that do reflect demographic trends and market signals, that could be cited to ensure all development is concentrated on brownfield land.  Some examples include utilising the most up-to-date (2018) ONS figures (to determine more accurate local housing need predictions), limiting the GMSF to a period of 15 years (which is all that is required by the NPPF) and confirming a commitment to the post-Covid review (mentioned above).  In addition, funding of £81m is now available to tackle the more challenging brownfield sites across the Region. 

Addressing the Climate Emergency

We do not believe the plans to release Green Belt in Trafford are consistent with the declaration of a Climate Emergency, made by the Authority in November 2018.  The protection of our Green Belt land is now more important than ever as we experience the increasing impact of climate change.  As an example, large areas of Carrington Moss were extensively flooded between October 2019 and March 2020 (see our website for photographs and videos), including areas now suggested for housing developments. 

The release of Green Belt is also inconsistent with GM’s aim to be “a place at the forefront of action on climate change, with clean air and a flourishing natural environment”.  As part of the preparations for the GMSF, GM commissioned The Environment Partnership (TEP) to assess the current state of the natural environment.  TEP undertook a review to estimate how many Biodiversity Units (BUs) there are in each of GM’s 10 boroughs.  Trafford (at 41k BUs) is the second lowest in the Region, just above Manchester City itself, significantly behind the leading Authority, Oldham (with 139k BUs), and not even comparable to Tameside (95k BUs), which is a similar size in terms of area and population to Trafford. 

Releasing the Green Belt in Trafford will reduce our BUs further.  The local community has developed an alternative strategy for Carrington Moss which would utilise the area as a carbon and biodiversity bank to “sell” carbon and BUs to businesses and urban developers to help them meet their carbon targets and biodiversity net gain figures and to increase Trafford’s BUs at the same time.  Whilst it is impossible to put a price on our green assets, we are seeking to create a viable alternative to the current plans.

All the political parties have a focus on nature-led recovery and the climate emergency.  Labour’s Green Economic Recovery paper, for example, quite rightly, suggests that “Future generations will judge us by the choices we make today”.  How will a decision to unnecessarily release Green Belt be judged by those who no longer have access to nature and green space, who can no longer see the willow tit and the skylark in their local area (because their breeding and feeding grounds have been destroyed), who can no longer see relatives and friends who have succumbed to illnesses caused by increased air pollution. 

That Green Economic Recovery paper also highlights the importance of not only solving the decarbonisation challenge but also in igniting the “broader preservation, enrichment, and protection of the UK’s natural ecosystems and biodiversity”.  The Labour document also mentions the importance of restoring peatlands and we agree that significant action is “needed in order to accelerate the benefits of nature restoration and recovery” and that there is “an abundance of natural restoration projects that could begin right now”.  The plan for New Carrington is NOT an example of how we can achieve these great ambitions, it also directly contradicts many of the environmental policies set out in the GMSF.

In addition, the 2020 GMSF proposes to expand Manchester airport.  It is already a source of considerable air pollution, noise nuisance and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.  Until green aviation fuel has been developed, which is not likely within GMSF period, there should be no further expansion of the airport or increase to the agreed number of flights (a reduction would be more sensible to align with the GMSF stated aims for carbon neutrality and clean air).  

Other points to consider

Whilst the GMSF incorporates a number of aims and ambitions that are laudable, somewhat summarised in paragraph 1.6, which states that “Our ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2038 have never been more necessary – we need to support the creation of resilient, liveable places where walking and cycling are the obvious choice for shorter journeys, where facilities and services are accessible and close at hand and where the past dependency on the car is superseded by a reliable and responsive public transport system.”, the selective adoption of the policies and strategies encompassing the GMSF means that the desired equality objectives cannot be achieved. 

One equality objective is to “Prioritise development in well-connected locations” and another is to “Deliver an inclusive and accessible transport network”, which will improve air quality across GM.  Paragraph 5.50 states that “The most significant role which the GMSF will play in this respect [improving air quality] is to locate development in the most sustainable locations which reduce the need for car travel, for example by maximising residential densities around transport hubs”.

