Category Archives: Blog

GMSF Delay- Maybe it means Consultation?!

Many of you will already be aware that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has been delayed again. 

Find out more about the GMSF here https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing/greater-manchester-spatial-framework/

The GMSF is the strategy for the region which incorporates Trafford’s plans for the future of Carrington Moss. 

A number of perceptions have been circulated about the delay, one of which is that the Government will not approve the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) request to allow the release green belt as part of the approach they are taking.  Not quite correct. 

For clarity, there are two ways in which the regional strategy can be presented:

  • as a Joint Development Plan (JDP), which is what has been produced to date
  • as a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS), which is the preferred future approach of the GMCA

Under the current regulations, an SDS CAN remove land from the Green Belt, but ONLY local/neighbourhood plans can redefine the Green Belt boundary.  This is the issue that is still being discussed with the Government.

So, what are the next steps for the GMSF? 

Information in the papers supporting the GMCA meeting on 27th September suggest the following:

Over 17,500 individuals and organisations responded to the GMSF consultation in January 2019 and more than 67,000 comments were made.  These have been analysed and a Consultation Summary report will be published over the coming days.  We will provide links to this in a future newsletter.

In summary, the specific New Carrington question received 523 responses and New Carrington Allocation questions received 738 responses (note that the Timperley Wedge Allocation questions received 942 responses).  These low numbers reflect the very poor communication about the plan.  In Trafford we received a glossy leaflet to every home about the marathon, which is a one-day event.  We received nothing which set out the huge human and wildlife impact of these plans!

The key issues that arose in the comments will inform the further evidence work that needs to be undertaken and, also, the GMCA’s engagement strategy over the coming months.  A Consultation Final Report will be produced with the next Draft GMSF, which will outline how these issues have been considered and how the plan has been changed as a result of comments made, or why some comments have not resulted in changes.  It is not intended to respond in detail to every comment made.

It is recommended, by the GMCA, that, in order to allow time for Government to amend the SDS regulations (mentioned above), engage more fully with residents and other interested parties, and undertake a 12 week consultation, the timetable would look as follows:

Programme of engagement around evidence
(for example transport, affordable housing, viability)
October 2019 – March 2020
Town Centre/Urban Living/Affordable Housing campaigns October 2019 – January 2020  
District approvals June/July 2020
GMCA approval July 2020
Public Participation (12 weeks) July 2020
Submission Dec 2020/Jan 2021
Examination May – October 2021
Publication (adoption) December 2021

The full report is available at this link https://democracy.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/documents/b7839/GMCA%20SUPPLEMENTARY%20AGENDA%2027th-Sep-2019%2010.00%20Greater%20Manchester%20Combined%20Authority.pdf?T=9 (agenda item 20).

For a region which purports to want to minimise the release of green belt, the work of the Save Greater Manchester Green Belts group has revealed that

NO Release of Green Belt would be required

anywhere in Greater Manchester, if:

  • the latest household projections (2016) were used in the Government’s standard methodology (these have been produced by the statistical experts, the Office for National Statistics – ONS), rather than the 2014 projections which the Government currently requires Authorities to use (these were produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government MHCLG);

or

  • the GMSF included projections (as allowed by the National Planning Policy Framework – NPPF) for large and medium sized windfall sites;

or

  • a 15 year plan was submitted (as allowed by the NPPF) rather than the current 19 year plan.

In addition, local and regional politicians could accept the MHCLG statement that the methodology for calculating the number of homes to be built in an area is a starting point, NOT a target!  In Trafford that would mean we could look at the housing actually NEEDED here and prioritise building homes which address our local housing crisis. 

There is NO housing crisis anywhere in the region for

people who can afford to buy their home.

So, it is important to recognise that the release of green belt is totally in the hands of our local and regional politicians

Remember, Trafford currently has the lowest proportion of green belt land in the whole of Greater Manchester, except for the city areas of Manchester and Salford.
Remember also that most of the other GM Authorities benefited from a more than 50% reduction in green belt loss when the 2019 version of the GMSF was produced (this means that the green belt loss set out in the 2016 iteration of the GMSF was reduced by over 50% on average across GM – Tameside, for example, reduced their loss of green belt by over 80% between the two iterations of the strategy – fantastic news for their residents). 

For Trafford overall, our reduction in green belt loss

was only 22% and for Carrington Moss it was a very

poor 20%!

So basically, Trafford continues to take a heavier hit than almost all the other Local Authorities in the region in terms of loss of green belt in the current plan! 

Please ask your local politicians (Councillors and MPs) their views.  Why would they accept and allow this imbalanced and disproportionate outcome for Trafford residents??? 

This latest delay brings a great opportunity to increase the level of consultation about the plans and engage with a much broader range of citizens in our communities, including those who are not typically accessing information online.  We hope Trafford Council fully exploits this over the coming months to ensure all residents fully understand the impact of these plans. 

Honesty and openness are essential, especially in

terms of the loss of health and wellbeing assets, the

reduction in air quality and the increase in noise

pollution that will be experienced by existing

residents who are impacted by these plans.

Sale FC Rugby – part of the local community

In preparation for the first match of the season, we recently met with Dave Hulme, General Manager, Sale FC Rugby and asked him for a bit of background about the club and the impact of the plans for Carrington Moss on its future……………….

(click here to go to the Sale FC Rugby website)

Tell us a little about the history of Sale FC and how the club is doing.

Founded by a team of enthusiastic sportsmen, drawn mainly from Sale Cricket Club, Sale Football Club was founded in 1861, is the fifth oldest surviving rugby club and the most prominent in the history of the North West (and no, that’s not just us being biased).  

Over the years, our players have become renowned for their mobility and powers of endurance, which when allied with their bountiful enthusiasm render Sale FC invincible.  In the very early days of the Club, rules were usually deemed unnecessary and those that were enforced were often made up on the spot.  As the game began to evolve, the need for specified regulations became apparent and, in 1865, the Minute Book was created stipulating the ten rules to be followed by all players.  In fact, this is now the world’s oldest existing rugby rule book and a much-treasured possession here at the Clubhouse.

