PEOPLE in parts in Calderdale are worried about the quality of the air they breathe if housing allocations proposed in the borough’s draft Local Plan are approved, said their representatives.

A number of participants in phase two of the hearings into Calderdale’s draft Local Plan, which are being held online, told Planning Inspector Katie Child, who is running the hearings, of their concern.

Nick Pleasant of NJL Consulting, speaking for Clifton Village Neighbourhood Forum questioned the plan’s highways modelling because if it was not fit for purpose, air quality modelling would be similarly flawed.

The council’s Planning lead officer, Richard Seaman, took issue with that opinion.

Lynsey Ashton asked how could people know whether the air quality level in Greetland was legal before considering developing further homes here.

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Representing Woodhouse Residents Association, Brighouse, Catherine Kirk said air quality was sustained at the moment by the green belt and open spaces but pollution levels could rise if car dependent communities were developed.

Greetland and Stainland ward councillor Coun Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem) said that Stainland Road led to the M62 with all traffic converging at West Vale, a situation exacerbated whenever there was an incident on the motorway.

“I want to ask what are the air quality figures for Greetland and West Vale? I have never seen any.

“If it is already poor then surely by adding 600 properties, 1,200 cars, what are you going to do to that air quality?” he said.

Mr Seaman said his general understanding was that the council was required under legislation to monitor air quality through an area and where it was breached obliged to declare an ir Quality Management Area (AQMA) – he was not aware the council had an intention to declare an AQMA in Greetland.

And also for the council, Stuart Bennett said: “My understanding is that Greetland-Stainland in general are areas of good air quality, notwithstanding hot spots around junctions.”

Martin Hey of the Green Party said east Calderdale had three AQMAs and additional traffic going from Brighouse to Halifax would go through such areas at Salterhebble and Stump Cross.

Inspector Katie Child said she had concerns about the air quality put before her but the council was relying on two proxy assessments, for the A629 highway and Clifton, near Brighouse, which looked at the issue in detail rather than a full assessment of air quality for Calderdale and the effect of growth on that.

She took Mr Seaman’s point that response to the matter needed to be proportional but she would take it away and reflect on it, raising any resulting issues with the council after the hearings were completed.

Anthony Rae of Calderdale Friends of the Earth said it was of considerable concern to people in Calderdale as to how economic and social life would continue to function if road channels keep getting blocked up and questioned the highways modelling which would impact on air quality.