The New Carrington development is NOT currently a sustainable location and we do not believe it will be transformed to a sustainable residential and industrial location.  Public transport improvements have been promised to Carrington, Partington and Sale West in the 2006 UDP and the 2012 Core Strategy but in fact, bus services have reduced in these areas.  The GMSF does NOT COMMIT to increasing public transport, instead, the Masterplan suggests “improving bus accessibility to New Carrington, Altrincham, and Sale should be encouraged” and the TfGM Transport Delivery Plan 2020-2025 states that “In the next five years, we aim to complete business cases for early delivery of… New bus services to support the New Carrington and Sale West allocations”.   That is not reassuring given residents have been waiting for over 15 years for improvements to public transport.

Furthermore, it is unsustainable to consider the use of Green Belt land for warehouses and industrial with the clear aim of using road transport.  The community has developed an alterative Transport Strategy which proposes a new bridge across the Ship Canal, to provide access to Irlam Wharf and Port Salford for businesses in Carrington.  This approach, which we have discussed with local businesses, would mean HGV traffic can be significantly reduced and that there is no requirement for a Relief Road across Carrington Moss.

The GMSF 2020 places great emphasis on economic growth, appearing to give this a higher priority than the well-being of residents, yet the importance of access to green spaces and nature for physical and mental health is now well documented.  It is recognised that the impact of Covid and economic uncertainty will hit our most vulnerable residents the hardest, yet the GMSF, despite acknowledging the “state of flux”, does not address the inequities that will inevitably follow. 

There is also an equality objective to “Strengthen the competitiveness of north Greater Manchester”, yet the largest residential allocation is in Trafford.  This means that Trafford residents do not have equity of access to Green Belt areas, they have their access to green space further reduced and for residents of North Manchester, growth is not being prioritised as suggested in the GMSF.

Finally, there are issues about the heritage assets in the area (including the peat moss itself, of course), the harm to be caused by the loss of Green Belt (which is acknowledged in the Masterplan) and the loss of income to local businesses (including riding centres and farmers), which of course impacts Trafford’s local economy too.  The New Carrington allocation remains unsound for the many reasons that have been vigorously expressed by local residents in the previous consultation. 

We would be delighted to share our alternative proposals and/or more information about our analysis of the GMSF.

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)

Putting Ecology on the Carrington Moss Map

At our AGM on Wednesday, we had two excellent and very interesting speakers.

We started the meeting with a quick poll in which participants told us whether they had visited Carrington Moss in the last week, how they had travelled, if they had seen any wildlife on the Moss and whether they had recorded it. 

Stuart then talked to us about the importance of recording all our bird and wildlife sightings, he told us a little about the records held by the GMLRC pertaining to Carrington Moss and provided some insights into the protected species found here.  There is a link to the recording site later in this blog.

James talked in a little more detail about the bird species on Carrington Moss, including the, red listed, willow tit.  He described our important habitats as the The Masai Mara of the North and shared a number of links to videos and blogs which may be interesting for our members (the links are embedded in the AGM slide pack – click on the button above).  James also mentioned Greater Manchester’s (virtual) Green Summit, which, this year, will be running from 21st to 24th September.  If you’d like more information, or to receive the links to a Welcome Pack for the GM Green Summit, please subscribe to the Green City Region mailing list.

Stuart and James responded to a number of questions from participants about a wide variety of issues.  More public (virtual) meetings and outdoor recording events (when safe to do so) will be held in the near future, but in the meantime, we’re asking our members to consider contributing to identifying the Carrington Moss Big Five

To support our aim to promote the ecology, the habitats and the wildlife on Carrington Moss, we’d like your help in selecting the species YOU think best represent Carrington Moss

Click here to complete our short survey to help us identify: the big 5 birds, the big 5 mammals, the big 5 insects and the big 5 flora

If you need a reminder about what is out there – take a look at our website at these links:

We’d like as many of you as possible to record your sightings to help confirm just how important the area is to endangered and at-risk species.  You can find out more about the GMLRC by clicking on this logo

If you are not sure which species you have seen, you can use an app such as iNaturalist to look up the species but it is better to record directly on the GMLRC site above.

Following these two outstanding presentations, we elected/re-elected our Committee, huge thanks to Jan for her support in doing this and a huge thank you to both existing and new Committee members for their continuing work on behalf of our communities.