Mention Sale FC to anyone and the first words that usually spring to their mind are ‘Heywood Road’ but this has not always been our home.  Back in the day, games were played on either a rented portion of Sale Cricket Club or on fields owned by local farmers.  Although we didn’t have a home to call our own, this setup did mean that we became a very real part of the community and a strong bond was formed with local people, something we have continued to build upon over the years.  At Sale FC there’s nothing we enjoy more (no, not even scoring that winning try in a cup match) than seeing young, local talent blossom in front of our very eyes.

Success on the pitch meant that better facilities were demanded and in 1905 we bought a field at the end of Heywood Road.  Better training grounds and social facilities, coupled with the formidable force of the 1910/11 squad took us to an unprecedented P26, W24, D2, not bad for our 50th year even if we do say so ourselves!

Hannah Birch scores her first try
Hannah Birch scores her first try

Over the years, Sale FC have featured many prominent international and County players.  Pat Davies became our first England international in 1927 and the ‘Roaring Thirties’ brought about an international backline; Hal Sever (England wing), Claude Davey and Wilf Wooller (Wales centres) and Ken Fyfe (Scotland wing). Fran Cotton, Steve Smith, Dewi Morris, Richard Trickey and Jason Robinson.

In 1936, we were invited to take part in the Middlesex Sevens Cup and through pure skill and determination we came away as victors.  Suddenly people in the South were forced to recognise the North West, not just as a Rugby League area, but as a formidable source of Union players too.

Prior to World War II, an increase in membership meant that the Club had almost outgrown facilities at Heywood Road and so an additional site on Woodbourne Road was purchased.  Initially this was meant to be a training ground for the junior team but there were talks to eventually relocate the rest of the Club there too.  Jim Birtles kept the spirit of Sale FC alive during the war (and for the next thirty years after that!) but when war was over the desire to develop Woodbourne Road had disappeared and it was instead decided to focus efforts on the redevelopment of Heywood Road.  Land was sold to fund the project and the ground gradually began to evolve into the home we now cherish and love so much.  A new clubhouse was built, the old bath house was replaced by squash courts, changing facilities were improved, floodlights installed and the commemorative ‘Jim Birtles Stand’ replaced the old bike shed.

Jeremy Toa looks the wrong way for support
Jeremy Toa looks the wrong way for support

The success and growth of Sale FC in recent years has enabled us to invest even further into our facilities, purchasing land at Carrington for training purposes.  This site is now regarded as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and is used not only by us but by our professional friends over at Sale Sharks and even a number of international clubs too.

2011 marked the 150th birthday of Sale FC, we are proud of what we have achieved so far and look forward to the challenges and successes the next 150 years will bring.

On the field, the first team have had a successful period in recent times rising from level ten to level three since Sale Sharks left Heywood Road for Edgeley Park in 2003.  Having gained promotion to National One at the start of last season, we are looking to consolidate further and to gain another promotion to the Championship as soon as possible.

Off the field, our top quality facilities are important for our development and growth as a rugby club but also as a part of our local community.  It is the enthusiasm and dedication of the people at Sale FC that really make us such a great club.  From players to our Executive committee, members, supporters to groundsmen, everyone has an important role to play.

What made Sale FC choose Carrington for their training ground?

In the early part of the 21st Century the area off Carrington Lane was being developed into top quality sports training facilities by the two Manchester Football Clubs.  It, therefore, made total sense to relocate our training facilities from Woodborne Road to Carrington as well.

Meg Buckley breaks the Manchester line to score
Meg Buckley breaks the Manchester line to score

Have you been happy here?  

Yes, our training grounds offer a great environment for our players, giving them access to premiership quality floodlit pitches and other facilities to support their development.  This is a key factor in helping us get to the top of our game and to stay there. 

One of the benefits of the Carrington location is the wide-open countryside around our site.  It is a safe, clean setting, which provides fresh air and a peaceful atmosphere for players when they are training.  With easy access from surrounding areas, we are able to coach multiple teams, simultaneously, without impacting the local community.

You gave us permission to put up an air quality monitoring tube on your site, how will the planned new road impact your athletes?

The proposed developments in this area will have a massive and detrimental impact for both our professional sportsmen and our young players, some of whom are only five years of age. 

The outcome of exposure to air pollution is now well researched and scientists recognise that it not only reduces athletic performance, it can also put the health of our sportsmen at a higher level of risk.  During training, for example, athletes typically take in as much as 20 times more air than a person at rest, so this means that they would be exposed to 20 times more pollutants as well. 

While the effect of air pollution on athletic performance is a concern, the impact of air pollution on the short- and long-term health of athletes is an even greater worry.  With this in mind, we are keen to support the Friends of Carrington Moss in their campaign preserve and restore Carrington Moss, rather than building roads and housing alongside the training grounds.  

Do you have any other concerns about the plans for development?

There has been very little communication and discussion about the plans, which will, as I have already mentioned, have a massive and detrimental impact on the club.  The initial plans published show that a roundabout, to facilitate the new road, will be constructed right on the end of our land and may even encroach on it.  This would mean the loss of one of our pitches which would reduce our ability to provide facilities to as many people as we currently do.  Even if the planned road is alongside our pitches, rather than on our land itself, given the expected impact to the health and well-being of our players, we feel strongly that this should have been discussed with us BEFORE these plans were published.

So, in summary, the proposed Carrington developments would impact the club’s ability to grow further and will hamper the positive contribution we look to make to the well-being of the people in the local area.

So, what does the future hold for Sale FC?

We are aiming for the top.  We have a very strong team, with some new signings for the new season.  The club are looking to grow and develop for the benefit of our members, our players and for our local community as a whole.  The Carrington site is vital for that growth, as this is where our circa 250 young players learn all about rugby and the individual benefits the sport brings.  

Matt Bradley stops Curtis Wilson
Matt Bradley stops Curtis Wilson

Carrington Moss – A Site of Biological Importance

We are really looking forward to the presentation from David Reeves, Reserves Management Coordinator for Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Northern Group at our AGM on 17th August. 
We hope you will come along.  David will be talking about the Sites of Biological Importance (SBI) on Carrington Moss, which have long been recognised by Trafford as crucial for their ecological value. 

In fact, a very forward-thinking Trafford Council documented the Wetlands at Carrington Moss as an SBI in their Unitary Development Plan (UDP) of 2006 and recognised the importance of “The protection and enhancement of the moss land as a carbon sink to mitigate the effects of climate change” back in the Core Strategy of 2012, before other Authorities were even talking about climate change! 

