Holly Lynch MP

Working hard for the people of Halifax, Illingworth & Mixenden, Town, Ovenden, Park, Skircoat, Northowram & Shelf, Sowerby Bridge and Warley

Home

Recent Activity

I write to object in the strongest possible terms to planning applications 17/00113/WAM and 17/00114/VAR. Like many of my constituents, I am extremely concerned about the environmental and health impact that an incinerator will have at this location.

The site is wholly unsuited for the burning of waste, being situated in a steep-sided valley, very close to an air quality management area in the centre of Sowerby Bridge, as well as local primary schools and many residents’ homes - situated as close as 100 metres away. The air quality through Sowerby Bridge town centre is already extremely poor as noted in the officers’ report, with levels of pollutants persistently exceeding lawful limits and having a detrimental impact on the health of my constituents.

Calderdale Council’s own website is very clear about the dangers of air pollution in our area:

“In 2013 in Calderdale 4.5% (Public Health England (PHE), Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) Adult mortality indicators) of all adult mortality was estimated to be due to long-term exposure to harmful particulate air pollution. It is now widely accepted that this rate is even higher when the effects of nitrogen dioxide are taken into consideration.”

“The two main causes of lung disease are smoking and air pollution. Between 2012 and 2014, Calderdale was ranked 122 out of 149 local authorities with one of the highest rates of premature death due to respiratory disease.”

I would also like to bring to the attention of the planning committee a case that was upheld by the High Court just a month ago. Swale Borough Council refused a planning application for 330 homes and 60 sheltered accommodation units next to Air Quality Management areas. The proposals were refused on the grounds that the development could impact air quality. The decision was appealed and after the Planning Inspectorate backed the council the case was taken to the High Court. It upheld the decision of the council and determined that air quality is something that must be considered within the planning process.

Public Health England have been unable to rule out adverse health effects from modern municipal waste incinerators and any increase in the concentration of air pollutants in an air quality management area is unacceptable, no matter how small.

The applicant has used data from Leeds-Bradford airport to model the impact of emissions and made assumptions in the modelling that are not explained. The recent fire at the Belmont site demonstrated that particles and fumes do not easily disperse within the valley.

There is also the cumulative effects of the proposed SWIP at the applicant’s Mearclough Road site to consider, which is not addressed in the application or their modelling. It would be irresponsible to not consider the cumulative impact of having two incinerators at either end of Sowerby Bridge.

I conclude that it would be wholly inappropriate for the council to grant an application that would worsen the air quality of an area that is already suffering from unsafe levels of air pollution. I therefore call on the Planning Committee to exercise its powers and refuse the two applications on health and environmental grounds, relating to the anticipated impact on air quality.

Holly Lynch
Member of Parliament for Halifax

My statement to the planning committee about waste incinerators in Sowerby Bridge

I write to object in the strongest possible terms to planning applications 17/00113/WAM and 17/00114/VAR. Like many of my constituents, I am extremely concerned about the environmental and health impact...

IMG_1700.JPG

I have received a lot of correspondence about Green Belt land over recent weeks. I appreciate the particular importance of this issue to many residents in Calderdale who have expressed concern at the scale of development in the Council’s proposed ‘Local Plan’. Given the strength of feeling on this issue locally, I have been following the process extremely closely.
 
I will outline my understanding of the current situation which I hope will provide some clarity over how we have ended up where we are.
 
The Council were initially told by Conservative Central Government that they needed to produce a plan for allocating around 17,000 additional homes in Calderdale by 2032. Faced with such a large housing requirement it wasn’t possible for the Council to avoid planning for development on some Green Belt land.
 
Following lobbying by Calderdale Council Labour leader Tim Swift, and other councils across the country, the Government have decided to revise their formula for calculating housing need in an area. For Calderdale this means that the Council must now find space for under 10,000 homes which, although still a large level of development, will mean that much less Green Belt land will need to be included in revised plans. The Council leadership have asked council officers to draw up a new plan based on these numbers and I understand that they expect to publish these revised proposals in February. This will identify how the reduced housing numbers can be allocated across each area of Calderdale, before a final plan is produced for formal consultation in early summer.
 
In a further complication, last month the Government made a surprise statement and announced their intention to intervene in this process. There are concerns that under an ‘intervention’ the plan could be drawn up by civil servants based in the Department for Communities and Local Government rather than by Calderdale Council. I am asking the Government a number of questions on this matter to urge them to make clear their intentions towards the planning process in Calderdale.
 
The Government cited delays in the process as the main reason for its intention to intervene, however the delays locally have been as a result of lengthy and extensive consultations with local communities. It is my fear that Central Government intend to push ahead without conducting such consultations if they wish to conduct the planning stages at a faster pace.
 
On the wider policy in this area, the Conservatives have made a number of changes to our planning system to the detriment of the Green Belt. In 2012, the Coalition Government replaced all existing planning guidance - except on waste - with the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and National Planning Practice Guidance. I believe these reforms weakened the National Brownfield Strategy, promoted in 2003, which actively prioritised building on brownfield sites.
 
The Government published its housing white paper in February, along with a consultation seeking views on amending the NPPF to allow local authorities to amend Green Belt boundaries in "exceptional circumstances". The consultation ran from 7 February to 2 May 2017 and the Government said it expects to announce its conclusions "in due course".
 
I am concerned that the Government's planning reforms have failed to do enough to promote brownfield development. The Government rejected a Labour amendment to the Housing and Planning Act during its consideration in Parliament which would have ensured automatic planning permission would be limited to housing on brownfield land.
 
I believe it is important that the Government fully considers the responses to its consultation and bears in mind the concerns raised by groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
 

Holly's Blog: My views on the Calderdale Local Plan and Green Belt land

I have received a lot of correspondence about Green Belt land over recent weeks. I appreciate the particular importance of this issue to many residents in Calderdale who have expressed...

St_Marys_card.jpgA Christmas card designed by Halifax schoolgirl Suhaani Sharma will be finding its way through the letterboxes of hundreds of people across Halifax and the country, including the Prime Minister.

This year, Halifax MP Holly Lynch worked with St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, and picked the winning design for her 2017 Christmas card from all the wonderful creations submitted by pupils.

Holly attended the school assembly to announce that Suhanni Sharma’s design would be her official card for 2017, and also handed out prizes to three runners-up.

The cards have been professionally printed in full colour and include the name and school of the winner on the back.

Holly said:

“There were lots of imaginative entries and as always it was a really difficult choice deciding which one to use.

“I loved Suhaani’s colourful design of a festive wreath on a door, and I am told it is not the first art competition she has won, so she is clearly very talented.

“A big thanks and well done to all the children at St Mary’s and to the staff for helping to coordinate this year’s competition.”

MP’s Christmas card designed by talented Suhaani

A Christmas card designed by Halifax schoolgirl Suhaani Sharma will be finding its way through the letterboxes of hundreds of people across Halifax and the country, including the Prime Minister....


View More Activities

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.