Greenbelt

Why “The Wonderful Woodland Floor” is so important

This morning we had a very informative and emotional talk from local residents, Bob Williams (Naturalist) and John Thomber.

Pupils speak to naturalistWe were told about how nature will be affected by the plans to build on Florida Farms greenbelt. Traffic caused by lorries and trucks can result in animals becoming ill and having a knock-on effect on the rest of their food chain. Mr Thomber told us that even if the concrete is removed from the ground, it would still take 200-300 years before anything would go back to the way it once beautifully was.

Mr Williams adores to study nature and told us that with his trusty companion, Rocky, he can get closer to nature than anyone else. This means that he is able to find all the hidden wildlife that some of us never knew lived around here. Without nature, we may not know about some of life’s blissful novelties such as: “grace from the trees as they sway in the breeze, elegance from the birds, as they dance in the sky, music from the thrushes, singing their songs and faith from the people who fight for what’s right”.

Pupils speak to naturalistsWe were informed that 600 lorries would be dispersed from each factory  every day, causing the already crazy traffic in local areas to increase. These vehicles would take the place of 3-4 cars, causing traffic to become ten times worse than it already is. With more transport taking up the roads, more carbon dioxide will be kicked out of engines, causing the air to become polluted and unsafe for humans and wildlife. Locals will be affected by this as they may struggle to arrive at school or work on time. How would schools and housing cope with all the new arrivals and families moving to areas closer to the warehouses for work? This would destroy any wildlife and beautiful surroundings that locals may have moved there to see. With each new family and household arriving, there would be at least another two cars per home. This would cause traffic to increase even more.

There are several layers to woodlands and all of them are important. The ground layer contains soil and the keystone, (bugs and insects) who feed off the shrubs that make up the next layer. The trees at the top of the woods create a home for the birds who eat the insects and bugs on the bottom layer. If you took away the keystone and soil you would kill the birds and trees that are fed by it. This would destroy the woodland alltogether. If you build on our greenbelt, you take away our nature, if you take away our nature, you take away our “grace, elegance, music and beauty”. But most of all you would take away our “faith”.

“Save our Greenbelt”; what does the MP Andy Burnham think?

Pupils speak to Andy BurnhamThis morning, we had an exciting interview about ‘Save our Greenbelt’ with MP Andy Burnham. In Haydock and the surrounding areas, the proposal is that warehouses and large housing estates will be built at Haydock roundabout. Mr Burnham told us that he was worried that developers “would go too far” and “once the green land is gone, it’s gone.”

As 12 and 13 year-olds, we feel deeply about how our environment will change for the worse by this proposal to build on greenbelt fields. Traffic is already really bad during rush hour in the mornings and afternoons, so by going along with the plan of building on the surrounding fields this will amplify the traffic issue. Mr Burnham told us that he wanted the houses to be built however he said, “I don’t want the local community to get lost in the sprawl of warehouses and houses. There is a lot of heart in Wigan and the heart of the town will get lost and stop beating. We can’t let that happen.”

We were also particularly interested in the health-side of things. Mr Burnham explained to us that on Monday 13th February, 2017, he went to a primary school in Manchester where the air pollution was up to 60%, when it’s only supposed to be 20%  - that means it is 40% over the ideal limit. Britain has been told time and time again from the EU that they are in breach of the law if they carry on going over the limit. Mr Burnham told us, “that children might as well be smoking on the way to school.” This is a danger to people with health issues such as asthma and can endanger people in later life of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Our school is in Ashton in Makerfield and Ashton is particularly affected by the lorries, factories and housing estates being built, as the construction development is only down the road. We think this is very significant subject which affects us all and we hope you think it’s important as well.

Health issues of possible greenbelt development

Today we had an important health interview with our science teacher Mr O’Callaghan about how the possible development of greenbelt could affect our health.

Research has shown that developing the Florida Farm can affect the environment as well as damaging our health. An example of this is that nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide can all build up and damage the ozone layer. The gases from these irritate the airways of the lungs and increases the symptoms of the people suffering from lung disease.  As well as this, fine particles can be carried deep into the lungs, causing inflammation and making things worse for heart and lung disease sufferers.

With the traffic expanding on many roads, the air pollution is increasing and harming many people. If the development happens, the pollution rises and can cause major effects. For example: pollution mainly affects the respiration and filamentary systems - this can lead to more serious conditions like heart disease and cancer.  Many people suffer with lung conditions, and with the pollution which could increase with the congestion on roads, there is a risk of children and adults getting ill and needing treatment. People with asthma are most likely to be affected, because the particles from the pollution will cause the people to have trouble breathing due to the gases in the air. Children and adults with this condition may need to use their inhalers more frequently. In addition, older people may suffer from heart and lung disease, so they need to be aware of current air pollutions. Also a major concern is that in people with heart or lung diseases, pollution can cause premature deaths.