In that Core Strategy, the Authority identified “The protection and enhancement of the sites of nature conservation and biological importance, including the Carrington Rides” as a condition which MUST be satisfied in order for development to take place in the area. 

In Trafford’s Landscape Strategy of 2004 the document noted that “The Council has completed a Landscape Assessment of the Borough’s open land and has identified seven different landscape types that it wishes to seek to preserve and enhance”.  One of those Landscape Types was the Mossland at Carrington Moss.  This document also mentions that the Mossland “forms perhaps the oldest remaining landscape feature in the Borough.  It is invaluable archaeological evidence on how the landscape and climate has changed over the centuries”.  

The Landscape Strategy talks about the “unique” characteristics of Carrington Moss and the mossland ditches are described as “important areas of ecological value”.  It states that any development in the area should conserve and enhance the structure of the Carrington Rides.  Again, way in advance of current thinking, Trafford suggested the establishment of traditional wildflowers next to ditches and fields.  One of the key proposals in the Landscape Strategy was the conservation and enhancement of the open aspect and views which were considered to be “important characteristics of the area”.

The UDP of 2006 included the Carrington Rides in the list of features the Council would seek to “retain, protect and wherever possible, enhance”.  They are described as a Local Nature Conservation Site.  That document also identified the Carrington Tree Belts as one of the areas in which the Council would seek to “consolidate and strengthen the effectiveness of the wildlife corridors”.  The UDP states that “Local Nature Conservation Sites were identified by Trafford Borough Council as a result of a habitat survey carried out by the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, to a nationally approved method and updated by local knowledge”.

Testament indeed to the level of importance

Trafford has placed on Carrington Moss in the

past!

Yet now, here we are, trying to persuade our local politicians that they should not put up to 10,000 houses and several roads across it.  What has changed???

Well for a start, in 2012 Trafford estimated that Carrington could deliver 1,560 homes, now the GMSF plans to eradicate the carbon capturing peat moss and build a minimum of 6,100 homes (and up to 10,000) on it.  This level of increase is not only illogical, it is unsustainable.  It conflicts with the strategic aims of the GMSF, the Trafford declaration of a climate emergency, the GM 5 year Environment Plan, and a number of other policies and strategies. 

Clearly, for some of our politicians, the protection and enhancement of the sites of biological importance, including the Carrington Wetlands, a grade A SBI, is no longer considered as important today as it was just a few years ago!  

For local residents, however, the importance of this wonderful green space has increased due to recognition of the potential affect of climate change and the health impact of air pollution.

This breeding and feeding ground for more than 20 red listed (globally threatened) birds and a number of endangered wildlife species, will instead be largely built on (roads and houses)

Who will benefit ………..?

Trafford Residents?

We are not anti-house-building, and we do recognise there is a housing crisis, so are these plans focused on those who are in dire need of housing?

Are there development obligations that ensure the people of Trafford who need homes are considered first?

How expensive will the new houses be? How will Trafford ensure the required minimum 30% affordable homes will definitely be built? 

Are there development obligations that prevent the new homes being sold (often off plan) to foreign investors?

And something topical for this week, Carrington Moss is a flood plain, what will happen to all that water – will we end up with floods in new or existing homes?

The planned new road(s) will create significant levels of additional air pollution in the area, affecting the health and wellbeing of residents, users of the sports facilities and users of the Transpennine Trail. 

Currently residents are able to use this free local amenity for walking, cycling, horseriding, nature spotting and bird watching.  Oh yes, the GMSF suggests a green corridor is planned, but most of it appears to be on land that residents cannot routinely use.  The sports fields of Manchester United and Sale RFC, for example, some of which are actually synthetic.  To be clear, we are not criticising the sports clubs for this, but we do not believe the Authority should be classifying artificial grass as a “green corridor”! How does decimating this fantastic local amenity benefit residents?

The Environment?

Did you know Trafford declared a climate emergency back in November 2018?  Well, the plans are to build housing and roads on a peat moss which has been capturing carbon for thousands of years, so we will actually be releasing hundreds of thousands of megatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere!  Does that sound like it meets the requirements of a declaration of a climate emergency?!

The current A6144 road is busy during rush hour, not at other times of the day, so why do we need a new road as a priority?  Is there a commitment to more public transport for this area? Not in the strategy documents that have been published so far.  Absolutely no commitments to anything but the Relief Road!

And the new road(s) across Carrington Moss (the GMSF indicated more than one road) will be a great additional shortcut for people from outside the borough.  Given the amount of additional traffic (and no public transport improvements, no park and rides, no trams) – will it resolve or exacerbate congestion issues!  The recently built A555 (Airport Relief Road) is an example from elsewhere in the region, but, of course, that has been closed due to flooding ………..

With all that industrial and warehousing space in New Carrington (between 410,000 and 900,000 square metres), the anticipated 400 – 600 lorries per day (24×7) will bring even more traffic and pollution to the area.

Some of the terrain is Grade 2 agricultural land – which means it is perfect for growing the crops we need to eat (I won’t mention the “B” word, but this may become particularly important after we leave), locally sourced and sold, reducing our carbon footprint – but no – the fields will be built on!

The Wildlife & Birds?

And what about those endangered creatures, whose habitat is this SBI, will they benefit from these decisions?  Sadly, many will undoubtedly die because their habitat has been fractured or eliminated.  Some may have already been moved several times because of the development programmes in the area.  Some ecologists involved in planning applications appear not to have the interests of wildlife and birds at the heart of their aims and objectives.  In one recent planning application, an ecologist’s report appeared to suggest that red listed birds can just relocate to nearby fields when their homes are destroyed.  Experts will know that the birds need to fight for their territory, fight to protect their young and fight to secure sufficient food to feed themselves and their families.  So, it is not just a case of “Open arable fields in the wider area” providing “suitable habitat” for the displaced red listed birds whose feeding, roosting and nesting habitats are expected to be destroyed!

