Shock as study reveals Ribble Valley contributes most greenhouse gas emissions in Lancashire

Two Ribble Valley councillors are calling for action after it was revealed the borough contributes the most greenhouse gas emissions across the entire county.
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Greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide) in the Ribble Valley represent 11.61% of the total emitted across the 14 Lancashire authorities – the second highest percentage total ever which represents a progressive deterioration over the last four years.

Now, County Coun. Ged Mirfin and Ribble Valley borough Coun. Kevin Horkin are calling on authorities to come clean over air quality.

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Industry generates 60.88% of greenhouse gases emitted in Ribble Valley – thought to be mainly from Castle Cement in Clitheroe – which is 38.30% above the mean average for the 14 Lancashire authorities and represents 31.59% of all greenhouse gas emissions across Lancashire.

Overlooking Clitheroe onto Castle Street from Clitheroe Castle. Photo: Kelvin StuttardOverlooking Clitheroe onto Castle Street from Clitheroe Castle. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Overlooking Clitheroe onto Castle Street from Clitheroe Castle. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Coun.Horkin said: “This is an ideal time to bring all parties in Ribble Valley and well informed and qualified professionals and specialists around the table for the first time to focus on this vital issue.

“We need to ask critical questions and to come up with recommendations as to what can be done, and is a feasible outcome, to improve the situation where, although there are identifiable improvements, there are still some difficult issues which not only need talking about but also detailed proposals put forward in order make further rapid progress.”

Incredibly challenging

The pair are now calling for a cross party summit to discuss the air quality issues raised in their synopsis in particular how to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Coun. Horkin added: “A summit like this has never taken place before and would be an excellent opportunity to involve a wide range of organisations who would be able to deliver positive solutions to some incredibly challenging issues.”

The pair hope that interested groups will meet with representatives from the scientific community, Ribble Valley Borough Council's Environmental Health team and members of parish councils to expand both active and passive monitoring of air quality via CAMS continuous ambient monitoring systems or discontinuous Diffusion Tubes.

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Among other measures, they also want to consult with GPs, chemists and Clitheroe Hospital to receive their professional view on the impact of COPD and asthma are placing on the delivery of medical services across the Ribble Valley and whether a new study on Chronic Respiratory Diseases ought to be carried out in order to measure its impact on children and adults, the causes of such high incidences, whether there are any geographical hotspots and what can be done to alleviate the impact in these areas.

Tipping point

County Coun. Mirfin said: “As the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak realised the other evening we stand at a ‘tipping point’. Big questions are being asked about air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

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“The answers should not all come from the top down, representatives of local communities also have a right to communicate their concerns from the bottom-up as well.

“This presentation of the data that has been pulled together represents a start. We hope it will inform the debate and encourage others more technically qualified in these issues to challenge the findings and contribute more widely to the debate.

“It nevertheless, we believe, represents a start to better understand the issues affecting air quality in the Ribble Valley.”