You will find the updated Committee information on our website (click on the graphic to go to our Committee page).

We then briefly reviewed our Annual Report, click on the graphic to go directly to the report, highlighting our work on Air Quality monitoring in the area and providing a summary of progress against our key aims.

Following our finance report, we launched our very important Friends of Carrington Moss 200 Club, (click on the logo for more information).

We recognise that we may need to take legal and/or other specialist advice in the near future and this is expensive, so please do take the opportunity to join our little lottery.  It provides us with much needed funding and you with a chance to win a percentage of our takings.

We closed the meeting with an update on a number of important items, including:

  • Feedback on our Importance of Carrington Moss Survey
  • Our joint work with Carrington Parish Council to create a Balanced, Community Focused Transport Strategy for the area
  • Our next Master Plan workshop, which will focus on Air Quality
  • An update on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
  • An outline of the latest Government Consultations about the planning process.

More information about all these items will be included in our September newsletter.

We hope those who came along enjoyed our first online public meeting and will join our future online events.

Two ecology specialists will join our online Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 26th August (7pm)

Many of you are using Carrington Moss as part of your daily exercise routine and, whilst you are out an about, you are highly likely to see lots of birds and other wildlife in this rich, nature-filled environment.  So, we are particularly delighted to announce that we will have two special guests at our online AGM on 26th August.  We will hear firstly from Stuart Fraser, Environmental Records Officer at Greater Manchester’s Local Records Centre (GMLRC), which is part of the GM Ecology Unit.  Stuart will talk to us about recording our bird and wildlife sightings on Carrington Moss and he will tell us a little about the records held by the GMLRC pertaining to Carrington Moss. 

We’d like as many of you as possible to record your sightings to help confirm just how important the area is to endangered and at-risk species.  You can find out more about the GMLRC by clicking on the logo.

James Walsh, aka The Mancunian Birder, will then share some information about the key bird species on Carrington Moss. 

James is an ecologist, a birding expert and the author of “Greater Manchester Birding City Region”, which is available as a free e-book, with colour photos, via Borrowbox (see below).  The Greater Manchester Birding City Region Project (GMBCR) have selected a specific bird species to represent each of the 10 boroughs, with the Northern Lapwing being Trafford’s emblem.   Take a look at the GMBCR Project “Perfect 10” film, including the Northern Lapwing in Trafford – click on the picture to the right

Like Stuart and James, our group aims to connect people with nature and we are really looking forward to hearing their presentations on 26th August.

Click on the picture to the left to go directly to the Borrowbox webpage to borrow this fantastic book. The photographs are wonderful and James mentions how important the Mosses in the Region are. There are also lots of interesting links to other resources at the end of the book.

For information, Borrowbox makes available a wide range of eBooks and eAudiiobooks.  If you don’t have one already, you will need to create an account with Borrowbox either on the Borrowbox website or by downloading the app to your mobile device. You will need your borrower number and PIN to create an account. Click here for more information about Trafford’s online library services.

We will also use our AGM to elect/re-elect our Committee for a further year and to update you on our activities.  If you are interested in being nominated for a role on the Committee please let us know by 31st July by clicking on the button below and completing the contact form. 

For information, Committee members are typically attending between 3 and 5 Carrington Moss related meetings a week (sometimes more), we also spend a lot of time reading and researching and represent the Friends Committee, speaking at public meetings and other events.  New Committee members need to be able to fulfil these activities.  The Friends of Carrington Moss is not politically affiliated and, therefore, it would not be appropriate for elected members of political parties, or those seeking to be elected, to be nominated for positions on the Committee.

If you’d like to join us at our AGM, please click on the link below and complete the contact form, so we can send you the details for the online meeting.  Many people have used various types of virtual meeting over the past few months but if you feel you need help to get connected for our AGM, don’t hesitate to tell us when you click below.

An Interview with Dr Charlotte Starkey, Historian and researcher

It is fantastic to have the opportunity to talk to our friend and local historian, Dr Charlotte Starkey about the History of Carrington Moss and the (lack of) Archaeological Studies that have been carried out on this wonderfully, rich and diverse landscape.  Charlotte talks about everything, from our local Medieval history, to the current day, from the heavily industrialised North West quadrant of the Moss, to the nature-rich peat-moss that we all know and love.