These endangered wildlife and red listed birds are already struggling, here are just a few examples of the challenges some of the creatures you will find on Carrington Moss are facing (images courtesy of the web pages mentioned below):

the water vole – which has “undergone one of the most serious declines of any wild mammal in Britain during the 20th century” (https://ptes.org/get-informed/facts-figures/water-vole/) – between 1989 and 1998 “the population fell by almost 98%!”  Research led by the Wildlife Trusts indicates there has been a 30% decline in water vole populations since 2006, which represents an approximately 3% loss in populations per year.

the hedgehog – recent surveys have shown hedgehog numbers have “fallen by about 50% since the turn of the century” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42959766), with some researchers estimating the decline at higher levels (66% in the past 13 years https://www.bto.org/science/monitoring/hedgehogs.) “Conservation groups say they are particularly concerned about the plight of the prickly creatures in rural areas.”

bats – many bat species are vulnerable or endangered as a consequence of loss or fragmentation of their habitat, diminished food supply and destruction of their homes. According to https://www.bats.org.uk/bat populations have declined considerably over the last century. Bats are still under threat from building and development work that affects roosts, loss of habitat, the severing of commuting routes by roads“.  The brown long-eared bat which has declined by 31.3% since 1999 (a 2.2% decline per year).

the common toad – many of our once common amphibian species are in acute decline, including the common frog, common toad and natterjack toad.  Recent research has shown that common toad populations have declined across the UK by 68% over the past 30 years, which approximates to a 2.26 % decline per year.  The reasons for the decline in the common toad are similar to those affecting hedgehogs including habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution and climate change. https://www.froglife.org/2018/03/23/amphibian-and-reptile-declines-uk-perspective/

the skylark – the UK population halved during the 1990s and is still declining, in their preferred habitat (farmland) skylarks have declined by 75%.
https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/skylark/threats/#EmyeBdfkY6ixxPWH.99

the lapwing – between 1987 and 1998 lapwing numbers dropped by 49 per cent in England and Wales. Since 1960 the numbers dropped by 80 per cent https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/lapwing/population-trends/#WZizT2MxLgOTApod.99

All in all, a sad situation for our wildlife and birds. You can find more information on our website at this link: https://friendsofcarringtonmoss.com/endangered-species/

So who can possibly be benefiting from these ill-considered, disproportionate and totally unnecessary plans to release 240 hectares of green belt and develop on a peat moss??? 

Let us know what YOU think!

Concerned about Air Quality on and around Carrington Moss?

We are! 

Especially as the ONLY commitment in the GMSF and the GM Transport Strategy 2040 for this area is a new road.  A new town is being planned, yet no trams, no commitments to additional bus services (everything but the new road is subject to business cases and funding). 

Given the size of the industrial and warehousing area (planned to cover the remaining brownfield site in Carrington), we have estimated that the road will be used by between 400 and 600 lorries per day (24×7 – based on estimates from previous planning applications for this site).  Add to this the 20,000 plus cars which will be needed by those living in the new homes to be built (because there will be insufficient public transport) and the induced through traffic……..

… the impact on our air quality will be phenomenal!!!

As there is no monitoring of the air pollution in this area by Trafford, despite its proximity to the M60 and the airport flight path, the Friends of Carrington Moss Committee began our own monitoring on 1st June, to provide baseline figures before any new road(s) or housing developments are built.  This will increase our knowledge of the environmental impacts effecting the area and we took the opportunity to catch up with local subject matter experts, Peter Bagnall of the Breathe Clean Air group and Sue Huyton of the Clean Air Parents group.  Here is what they told us.

Talking to the experts

FOCM: Hey Peter, which air pollutants should we be measuring?

Peter: Well there are a number we could measure in addition to the Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) that you have started to monitor.  I’d be happy to come along and measure very small Particulate Matter (PM2.5), the Air Quality Index (AQI) and Carbon Monoxide (CO2) on a regular basis.  That will help you to build up a picture of the current baseline in terms of Air Quality in the area.

FOCM:  So, we have started to monitor Nitrogen Dioxide, what is it and what does it do?

Peter: NO2 is part of a group of gaseous air pollutants emitted by road traffic and other fossil fuel combustion processes.  In the air it contributes to the formation of other pollutants such as Ozone, Particulate Matter and Acid Rain and it damages your health by causing reduced life expectancy, chronic respiratory issues and cardiovascular problems.  It has also been linked with depression, anxiety, autism, dementia, cancer and birth defects, to name just a few other conditions.

FOCM:  Are the other pollutants just as dangerous?

Peter:    Particulate Matter in the air with a diameter of 2.5 micrograms or less (PM2.5) is considered to be the most hazardous pollutant to human health.  It is also emitted from diesel engines and the combustion processes.  It is carcinogenic and can be absorbed into the bloodstream by the lungs.  TMBC do not monitor PM2.5 anywhere in Trafford and the nearest site that does is the DEFRA automatic site in Eccles (https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data-plot?site_id=ECCL&days=7).

FOCM:  We put up our first diffusion tubes on 1st June to measure the NO2 in this area, tell us about the process.

Peter:   It can get a bit technical but in essence, the diffusion tube is a passive sampler which measures the pollutants in the air.  The results are provided by specialised laboratories who use Government regulated methods.  For those who are interested in more detail, it is a plastic tube containing a chemical reagent to absorb the pollutant to be measured directly from the air (they are also known as Palmes-type nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes).  The absorbent used is triethanolamine (Tea Water).   Stainless steel grids at the closed end of the tube are coated with a water based solution of this absorbent.  Diffusion tubes are classed as an “indicative” monitoring technique and can carry as much as 25% uncertainty compared to the Automatic Ambient Monitoring apparatus which uses the Chemiluminescence method as employed by DEFRA and local Councils.  When we come to recording your results, we will take this bias into account in the reporting.

FOCM:  Are there any legal limits for gases like NO2?

Peter:   Yes, the legal limit for this is currently 40 ug/m3 (that means 40 micrograms per cubic metre).  It should be noted that, although 40 ug/m3 is the legal limit, NO2 is a poisonous gas and this is not the same as saying this is a safe level!  That said, the UK must meet this limit and there have been several successful legal proceedings (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43141467).   In addition, ClientEarth has slammed ministers for letting deadlines pass unpunished, calling the situation a ‘moral failure’ from politicians at all levels.  Client Earth recently issued a warning to UK Local Authorities to finalise their air quality plans or face legal action (https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/26/clientearth-warn-councils-to-finalise-air-quality-plans-or-face-legal-action/).

FOCM: Are there any current legal claims related to the health effects of Air Pollution?

