Share this page

Small ads

Calderdale’s new air quality strategy

From Anthony Rae

Monday, 28 May 2018

On Monday the public consultation into Calderdale’s low emissions strategy, together with its air quality action plan, closes. Calderdale Friends of the Earth (I’m its coordinator) have been campaigning for years that air pollution - including here in the Hebden Bridge air quality management area - is brought within legal limits. There are actually two frameworks for this: the 2008 EU air quality directive (with standards that were meant to be met by 2010; the failure to do this resulted in the recent Supreme Court victories by Client Earth against the government) and the 1995 Environment Act, the first compliance date for which was 2005. And yet - here and nationally - those legal limits are still being breached.

So you’d expect FOE to be supporting this new strategy and action plan, but we’re not. We’re actually opposing it, for the reason that it appears to be conveying the message that by various means it’s somehow going to solve Calderdale’s (and Hebden Bridge's) air pollution problem, when actually it’s not. It turns out that this is not the fault of Calderdale Council - whose cabinet and officers we believe do want to take effective action on air pollution - but rather because of the ineffective framework which the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have established in their own low emissions strategy. That, of course, is in addition to the government’s failure over many years to provide sufficient powers and resources to councils everywhere to tackle air pollution caused mostly by transport.

I thought people might like to read the background to all this, so here’s the Friends of the Earth consultation response. It doesn’t explain all the technical ins and outs, and previous stages of the campaign, but we thought it important to at least inform you where we’re up to with this apparently intractable problem. And if you’d like to let Calderdale Council have your own views (including if you want to support the FOE position) then just send an email Even if it arrived just after 28th May I hope they’ll take notice.