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Air pollution

From Martin F

Friday, 10 April 2015

I see that air pollution (this time in the form of dust from the Sahara) is in the news again.

But what about (excessive) pollution from vehicles? How many residents of Calderdale are aware that it is not possible to report a heavily polluting private vehicle?

A few years ago I was travelling through Silsden following a disgustingly polluting 30 year old Land Rover. The pollution was so bad that I reduced my speed to put greater distance between our two vehicles. I was particularly concerned by the sight of a cloud of black smoke hitting a lady walking along the rather narrow pavement with a child who could have been no older than four years. When I got home I rang various agencies to report the vehicle but was told that private vehicles cannot be reported.

I would like to see whichever party forms the next government introducing legislation to allow such vehicles to be reported.

From Alex Rudkin

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Yes Martin air pollution is a major 'hidden' problem in the valley and due to austerity cuts, Calderdale is cutting back on monitoring it.

We have high levels of Nitrogen Dioxide from Diesel Land Rover and outdated Pacer Trains.That's why its vital the Calder Train Line is electrified as soon as possible, not in 2015. This should be a priority not HS2.

Renationalisation of the railways would help.

Reduce car journeys, shop local, join SOS Hebden.

Better footpaths & canal towpaths, clean and dry not covered in pools of water, slowly improving thanks to Route 66 (Sustrans) Calder Valley Greenway (Canal & River Trust) Then people can walk, jog or cycle between Hebden, Mytholmroyd Tod and beyond. Most could be Accessible for Disabled and mothers with prams, towpaths are generally flat.

Encourage parents to walk their children to school.

Plant more trees. Silver Birch trees are very effective at taking pollution out of the air and they soak up water reducing flood risk. Hebden Royd Council recently rejected planning appication to fell 4 Silver Birch Trees partly because of this and the applicant was not going to replace any of the felled trees.

Reporting one Land Rover will not make much difference. It will be dealt with next time it has its annual MOT as it would fail the emission test.
Instead use your 3 days paid volunteer leave, (madcap idea that will cost businesses thousands of pounds) and help Sustrans, Canal & River Trust.

Lobby Calderdale Council to monitor polution levels and Hebden Royd Council to plant more trees. And vote for a party that will Nationalize the Railway.

From Cllr James Baker

Monday, 13 April 2015

I'm glad to see others taking an interest in air pollution. This has been a particular concern of mine, and other Liberal Democrat Colleagues.

That is why as Chair of the Economy and Environment scrutiny panel I instigated a review into impact of the environment we live in on public health. All of the recommendations of the review were endorsed by the scrutiny panel, and they will now be put towards whoever forms the next cabinet on Calderdale Council after May for their hopeful adoption. You can download and read the report in full here.

As you can see myself and others have been doing a lot of work in this area. Not just looking at air pollution but also active travel and things like affordable warmth. Is was this work that lead to Liberal Democrats being able to successfully implement a £1.4m insulation scheme in this year's budget Council. -

There are a few things the Council could do that Alex hasn't yet picked up on. I've copied some of the recommendations made in the report below.

Recommendation 5

That Cabinet's agreement and support be sought for the early revision of the Calderdale Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP), which was written in 2009 and is in need of updating.

Recommendation 6

That Cabinet's agreement and support be sought to the undertaking and promotion of a targeted campaign of awareness of the on-going West Yorkshire Low Emissions Strategy (WYLES) work from a public health perspective, with the primary delivery method to be through low cost platforms such as social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.)

Recommendation 7

That Cabinet is asked to endorse and support more direct enforcement work being undertaken by external partners of the Council, such as the police, through the use of legally enforceable powers to tackle un-roadworthy vehicles with high emissions.

Recommendation 8

That Cabinet is asked to look into the possibility of undertaking a feasibility study into the possibility of introducing designated Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in Calderdale.

The good news is the Council is purchasing some new monitoring equipment (so it's not true austerity has put an end to it). Also that the outdated pacer trains will go as it is now confirmed that the Calder Valley train line will be electrified as part of the widespread electrification and rail improvements undertaken by the coalition government.