Peter:  There have been many cases related to air pollution and the damage it causes to human health.  They have previously been about stopping incinerators and biomass plants being built.  There is currently a case in the London Inquest Courts relating to a young child named Ella Kissi-Debra who died as a result of an Asthma attack caused by regular exposure to air pollution. This is still on-going and, due to more information becoming available, the courts have awarded a new inquest  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48132490
Other countries are also facing legal action as a consequence of the impact of air pollution on their residents’ health  https://www.france24.com/en/20190528-mother-daughter-sue-france-over-ill-health-air-pollution
.

FOCM: And Sue, tell us about the Clean Air Parents Network, it sounds like a fantastic initiative, what are your key activities?

Sue:     The Clean Air Parents’ Network was established just over a year ago to connect parents, carers, grandparents, who are concerned about how air quality impacts their children’s health now and in the future.  Poor air quality has a greater impact on children’s lungs.  They breathe faster and are more active, taking in proportionally more toxic air which can cause asthma and stunt lung development , contributing to the long term conditions that Peter refers to when they become adults.  We connect parents on a number of levels, within City regions (my main focus is Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham), this can be existing clean air parent groups, helping to set up new groups or linking individuals campaigning on their own!  We also connect people from across the country to each other, so there can be shared learning and support.  Ultimately though, we want to get parents involved in campaigning to clean up the dirty air.  This can be locally, regional or nationally.  We focus on getting the dirtiest vehicles of the most polluted roads primarily and that’s why my work focuses on areas that have been mandated by the Government in their drive to introduce Clean Air Zones. 

FOCM:  It would be great to work with both yourself and Peter going forward – there is lots to do isn’t there?

Sue:      There certainly is.  Where I think the way we can work together is for me to promote your campaign to our local members, provide some information and expertise around air quality.  We can also provide links to other organisations that could do more locally based work and bring in the wider British Lung Foundation (BLF) and Client Earth (CE) knowledge base and connections. The Clean Air Parents’ Network is a partnership between BLF and CE, so we are close to the national policy makers and influencers.

FOCM:  It is all very topical at the moment, are you managing to influence decisions at a national level?

Sue:      Our influence can be local, regional and/or national.  We want to have a huge number of parents to demand that Government complies with the law on air quality and adequately funds local authorities to implement robust enough measures to do this.

FOCM:  Fantastic, what’s next?

Sue:      Well, here are the details of some events we are running in Trafford in June:
Come and join members of the Clean Air Parents’ Network from Trafford for a free screening of the film “Fighting for Air”, followed by a Q&A session with panellists from health and the environment, including:
– Eleanor Roaf, Acting Director of Public Health, Trafford Council
– Dr Patrick Carrington, Consultant Haematologist, Trafford General Hospital, University of Manchester Hospital Trust.
– Transport for Greater Manchester (tbc)
– Chair, Sue Huyton British Lung Foundation and Clean Air Parents’ Network
Learn more about air quality in Trafford, how it impacts your children’s health, and what we can do locally and nationally for clean air for our children to breathe with healthy lungs.

o   Altrincham Event (18th June): https://altrinchamcleanairparentsnetwork.eventbrite.co.uk

o   Wellacre Event (27th June):    https://m41cleanairparentsnetwork.eventbrite.co.uk


FOCM:  Where can people get more information?

Sue:       Have a look at our website and sign up to our network for regular updates and opportunities (www.cleanairparents.org.uk).  We are also on facebook @Clean Air Parents’ Network.

Well it was fascinating to talk to Sue and Peter, they both have so much expertise and knowledge that we know will be useful as we move forward.  In the meantime, we’ve been doing a little research of our own and we think the Human Rights Act needs to be updated to be more specific.  We’ll be campaigning on this in the coming months.

Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 is the Right to Life and this already requires public authorities to consider your right to life when making decisions that might put you in danger or that affect your life expectancy”.  So, based on the evidence now available which shows the impact on human life expectancy from air pollution, it can be concluded that constructing new roads across Carrington Moss will impact the Human Rights of those whose health (and life expectancy) will be affected! 

We call on Trafford to revisit this plan!

Want more information?  Visit the following websites:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-air-pollution/health-matters-air-pollution
https://cleanairgm.com/
https://www.trafford.gov.uk/residents/environment/pollution/air-quality/air-quality.aspx – for information, local authorities are required submit a single Annual Status Report relating to air quality each year (by 30 June).

For our younger followers – why is Carrington Moss so important?

Much of Carrington Moss is still a wetland moss, which is full of peat.  Peat is made from layers of dead plant material.  We think the peat is very deep on Carrington Moss because it has been forming for thousands of years.  Peat ‘grows’ by only a millimetre a year. A 10 metre deep peat bed takes 9,000 years to form. Peat is spongy and moves a lot when you walk on it.

Peat mosses are very important for plants, wildlife and bird species.  On Carrington Moss we have over 20 red listed birds.  This means they are globally threatened and each year there are fewer of these birds than there were the year before.  There are also some endangered wildlife (like water-voles, which is one of the most endangered species on the Earth, it is under serious threat from habitat loss and predators).  The combination of wet and dry areas on Carrington Moss means that we get lots of different kinds of plants and insects compared to, say, a garden at someone’s house.

The great thing about peat is that it helps to capture the carbon in the atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas which is created whenever people or animals breathe out.  It is also created when things are burnt.  CO2 is a greenhouse gas which helps to keep the heat in the atmosphere of our planet, which we need to live, but ……….. there is a problem!  Scientists think that there is now too much heat and too many greenhouse gases are now causing a rise in the temperature of the Earth’s surface.  They are calling this global warming and it is causing our climate to change. 

CO2 is created when people burn oil or coal, when they drive their cars and when they fly in planes.  Since the Industrial Revolution, which began around the 1750’s, people have changed the way things are made.  Instead of making things by hand, things began to be made by machines in factories and these factories also released lots of CO2 into the atmosphere.  Instead of using horses for transport, people now use cars and planes.

So more people on the Earth, more machines (including cars and planes), more factories means too much CO2!  We need to make changes!

Luckily plants use CO2 to make their food.  Trees and plants store CO2 in their bodies and in their roots.  So we need to plant more of these (not cut them down).  Areas like Carrington Moss are very, very important because they help to capture the carbon in the atmosphere and they keep it underground in the peat.  We should be restoring, preserving and retaining all the peat mosses to help ensure our planet does not get too warm for people to survive. 

