A major planting scheme will soon get underway in Halifax as part of the A629 Calder and Hebble phase 1b project.
Over 100 semi-mature trees will be planted on site and an additional 250 trees will be planted nearby, together with a new wildflower meadow.
A native scrub and willow habitat will be created between the new roundabout junction to Stainland Road and the Calder & Hebble Navigation canal.
The A629 Calder and Hebble phase 1b project, which is funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is a major highways upgrade programme on a key route into Halifax town centre. It runs from Salterhebble Hill in the north to Elland Wood Bottom in the south and includes improvements to the junction with the A6026 and B6112 Stainland Road.
The scheme has been designed to improve the flow of traffic and give people better options so they can choose to make lower or zero-emission journeys. It will make it easier to walk, cycle or use public transport on the A629 between Huddersfield and Halifax, and will hopefully help to improve air quality.
It will also increase connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists between Halifax town centre and other key active travel routes, including National Cycle Network Route 66 and the Calder & Hebble Navigation towpath, making it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport.
With an estimated 376 grams of carbon dioxide saved per mile by cycling instead of driving a car, a total of over 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved each year by 2026, based on an average two-mile journey.
Nearby communities including Elland, West Vale, Siddal, Exley, Copley and Skircoat should benefit from reduced ‘rat-running’.
To create the new footpath and cycleway, 30 trees will be removed from the roadside, 19 from the A629 Huddersfield Road and 11 from the A6206 Stainland Road.
This is in line with previous public consultation and planning consent and is essential so that the route can be made wide enough for people to walk, cycle or drive along safely. Roots from the trees have raised the footpath, making it an uneven surface which is difficult for anyone using a wheelchair or a pushchair.
The scheme was carefully developed to retain as many trees as possible and to protect the neighbouring ancient woodland at Exley Bank.
To undertake the work safely and minimise disruption, the trees will be removed overnight from the end of August. An ecology survey has taken place and an ecologist will be on site throughout to protect any nesting birds.
Cllr Scott Patient, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing said:
“This scheme will help us to deliver the Council’s commitment to tackle climate change, improve air quality and improve opportunities for active travel as well as stimulating sustainable economic growth.
“Once the programme has been completed there will be many more trees around the site, as well as the new wildflower meadow and scrub and willow habitat. Not only will this make an attractive addition to the landscape, it will also support our local wildlife and encourage biodiversity.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
“This fantastic tree planting scheme will help improve air quality across Calderdale, boosting people’s health and wellbeing.
“The climate crisis isn’t going away, so it’s vital we act now to cut our carbon emissions, enhance our natural environment and support West Yorkshire’s journey to net zero by 2038.
“I’m committed to working with our partners to build a greener, more vibrant West Yorkshire.”
The Council is working on the project in partnership with its contractor, John Sisk & Son.
The full phase 1b project is due to be completed by summer 2024. Some elements will be open earlier, such as the new link bridge which is due to open to traffic in autumn this year. Most of the road network is expected to be open by early 2024.
The A629 Phase 1b scheme has received over £28 million funding through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
For more information on this and other regeneration projects in Calderdale, visit www.calderdalenextchapter.co.uk(external link)
Supporting investment and regeneration opportunities to build resilience and encourage enterprise is part of the Vision 2024 for Calderdale. In the year 2024, Calderdale will celebrate its 50th birthday. Where do we want to be by 2024? Join the conversation by following #VisionCdale2024 on social media and visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/vision