In the shadow of the aptly named Chill Factore, and right under the fume factory known as Barton Bridge, the communities of Trafford and Salford have set up the Davyhulme Community Protection Camp.
In front of the Camp are two sets of high wire fencing blocking protectors from halting construction of an access road to Peel Holdings' incredibly controversial forty metre high Incinerator, also known as the Barton Renewable Energy Plant.
The plans were opposed by the local community, led by the Breathe Clean Air Group, and both Trafford and Salford Council.
Derek Antrobus, Assistant Mayor for Strategic Planning, said Salford Council had "significant concerns about the potential impact of the proposed plant on the people of Salford, due to its location and prevailing wind directions, and because of the facility's location in an air quality management area where standards are already exceeded."
Maps produced by the Breathe Clean Air Group showed that Eccles is in the front line of the plant's emissions, with Salford Quays and virtually all of Central Salford also effected. The incinerator got the go ahead from Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles in February, after a High Court challenge was lost (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Eccles hosts Salford's main air quality monitoring unit which measures all sorts of data. One measurement which is gripping scientists nationally and internationally is the concentration of fine particulates, or PM2.5, in the air which penetrates deep into the lungs.
A new study published by Public Health England this year specifically looking at Local Mortality Burdens Associated With Particulate Air Pollution, states "current levels of particulate air pollution in the UK…have a significant impact on the life expectancy of the population"…
…A report presented yesterday by Salford Council's Strategic Director for Environment and Community Safety states that Salford has the highest percentage of mortality attributable to long term exposure to particulate air pollution in Greater Manchester, with 5.4%, based on official Public Health England statistics.
Levels of Nitrogen Dioxide are also exceeded, and the report states "Poor air quality has the potential to effect everybody's health. For the majority of people who are healthy these changes are small and difficult to recognise but for some, the effects of poor air quality are more serious, as exposure to pollution can exacerbate existing health conditions including cardiovascular and respiratory disease.
"Because of the health impacts, polices within Salford should, where possible,
prioritise those measures that lead to air quality improvements…" it adds.
Davyhulme Community Protection Camp is located right at the epicentre of a potential air pollution perfect storm.
Above is Barton Bridge, with vehicles spewing out fumes by the second. To its right is the location for the Peel Holdings Incinerator. Across the wire fences where the access road is being built, a water treatment plant is belching out yellow smoke. In the distance is the sewer works. And on the actual site of the Camp is the potential IGas fracking area. If ever a community needed environmental protection it is here.
Stacey Roberts lives in the Crossfield Estate in Eccles, which is classed as the nearest housing to the area. She's at the Camp with her mum, Elaine Roberts, who's from Irlam, to support the protectors as an eviction notice hearing is being held in Manchester County Court.
"I live just over the flyover, and I'm here because we've got to deal with the consequences of all this as we have to live here" she says "We're one of the worst areas in the country for early deaths, and as if our kids and grandkids haven't got enough to put up with there's the air quality to live with too. All this is going to make it worse. Cameron's like, `Not in my back yard', so we've got to put up with it."
Elaine lives nearer Barton Moss itself but she's here, recognising the link between what is happening in Trafford and what is happening in Salford…
"This is all going to effect us in Irlam as it's on our doorstep" she explains "It's all going to effect Irlam, Cadishead, Eccles, everywhere. We get enough stench from the sewage works that comes over the canal to Irlam and Cadishead. And, obviously we're against fracking completely anywhere, especially our area…"
Also at the camp showing support in the face of an eviction is Mason Corbishley, from the Breathe Clean Air Group, which has battled against Peel Holdings for over three years.
"I've come down to support the people here because they are doing what no-one else is doing to support the community and stop this horrible thing, along with the other polluting industries" he says "You've got the waste processing plant, the motorway above which is gridlocked at rush hour with all the fumes coming off, you'll have the incinerator pumping away, you've got the sewage works going, the methane plant going, it's ridiculous.
"We need to stop this, and that starts with the local council because they need to realise and look at the effects of these things, because whatever they pass has a cumulative effect on the community, all the industries that are here need to be looked at all together" he adds "And it's all going to blow over into Eccles.
"Already the air quality around here is poor, over the legal limits" he explains "They're doing testing in the Davyhulme and Trafford areas but also we've seen figures from Salford and it's all over the legal limits. We need to reduce these levels by utilising proper alternative energy."
As the court decides this morning whether the Davyhulme Community Protection Camp can appeal its decision yesterday to evict the protectors, Salford Council's Environment Scrutiny Committee noted the dynamite report on the city's killer air pollution and its Air Quality Action Plan, which "identifies measures to be implemented to achieve the air quality objectives".
The report cites the Greater Manchester Emission inventory "which shows that over 80% of emissions arise from transport and thus the biggest improvements are targeted at transport measures with support from planning policies" – but doesn't mention fracking once, with its thousands of truck movements a month.
The report concludes with a recommendation for the "formation of a multi-disciplinary team of senior officers to integrate air quality actions into the Greater Manchester policy framework".
But while they are talking about it and formulating `strategies', community protectors from Salford and Trafford are actually trying to do something about it. Today they may be evicted – while the councillors stay silent and commission more reports and more committees...and more Salford people die from air pollution poisoning.
Update 4pm - The eviction order was granted in court this morning - more details to follow...
UPDATE 2nd November 2015:
Link to great infographic on the global impact of transportation https://www.trucklocator.co.uk/global-impact-of-transportation/