This is why it is so important that we do not build houses or roads on Carrington Moss.  It is also, of course, an important green space for the wildlife, the birds and the local community, who walk, cycle or horse-ride on it.  People go there to do bird watching, nature spotting and, sometimes, just to chill out and feel better.

Echoing the eventual success following the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass of 24 April 1932?

We are sure everyone involved in Extinction Rebellion recognises that they are not the first to use the strength and energy of the public to achieve their goals against the powerful political and landowning elite.  We recently interviewed the Footpath Secretary of the Ramblers Trafford Group and she reminded us of the local hero involved in the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass.

FOCM: We didn’t realise there was such a local connection with the Trespass, tell us more!

June: Well Benny Rothman, who was one of the leaders, actually lived in Timperley, I think his house now has a blue plaque.  It was the efforts of those involved in the Mass Trespass that inspired the formation of the Ramblers Association.  Then as now, the countryside represented an escape from daily life, particularly for those who do not have access to green spaces.  Over the last sixty years the Ramblers have played a pivotal role helping secure the footpath network in England and Wales.  We protect the places people go walking and believe in protecting people’s ability to enjoy the intrinsic values of nature.

FOCM: We are lucky in Trafford to have Carrington Moss as a local place for walking, cycling and horseriding.  We don’t have to get in a car to find it, it is on our doorsteps.  Why is it important to you?

June: Trafford Ramblers organise led walks every week.  We have over 200 members of all ages and abilities and Carrington Moss has a number of very safe, and free, walking routes the public can use.  The big problem is that most of the land is privately owned, and, if the routes are not formally recorded public rights of way, the landowners could restrict access in the future.  Many people have been using these footpaths, not just for regular exercise but also as a way to soothe their emotional challenges, so they are an important asset, often better than a prescription!

FOCM: The existing routes are not all public rights of way are they?

June:  No, and the problem is that, if a landowner just allows the public to walk on a path, they can withdraw permission at a moment’s notice and the path can no longer be used by the public.  So we need as many of the footpaths to be formally recorded as public rights of way, as possible, rather than to keep the status quo with the permissive paths we have today.

FOCM: So what can we do – can our members help?

June: We are really keen to get the paths onto Trafford Council’s Definitive Map, this would mean the footpaths are protected in law and future generations would still be able to use them.  We’d like users of the existing footpaths to help us with our claims for public rights of way.  So if your members have been using the routes across Carrington Moss and have not yet completed a user evidence form, please ask them to email right.of.way.campaign@gmail.com.  We can make our claims on the grounds that the public has established a right of way by using these routes, on an uninterrupted basis, for over 20 years.  That does not mean that the people who have used these routes, or parts of them, must show they used them every day, nor that the same person has used the routes over the whole 20 years.  Regular use by a range of individuals to these overall routes, over the 20 year period, is sufficient.  So, partial use of the way, or occasional use only over a limited period of time will be helpful in supporting our claim. 

FOCM: Brilliant, we will remind them again about that.  I think I have seen your group maintaining the routes across Carrington Moss too?

June: Yes, Trafford Ramblers has an active Footpath Team who monitor and help maintain local footpaths and Rights of Way.  Some walk local footpaths and check that the paths meets the standards laid down by Trafford Council.  We also have small teams maintaining paths by cutting back obstructing vegetation, repairing natural surfaces and placing waymarks (yellow circles with black arrows) where needed.  We work out of doors, all year round and we are always looking for more volunteers for this, so if any of your members are interested, we would love to hear from them. 

FOCM: I think I saw the team on the Transpennine Trail, it is a key route across Carrington Moss.

June: Yes, it is an important part of our landscape.  I believe HIMOR, who own the land at the Carrington Moss part of the TPT, have said that they will renew the lease for the TPT, which is great news.  They have also said they will not object to our recent claim for a public right of way on Birch Road, which is another key route across Carrington Moss.

FOCM: Yes, in fact, HIMOR would be keen to have a workshop with us about the public rights of way across Carrington Moss, can you join us?

June: Try and keep me away, am looking forward to it!

If you want to know more about Trafford Ramblers, please check out their website at this link http://www.ramblers-trafford.co.uk/

Petition against roads across/through Carrington Moss

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

So what is the answer?  More roads? 

We do not think so!

Let’s get to the root cause of the problem!
In this area, most people NEED to have a car because our public transport is so poor and local roads are so dangerous, and highly polluted, for those who would like to cycle or walk. 

Good Public Transport Accessibility is a myth for Partington, Carrington and Sale West.  The Good Public Transport Accessibility GMAL 2018 map shows the gap clearly.


Isolation is the result for those who do not have access to a car, or the confidence to use other options.

So, what is being done about this?

Well, in the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040, for this area, there is only ONE COMMITMENT and that is for a new road!  A new road, for which there has been NO consultation.  A new road that will have cope with the existing traffic, an estimated 20,000 plus new cars AND between an estimated 400 and 600 lorries a day – yes, PER DAY, 24 x 7!!!  There will also be a huge inflow of traffic from outside the borough, because people will use the route as a shorter, or quicker, way to get from various places in Cheshire to Manchester, and back again.  So, if this road does go ahead, expect a massive increase in air pollution and the associated chronic illnesses, impacting local residents and users of Carrington Moss!

As soon as this new road is built (before ANY new houses come along), we will see lots of, what the Campaign for Better Transport (https://bettertransport.org.uk/roads-nowhere/induced-traffic) calls, induced traffic!

When a new road is built, new traffic will divert onto it. This well-known and long-established effect is known as ‘induced traffic’.  Induced traffic means that the predicted congestion benefits of a new road are often quickly eroded.  Traffic levels on bypassed roads can also rise faster than expected due to induced traffic, all of which means the hoped-for benefits of a new road can evaporate very quickly.  The phenomenon of induced traffic has been observed by transport professionals repeatedly since 1925!  And recent authoritative reviews have confirmed that induced traffic is still beating forecasts on new roads across the country”.

So basically, New Roads Create New Traffic

What about the alternatives? 

Well let’s take a closer look at the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 ……………..

