Air Quality in Hebden Bridge

A public meeting to discuss the quality of air in Hebden Bridge took place yesterday evening. The meeting was addressed by Dave Proctor and Peter Broadbent from Calderdale Council.

Under the Environment Act of 1995, local councils are required to monitor air quality in their areas. The main problem in Calderdale, as with elsewhere, is car emissions. Although car exhausts give out a large collection of chemicals, it is nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that is measured as the main traffic pollutant.

Regular monitoring in Market Street and by diffusion pipes elsewhere in Hebden Bridge have shown that the safe limits for NO2 are exceeded along the A646. 16,000 vehicles per day contribute to this.

Council officers have prepared an Action Plan to address the poor quality of air on the A646 in Hebden Bridge and this meeting was part of the consultation process. The officers explained that they were seeking ideas and feedback before finalising the plan for council members.

One point strongly made by those attending was that road usage was likely to greatly increase because of all the development plans being passed by the council - in fact yesterday afternoon the Planning Committee had just given the go ahead for 58 houses on Brown's site at Mytholm. Anthony Rae pointed out that at the top level of Calderdale Council, no-one was linking increased housing supply with the consequences of increased housing supply. Others pointed to the slow strangulation of the A646 and the consequent increase in emissions.

Lesley Mackay, who chaired the meeting, urged both an enhanced pedestrian experience and improved public transport.

There was extensive discussion of options - public education, especially of young people; improved cycle facilities; travel plans for schools. It emerged that although HGVs may be only 6% of the traffic, they were probably responsible for 40-50% of the harmful emissions.

The council officers are keen to receive responses to the draft action plan and can be emailed at

See also

Discussion thread

Draft Action Plan