FOCM:  So Charlotte, I know you have recently updated your page on our website with some information about the history of Carrington Moss.  Can you summarise briefly and we’ll include a link to your page so people can find out more?

Charlotte:  The area is rich in Medieval History.  Yes please do take a look at the latest page on the website here for my detailed reflexions on the Medieval period.  In these latest musings, I’ve focussed on the first part of the talk I have given to a number of groups about the Medieval Carrington story and there is more to come.  I really want to share this history, largely ignored in many circles, in order to give context to discussions about the Moss and its function.

Windmill Inn, Carrington (Courtesty of David Dixon 2011)

Carrington Hall, the seat of the Carrington family (those descended from Adam de Carinton), was sited to the north of Carrington Moss, almost opposite the Carrington Lane/Ackers Lane junction, west of ‘the Mile Road’.  Further along, just beyond the Windmill Inn (pictured left, courtesy of David Dixon, 2011), is the site of what was the old mill.  Part of the last of the buildings is still there, very dilapidated (you can tell the lack of respect for the history of this area; the rear of the remains of the mill which channelled the tailrace back to the River Mersey is covered with a film of oil with the pungent odour of crude oil and is quite dangerous).  The actual mill pond was a significant structure in its heyday, but it was in-filled and lost when the highways department (Ministry of Transport) and local government re-routed the old lane directly across the mill pond to straighten the road for heavy goods vehicles.

It is possible that Carrington Lane or its equivalent was a route for the Romans to Wilderspool and one cannot rule out the possibility of archaeological remains along the navigable River Mersey. 

Interestingly, a Manchester painter (Thomas Barritt, 1743-1820), who was also an antiquarian, described what he named as a sword once belonging to the Black Prince.  Not that the sword came from Carrington but it reminds us that the Caryngton men-at-arms were heavily involved in the Hundred Years War (and note that the spelling of the ‘modern’ Carrington surname changes as we move through the archives).  J. P. Earwaker dismissed Barritt’s curved scimitar sword because he found that the scabbard on the Black Prince’s effigy at Canterbury was straight; but that does not preclude the possibility that Edward had more than one sword and it would be quite unusual for just one sword to have lasted his many battles in the Hundred Years War.   

Sad to say, much of the named artefacts of the Caryngtons, in wills and other documents from the medieval period, have not survived, or at least have not been discovered, in this area.  One has to remember that, when the Booths took over Carrington circa 1600, they systematically appear to have wiped the Caryngton name ‘off the map’, as Sir Peter Leycester suggested in his history of the Bucklow Hundred written in the mid-seventeenth century.  

One piece of the Carrington dynasty is the portion of their medieval chapel dedicated to St Nicholas in Bowdon Church and the ‘Carrington Knight’ in St John’s Collegiate Church in Chester which has been mutilated at some point in the distant past.  Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of seafarers and numerous members of the Caryngtons sailed regularly to Normandy, La Rochelle and Bordeaux from Calais, Portsmouth, Southampton and possibly Chester, which was a very busy commercial port in the Middle Ages.  

FOCM:  Fascinating, so, have there been any recent archaeology studies of Carrington Moss, do you know?

Charlotte:  One study, mainly a geological survey, was carried out under the auspices of Lancaster University in 1995. The results can be found in a book by David Hall, C. E. Wells and Elizabeth Huckerdy, called the Wetlands of Greater Manchester (there is a copy in Manchester Central Library Special Collections).  Though geology was their main emphasis, they mentioned the problems of conducting archaeological studies on the Moss stating that the Moss was very ‘busy’, referring to the amount of urban waste which was thrown on the Moss by Manchester Corporation.  They themselves did not carry out a detailed archaeological survey.

FOCM: The history of the Moss is so interesting. When did Manchester Corporation start to use the site?