The Vision for 2040, as set out in the Delivery Plan 2020-2025, states that Greater Manchester aims to “improve our transport system to support a reduction in car use to no more than 50% of daily trips, with the remaining 50% made by public transport, walking and cycling.  This will mean a million more trips each day using sustainable transport modes in Greater Manchester by 2040.” 

Very laudable, but how will this aim be achievable if, as an example, in the largest allocation in the GMSF (i.e. the New Carrington development), the only commitment in the next 5 years is to a new road?  In fact, the GMSF indicates that there will be several new roads across Carrington Moss! 

Despoiling the peat bog to create these new roads would release hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere and would prevent this habitat from continuing to capture carbon in the future.  The Friends of the Earth describe our peat bogs as “a natural ally against climate change” (sign the Friends of the Earth Protect Peat Moss Petition here).  In addition, the breeding and feeding grounds for a large number of red listed (globally threatened) birds and endangered wildlife species would be decimated.  The agricultural land, which we may need in the future to grow food to feed our population, would no longer be available.  Health problems would be caused or exacerbated for local residents and users of Carrington Moss as a result of the significant increase in air pollution.  Road transport is responsible for 80% of NO2 pollution at the roadside, where it is most damaging to health.   

What about public transport improvements, though!  Surely there are some set out in the Transport Strategy?  Well, during the next five years, business cases will be completed for some limited new bus services in the area (see graphic below).  So, IF the business case is proven, and IF the funding can be found, we MAY get some new bus services!  Not exactly a commitment then, unlike the road!!!  There is NO mention of even one Metrolink stop for the “only opportunity in Greater Manchester to deliver a new settlement of significant size” (i.e. the New Carrington development)!  There are NO park and rides planned to reduce the traffic from outside the borough, which causes so much of the congestion problems in the area.

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

What about the commitments to improve the traffic free routes – NO, nothing in the GMSF, let’s hope for improvements through the extensive work of our fabulous local walking and cycling groups!   

What can we do?

Is the problem just on Manchester Road/Carrington Lane?  No, in the rush hour, every road, everywhere is busy.  You can be nose to tail for miles and miles.  So does this mean we should build “relief roads” everywhere – of course not!.  Manchester Road/Carrington Lane is not busy at other times of the day, and, given the impact of climate change is now recognised (and, in Trafford, our politicians have been very forwarding thinking on this), surely it would make more sense to prioritise public transport improvements.  Yet Trafford officers are currently seeking the funding for this committed road!  NOW, before ANY consultation has taken place.

We do not believe that increasing the road network in the area will add any value to existing residents, will significantly impact their health and well-being, and will, undoubtedly, lead some people to seek compensation as a consequence of these new roads causing or exacerbating health problems.  The Friends of Carrington Moss Committee have, therefore, created a petition which requests that Trafford does not approve new roads but, instead, agrees to focus on making significant improvements to our public transport network and our walking, cycling and horse-riding routes. 

With your help, we’d like to change the current plans. So download our petition and help us to collect signatures, today!

How big is 240 hectares – our green belt loss on Carrington Moss?

Can you visualise how big the 240 hectares of green belt Trafford plan to release at Carrington is?  I was finding this tricky, not being familiar with hectares at all, to be honest.  So, for those of you coming along to the kite flying on Dainewell Park tomorrow, here is something to think about.

Dainewell Park is around 51.8 square metres in size.  This is just over 5 hectares (there are 10,000 square metres in a hectare). 

How big is Dainewell Park?

So the 240 hectares of green belt Trafford plans to release is the equivalent of over 46 (yes, 46) Dainewell Parks!

And when you add the green belt at Timperley Wedge, the total green belt loss for Trafford is 354 hectares – the equivalent of over 68 Dainewell Parks!!!

As an aside, the planned industrial and warehousing area in the GMSF for New Carrington is between 410,000 square metres and 900,000 square metres.  We believe this is floor space, rather than land mass but, nevertheless, it is interesting to note that, despite all the other industrial/warehousing units in the area (Trafford Park and Manchester Airport, to name but two), there is an expectation that the site can accommodate units (and the associated additional traffic) equivalent to between 7 and 17 Dainewell Parks.

If you don’t manage to join us at the kite flying tomorrow and are not familiar with hectares or Dainewell Park, I have my friend Dave to thank for showing me this feature on google maps.  If you right click you will see one of the options is to Measure Distance.  You can measure any area that you know and then, assuming you use the square metres measurement, divide the results by 10,000 to arrive at the number of hectares for the area you are considering.  This will give you an idea of the land mass being considered for green belt release.

Remember, just revising the GMSF to a 15 year plan would mean NO release of green belt anywhere in Greater Manchester.  Remember, we have a housing waiting list figure of 3,325, and even if this has doubled since the publication of the Trafford Housing Strategy, we do not need to release any green belt to satisfy those figures. 

So, when it comes down to the vote to approve the GMSF in Trafford, which of our politicians will be supporting the release of green belt the size of over 68 Dainewell Parks? 

And, even more importantly, will any of our politicians have taken strong action to protect our green belt before that vote?

Given they are OUR elected representatives, maybe we should ask them!

When is a “target” not a “target”?

There are so many reasons why we should not be looking to reduce the land designated as green belt – anywhere in the country – not just in Greater Manchester, and especially not in Trafford.  We already mentioned in our previous blog that, in Trafford, we have the lowest proportion of land designated as green belt in the whole of Greater Manchester (with the exception of the city areas of Manchester and Salford).   So why are we even considering reducing the land designated as green belt?  Well it is the choice of our politicians folks! 

We have a developer-led national policy and associated methodology defined by the Government and a developer-led regional policy and spatial framework determined by the 10 Councils across Greater Manchester.  Both are driving all the wrong behaviours and are certainly not addressing the housing crisis in any way, shape or form!

Let us consider a few examples of what is happening out there in Greater Manchester!

We have huge numbers of apartments being built in the centre of Manchester that are focused on the non-UK market (ie on buyers from other countries).  How does that help our housing crisis???

The world of business is changing.  Many people now work from home.  For many organisations, premises are a luxury not an essential.  Yet offices are still being built in our towns and city centres, and they lie empty.  How does that help our housing crisis???

Land which already has approval for development is “banked”.  Why is this even allowed and how does it help our housing crisis???

