Recently we received a letter from Councillor Michael Jones which you can read a copy here and make your view in relation are they doing enough to protect residents?

You can see our reply here or read it below

Dear Mr Jones

In reply to your letter dated 18th November 2015 I would make the following comments.

Residents are not against the smart motorway and in fact would welcome it if the highways England were addressing the longstanding problems.

The environment assessment report (EAR) only considers the traffic levels now and the associated noise and pollution levels predicted when the works are completed over and above the existing, the EAR does not address the existing problems that are already above the levels set out in the EU directive. This is why there should have been a full impact assessment that looked at the situation fully.

None of the proposals in the EAR address the concerns of the residents and they are not reassured by events that have taken place since my original letter, Jacobs have only attended three properties and have proposed glazing options to one. They have refused to visit other properties that Kate Beirne the project manager indicated they would visit.

They told one resident her house was in the wrong place, the house was there before the M6 was built. And did not offer any solution.

The noise levels are in the 60 to 70 decibel range day and night when the safe level for health is 55 in the daytime and 40 at night, these are real time levels not computer table top predictions that highways rely on.

The WHO set out the levels so you can see those for yourself,

Regarding the pollution aspect m10 and the more dangerous m2.5 particulates, the facts are that these can cover over a kilometre from source that’s the findings of dustscan an organisation used by the environment agency. There is no minimum safe level to health. The 2.5 particulates can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream and can cause cancers in various organs. At this distance it covers most of Cranage, a large part of Holmes chapel and surrounding areas.

The government has been taken to the Supreme Court and lost its case over the pollution levels by client earth. And indeed is not complying with the EU directive on this.

Highways are not even making any attempt to deal with this problem, and indeed the government are passing or attempting to pass this problem onto the local authorities, without giving additional funding to them.

There is overwhelming amounts of information both in local press and in the national press along with numerous papers from universities that back up the resident’s case. I won’t mention VW. The general public is at last waking up to the real health problems that pollution causes. The increasing number of deaths reported directly linked to noise and pollution is alarming.

I am surprised that your letter is giving such a weak response to residents’ concerns.

I suggest that in the first place a meeting is organised between concerned local residents, and your officers that deal with noise, public health and the environment etc., and the two councillors that cover the Dane ward, leading on from that that proper surveys are carried out on an open book policy, to determine a proper course of action and a solution etc.

Time to do this is fast running out, the highways are starting now and will introduce speed limits shortly that will have a direct impact on lowering the noise level for a large part of the next two years,

The highways have had from July to address the problems but have delayed action no doubt to so any surveys will be irrelevant.

There are various links and documents on cranage parish chronicle that give more information.   cranageparishchronicle.co.uk/

 Your letter refers to your belief that the proposals put forward by highways will adequately deal with noise and pollution. And will deliver the best possible protection to residents.

This is not the view that residents take, they see that highways England’s brief to Jacobs the design engineers was to only look at what the difference will be from day one, to what it will be on completion in 2017.

They have not looked at finding a solution to the existing problems and the EAR does not address any of this.

The lawyers that were responsible for taking the action on the pollution to the Supreme Court and enforcing the EU directive, client earth, have stated the following.

In light of Existing ECJ case-law, we can definitely say

the following:

  • We have a right to breathe air that meets EU Limit values.
  • Where air does not meet these limits, we have a right to demand that the relevant authorities prepare an air quality plan to ensure they are achieved, if necessary by taking legal action before national courts.
  • That plan must contain measures to achieve the limits in the shortest time possible, not merely a “gradual return” to compliance.
  • The national court must review the content of the plan to ensure that the measures included are sufficient.
  • Practical, financial, technical or other difficulties in achieving limit values are not relevant.

If you look at other borough councils, like slough for instance who are demanding that highways install a 6 meter high barrier to protect residents,

Or Sheffield that has announced the closure of two schools due to the proximity to the M1 and the pollution problems to the children.

Perhaps Cheshire east should be taking a more proactive stance to protect residents, than what your letter implies.

Residents await your response to the above.

Regards

P Wild