Charlotte: In 1886, when the Stamfords of Dunham Massey, then owners of the Moss, faced increasing financial concerns, they sold the Moss to Manchester Corporation’s Cleansing Department.  This was also the time when the landowners of England were coming under increasing pressure from the newly formed local councils to release land for other uses.  Initially, the agreement was that only ‘night soil’ (human waste) would be thrown on the Moss to be used as fertiliser for the newly laid out agricultural fields, organised in a series of square and rectangular patterns along the routes which you can still walk today: Birch Road, Woodcote Road, Ashton Road, North Road and so on.  This was in the central area where Manchester United has its training ground.  By calling these tracks ‘Roads’ Manchester Corporation tried to recreate the Moss as an extension of its ‘urbanisation’ into north-east Cheshire but, before then, most of these ‘roads’ did not exist except as tracks, and certainly not in the regimented manner in which the Corporation set them out for the light railway system they introduced to disperse the ‘night soil’.  Moss Lane is a very old track into the Moss.

FOCM:  But they didn’t just stick to human waste, did they?

Charlotte:  No, the City soon began to dump its refuse on the Moss, which is why you can find lots of oyster shells, glass bottles, pots, shards and many other things, even on the surface of the Moss.  This was not the agreement with the Stamfords, who objected, but by then it was too late.  They had sold the Moss for £38,000, which was £13,000 more than their own estimates (though they didn’t tell the Corporation that).  From that point onwards the Corporation regarded the Moss as their own and it was a significant move because that also meant that Manchester had gained a major foothold into north-east Cheshire, a fact which is quite obvious today with the spread of their airport. 

FOCM:  Oh those canny Stamfords!   Some of the farms are still there today.

Charlotte:  Yes, the farms are the result of intensive draining from the Corporation’s efforts to increase the agricultural benefits of the Moss.  At first, a great success (it was actually listed as ‘Park’ with days out for visitors to view the nurseries etc.).  It grew flowers and vegetables for the increasing populations of Manchester and peat was used for the stabling of all the Corporation’s horses.  At one point, before all this, a commercial company had extracted peat from the Moss much earlier in the nineteenth century.  Civic dignitaries would visit the Moss on specified weekends dressed in their finery, travelling, much to the amusement of the locals, on gleaming steamboats that on working weekdays towed behind them to the Moss barge-loads of manure, stinking to high heaven.  The Corporation took great pride in their new-found greenspace.

FOCM:  So what happened next?

Charlotte:  With the dumping of urban waste, which began relatively quickly (1900s),the Moss fell into disuse apart from the work on the few remaining tenancies (all the smaller tenancies were ousted when Manchester bought the Moss).  One has to remember the traumatic impact of two World Wars as well.  That put paid to the efforts to keep the Moss a ‘pleasant prospect’ and, like much of the surrounding land around the River Mersey, from here southwards to Northenden, the Moss became a vast municipal tip.  It’s not so long ago they were still burning methane off the urban tip that skirted the River Mersey from the A56 towards Urmston Meadows.  This problem was made worse when, in 1947, under government auspices, a petrochemical industry was introduced along Carrington Lane (Petrocarbon to 1955ish; Shell up to 2014; Lyondellbasell now).

FOCM:  Did those companies bring benefits to the Moss?

Charlotte:  No, they introduced serious contamination to the North-Western quadrant of the Moss: whilst discovering the method for fractionating crude oil, they introduced polymers, polycarbons, methane, cyanide, nitrogen dioxide, adding to the cocktail of zinc, chrome and other hard metals, asbestos etc, already introduced by Manchester Corporation with the gas works and other industries.  In fact, a recent commercially sponsored ‘dig’ on the north-eastern sector of the Moss listed ‘plastic’ among the subsoil as an archaeological find!  Modern plastic sheeting was actually ‘invented’ here, with Petrocarbon, the very first petrochemical company specifically established to create an alternative to rubber for industrial and commercial use in 1947.  This was, of course, emulated across the world once the chemists at Petrocarbon left, were poached or enticed by more lucrative salaries abroad.  We all know the disastrous consequences the world now faces with plastic pollution.  Spoil from the earlier gas works and coking plants, the Irlam Steel works etc, all added to serious hazardous materials on that sector of the Moss, and these are still major problems.  There is a curious converse parallel here for the Moss to locations where mining destroyed landscapes in England and Wales.  Coal mining led to the release of vast amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when burnt.  The industrial revolution of Manchester and the world was built on that energy source.  On the Moss, there was, and still is the residue of, a substantial body of peat in which carbon dioxide has been locked (as in all peat bogs) naturally.  Yet, industrialists and politicians at a local and national level encouraged the importation of a major pollutant, oil, onto the pristine natural site of the peat bog.  That insult to a natural carbon sink began a process of degradation of the Moss as a carbon-capture source whilst polluting the subsurface of the Moss.  In every sense Manchester’s industrial past is marked by dreadful pollution of the natural world, a tradition which is continued in attempts to degrade Carrington Moss still further.