We will pick up on the use of brownfield land in a future blog, but for now let’s just mention that the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) highlight in their annual State of Brownfield report (https://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/housing-and-planning/planning/item/5086-state-of-brownfield-2019) that “there is enough suitable brownfield land available in England for more than 1 million homes across over 18,000 sites and over 26,000 hectares”.

Then, of course, we have this little thing called Brexit going on (and on and on and on).  Much of our green belt land is agricultural, certainly in Carrington it is grade 2 which makes it ideal for growing crops.  We should not even be considering building on land that we may need for food production in the future.

So something needs to change otherwise our green belt will continue to be decimated and our housing crisis will not improve. 

What we really need is a target that is focused on the actual housing crisis, underpinned by a strategy and associated policies that drive achievement of that target. 

“Isn’t the housing need target already focused on the housing crisis then”?  I hear you ask!  Errrrrr NO!

It is currently based on the household projections (which are calculated by the Office for National Statistics).  We will talk about the difference between the 2014 ONS projections and the 2016 ONS projections in a future blog, suffice to say for now that the difference between the two adds yet another uncertainty into the housing need figures.  Those ONS household projections are uplifted for an “affordability ratio”, which, in Trafford is very high (8.94% against a regional average of 6.13%).   This “affordability ratio” aims to flood an area with new homes to bring down the prices in that area (due to oversupply) and, therefore, make it more affordable to live in that location.   This might work elsewhere but we all know that in Trafford, many people from outside the borough will be looking to move here because of our selective schools system. 

So, in essence, what this means is that the Government’s standard methodology calculates a housing need target for Trafford of 25,000 homes.

Yes, 25,000 homes!  

How does that compare to actual housing need (ie people without a home) in Trafford?  Well the Trafford Local Plan was issued for consultation last Summer (2018).  It stated, in relation to Unmet Affordable Housing Need, that Trafford had a “shortfall of 1,096 dwellings”.   In the same set of documents, the number of empty homes in Trafford was over 2,300, with over 700 properties being classified as long term empty.  Trafford’s Housing Strategy 2018-2023, states that Trafford’s Housing Register has a waiting list of 3,325 people. 

Even assuming the waiting list has gone up a little, and that there are no empty homes that can be brought back into use, there is a phenomenal difference between that waiting list figure and the 25,000 homes we are targeted to build!.

In Greater Manchester as a whole, the GMSF states that there are 85,000 households on the waiting list for a home.  Yet there are NO policies in the GMSF that prioritise those homes for build in the first three to five years.  Why not?  After all, this waiting list figure IS the housing crisis. 

We are not suggesting that no other homes are built at all.  What we are saying is that the Government’s housing target should be focused on real housing need – not on the homes the developers want to build!  

Assuming you are still awake and want to continue reading, let’s just go back to that figure of 25,000 homes calculated by the Government’s methodology for Trafford.  In the current iteration of the GMSF, the Trafford allocation “target” is 19,000 homes because neighbouring authorities have agreed to build 6,000 of our homes.  If we remove the planned builds on green belt (Carrington Moss and Timperley Wedge), Trafford still has plans to build between 6,600 and 10,500 homes (not on green belt) in unspecified developments.  These other, non-specified builds will more than satisfy Trafford’s actual housing NEED and those builds should be focused on reducing the waiting list for homes in Trafford!

Trafford’s allocation in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF)

Finally, there is significant confusion about the status of the housing need target, which officials regionally (Greater Manchester Combined Authority) and locally (Trafford) seem to believe is an absolute requirement, yet Ministers nationally have now confirmed is not actually a target at all.  We have received letters (via correspondence through Sir Graham Brady, MP) from Jake Berry MP, Kit Malthouse MP and officers from the Ministry of Housing’s Planning Policy and Reform Division, which confirm this.

Additionally, the letters specifically state that the green belt boundary should only be altered in exceptional circumstances.  We cannot have “exceptional” circumstances in Trafford (or Greater Manchester) when, just by revising the GMSF to a 15 year plan would mean that NO builds on green belt would be required anywhere in Greater Manchester!

Excerpt from Kit Malthouse MP letter dated 4th April 2019

We’ll talk about the 15 year plan in a future blog, but given all the uncertainties, the lack of an appropriate national strategy and associated policies, and the general confusion about whether the housing need target is a target, we proposed a 15 year plan in our response to the GMSF.  We also suggested that the strategy should be focused on real housing need and await the outcome of the consultation with interest. 

Here in Trafford, we hope to persuade our politicians that our builds should be focused on reducing the waiting list for homes, not on reducing the land designated as green belt! 

Looking under the covers of the GMSF (Part 1)

There is still a lot of misinformation being circulated about the plans for Carrington Moss and the justifications for those plans.   Some people are mentioning that the net loss of green belt since the 2016 iteration of the GMSF has been reduced by over 50%. This is indeed great news.  But not for Trafford!!!   In Trafford the reduction of net loss of green belt is only 22% and in New Carrington it is only 20%.   What? 

To achieve an average reduction in net loss of green belt of 50% across Greater Manchester means that other Authorities in the region reduced their net loss of green belt by much more than 50%.  Is this fair?  Well, maybe it would be if Trafford had a higher than average proportion of green belt to start with.  But we don’t!  Trafford currently has the lowest proportion of green belt in the whole of Greater Manchester (other than the city areas of Manchester and Salford).  The Regional average of land designated as green belt is almost 47%, whereas Trafford’s designated green belt is only 37%.  So much for equity across the Region!

The GMSF states that, once approved, nearly 45% of Greater Manchester’s land will be Green Belt but not in Trafford!  We will have only 34.3% Green Belt.  

Whilst we recognise it would be impossible to arrange an even split across all the districts, there was an opportunity over the last two years, whilst the GMSF was under a detailed review, to at least redress the balance – instead Trafford languishes significantly below its peers at the bottom of the table.  For the citizens of Greater Manchester, many of whom live in an increasingly polluted urban environment, the countryside on their doorstep is essential.  It is the place where they go to ‘chill out’, to escape the stresses and strains of modern life, whether walking, cycling or horse-riding, whether nature-spotting, bird-watching or just giving their mind a break.  For the residents of Trafford, reducing the green belt by over 350 hectares (which includes the Timperley Wedge reduction) significantly impacts the space available for these health and well-being activities and, of course, also decimates the breeding and feeding grounds of red listed (globally threatened) birds and endangered wildlife species.

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