FOCM:  The tragedy of “progress”, is there any of the original peat moss left?

Charlotte:  This is a key heritage asset for the North West Region.  It is one of the last remaining peat bogs from the last Ice Age, along with Chat Moss, and it is (a) land designated as Green Belt; (b) a carbon-capture sink, like all peat bogs; (c) a source of great joy and wellbeing to many walkers, cyclists, and horse-riders (the horses bringing the equestrian tradition of the Medieval age that continues right into the present day).  It has designated sites of special scientific interest and biodiversity.  By Moss Lane there is still evidence of the original Moss, as well as at Birch Moss Covert.  When the Carrington Spur was constructed, 50,000 tons of peat had to be removed before the land could be considered safe for heavy traffic.  One can understand, therefore, that, outside the heavily industrialised sector, there are vast quantities of peat beneath the agricultural surfaces elsewhere.  You can see this in the coloured water of the drainage, that deep red-brown colour of peat leaching from the land, taking carbon-dioxide with it.

FOCM:  So we should retain, preserve and restore as much as we can of the peat moss, it is so valuable in the current battle against climate change?

Charlotte:  The great threat now comes from Trafford Council’s plan to construct 4 major roads and build a huge housing estate on the Moss, in spite of numerous studies, old and new.  The Manchester and District Regional Planning Proposals, 1945, for example, produced by Rowland Nicholas (Jarrold & Sons, 1945, see p. 11).  Nicholas (a Surveyor and Chief Engineer to the Manchester and District Regional Planning Committee) specifically stated that the Moss was unsuitable for housing; and this came from a man who had revolutionary visions of change to Manchester that never materialised.  The most telling evidence of all, of course, is the fact that, for over twelve thousand years no one built upon it; and the supposed genius of modern construction and engineering techniques are never going to improve on what nature has built on the Moss over many millions of years.  If these plans go ahead, they would not only destroy the Moss and create an unhealthy urban mess; they would create a major source of additional pollution, destroy a key carbon capture area, and lead to massive flooding.  As a peat bog, it retains vast quantities of excess water which otherwise would have nowhere to go.  The building of any major roads here will generate a huge number of additional traffic journeys, including countless numbers of cars coming into the area from outside Trafford, saturating the roads beyond, thus leading to even more road building in more green belt areas around and beyond Sinderland.  Home builders’ bodies also consistently warn against building on Peat Bogs.

Equally important is the World Health Organisation’s warning of the links between climate change and abuse of the natural world on the one hand, and the spread of infectious diseases in the modern world, on the other. In the light of the concerns for our climate, and because of the mounting evidence that abuse of the natural landscape and the creatures on it is not unconnected to the fact that we have a major pandemic threat with us this very moment, it is astonishing that the political will to listen to the science and respect the natural world seems as far away as ever in Trafford and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.  It is hugely worrying, particularly when we know that the Covid-19 threat has basically brought every country in the world to a standstill and crippled the world economy.  Where is the sense in building new roads across a peat bog which will mean the destruction of one of nature’s climate and flood control mechanisms, a resource of huge biodiversity, which helps to sustain the health of the planet and the people and animals on it, in the light of the science of climate catastrophe and human disease?

Ominously an article in New Scientist of 15th October 2019, using a predictive model that had proved successful in forewarning of every past pandemic when applied retrospectively, warned precisely of the link between human disease and climate change at the very moment the Covid-19 pandemic was establishing itself without much of the western world having a clue  (New Scientist, 15th October 2019, “How Deadly Disease Outbreaks could worsen as the climate changes”).  We all know what happened just about the time of the publication of this article and the consequences across the world even as we discuss these issues this very minute: in reality coronavirus was already afoot by early Autumn 2019.  The same subject was examined extensively in a powerful study by the World Health Organisation in 2018: Climate Change and Human Health (World Health Organisation, Feb. 2018).  

When Charles Dickens spoke to the Manchester Athenaeum in 1843, he praised its members for enabling study and reading to take place amidst the business of the industrial world because reflection and thought encouraged self-respect, self-confidence and respect for all around oneself.  Some of these qualities are desperately needed in the world of the Manchester Planners today as they try to steam ahead with the destruction of all that is important and beautiful around them in places such as Carrington Moss.

FOCM:  That would certainly be a tragedy for our Moss, should we be asking for more archaeological studies to be carried out?

Charlotte:  The evidence of archaeology in the Moss has hardly been touched by specialist archaeologists.  Part of the problem is that, as a subject, archaeology was still in the early stages of development in universities, such as the University of Manchester, which was in the process of being formed as the Moss was being developed.  Modern archaeological work is a relatively new science and has recently developed fantastic resources with the growth of technology in geophysics, lidar and ground-penetrating radar.  There had been a strong, long-established antiquarian tradition in the region with fascinating results which, however, did not include the Moss.  Though The Manchester Guardian carried numerous naturalist studies mentioning the Moss in the nineteenth century, no one mentioned the archaeology.  Archaeological interest in peat bogs, however, had grown from the mid-eighteenth century when a peat bog body was found in Lincolnshire.  Since then increasing numbers of such bodies have been found across the world.  The most famous local examples, of course, are Lindow Man from Lindow Moss, near Wilmslow (1984 / British Museum), and Worsley Man (1953), on a Salford Peat Bog.  Leather shoes have been found at Chat Moss, but, sadly, whatever is buried underneath Carrington has suffered the fate of the surface of the Moss in large sections where industrial and other waste has dominated the environment.

The Moss, however, is much, much more than the industrialised quadrant and has hardly been excavated.  Much will have been destroyed and usually an archaeological dig only happens when there is good evidence of a specific archaeological/historical reason or if, as happens with planning regulations, a survey is conducted.  Funding is always an issue but some of these commercial studies are not detailed and they look mainly for expected agrarian use in field contours.  In the case of Carrington Moss, they do not consider (perhaps do not even know) that this was a hive of activity in the Middle Ages focused upon Caryngton Hall, Carrington Lane, the equestrian tradition for which it was known in the Middle Ages, and the widely travelled experiences of the Caryngton family, not simply abroad to Normandy, Aquitaine and Navarre, but also within the British Isles during the wars with Wales and Scotland, and in tending their estates further afield in the Longdendale Valley, the Forest of Wyrehale (Wirral) and Marcher lands.  I believe the site of Carrington Hall, and parts of the area where the old mill existed along the Lanewould be useful points with which to begin.  That whole section north of Carrington Lane was a key transport route in the Middle Ages and, of course, it was connected to other routes by the River Mersey.  Two dug-out canoes (c.AD/CE 1030-1245 radio-carbon dating) were discovered along local river banks when the ditch for the Ship Canal was excavated.

FOCM. So, it would be exciting to carry out a new archaeological study.  Perhaps we can persuade our friends at South Trafford Archaeological Group (STAG) to start the ball rolling!

Residents and local experts deliver added value in Master Plan workshops

As we mentioned in our previous blog, the Friends of Carrington Moss recently arranged two workshops to provide input to the local Master Plan. 

We’d like to take this opportunity to provide some feedback on the outputs from these workshops.  We’ll give you some information about next steps and we’d love to have your thoughts about some of the key issues, because, of course, the

OUTCOMES

(ie what happens in response to the workshops) are, most importantly, why we spent so much time planning, preparing and hosting these sessions.

The Coronavirus has impacted timescales, so please bear with us and our partners over the coming months as some of the planned activities will not be completed within the same timescales now.

The first deliverable from each workshop was a set of key design principles which were discussed and agreed within the participant groups.  We also received further feedback after the workshops.  The graphic below represents the final output, which has been updated for all comments and responses received.

The core principle for each of the two topics is shown at the centre of the graphics.  We believe these core principles are the overarching imperatives in the Master Planning process for these two themes.  Some suggestions were also made about additional principles, which need further discussion.

The workshops also discussed the key assets we have on the Moss.  This activity was structured in a slightly different way in the two workshops.

In the Ecology and Biodiversity Workshop:

We looked at the quantitative values of the ecology and biodiversity on the Moss and how they can be measured.  Quantitative values can typically be measured numerically in some way, such as by size of the area, the number of creatures supported by that feature, or by using a pre-determined metric established by experts.

To facilitate this discussion, Trafford Wildlife shared their assessment of the wide variety of existing habitats on Carrington Moss and a representative from the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU) presented information about the sites of biological importance and the presence of endangered species on Carrington Moss.

The break-out groups then considered the qualitative values, discussing their views about the most important ecological assets on Carrington Moss.  Qualitative values are things that would not necessarily be counted numerically, they can be perceptions and feelings, not just tangible measurements and typically relate to the quality of a feature.

The results of this activity are shown in the graphic below:

As you can see, there was a lot of consistency in the discussions that took place in each break-out group, so it is important that these values are considered in the design and development of the updated Master Plan.

In the Interconnected Traffic-Free Routes across Carrington Moss

We categorised the various routes across Carrington Moss that are used today and also identified potential future traffic-free routes that will be important to consider in the Master Planning process.

Again, there was a lot of consistency between the groups, including in their assessment of potential future routes.  Connectivity with the wider network of walking and cycling routes is considered to be very important.  There was a lot of discussion about the dismantled railway line and it is important to take the number of horse riders using the Moss on a day to day basis into account.  Our friends in the horse riding community tell us that there are over 1,000 horses stabled in the area, no wonder we see someone on horseback almost every time we go onto the Moss.

Finally, the third activity was to identify the key next steps to help progress the Master Plan and ensure community engagement continues as a key part of the discussions.  These have been consolidated because there was so much overlap between the break-out groups and lots of actions were suggested.

Let’s look first at the Quick Wins, these are things we can do in the short term (in the next three to six months), without too much difficulty.  We are already working with our partners to deliver these:

ActionCommentary
Plant wildflower meadows (next to the footpaths, ditches, solar farm, hedgerows)We have already discussed this with HIMOR and hope to sow seed over the coming months
Plant bulbs/understorey in the woodlandsAgain, we are actively planning this with HIMOR
Create a programme of work for schools (including, if possible, on-line resources), arrange school/resident visits onto the MossTwo school visits already arranged, with more to follow, we are also planning some community walks over the coming months
Introduce more way markers and signage to help those using the MossAgain, HIMOR are actively supporting this initiative
Do litter picks on and near the footpathsWe held our first litter pick in February and will be doing more over the coming months
Involve representatives from all communities in discussions about the Master Plan for the area, invite those representatives to the existing forums which are part of the Master Plan processWhilst we feel this must be a quick win, community engagement on Master Planning is not yet in place, but we hope to bring more information on this over the coming weeks.

The workshops also identified things that would take a bit more discussion but we believe can be achieved in the medium term (in the next six to nine months) and also some more challenging actions which may start over the coming weeks but will take much longer to complete (possibly up to a year or longer):

We’d also like to have your inputs into the next steps and with that in mind, we have created a very short survey, which should take less than 5 minutes to complete.  We are keen to secure inputs from as many in the community as possible, so please encourage your family, friends and neighbours to respond too. Click on the button below to access the survey.

We are now planning our next workshops, the first of which will consider the plans for the Strategic Road Network to be constructed across the Moss, these currently include the Carrington Relief Road, the Sale West Link Road, the Birch Road Link and the Southern Link Road.  We will be seeking to identify quick wins, route options and alternatives to the reduce the need for so much new tarmac!  A further workshop will look Risks and Issues (for example, Air Pollution, Noise Pollution, other impacts of high volume HGV traffic and potential COMAH site topics). More information will follow on these workshops over the coming weeks.  They may, of course, need to be on-line sessions, due to the Coronavirus.

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