Stockport Council have committed to replanting trees that may be lost as a result of constructing a link bridge between Stockport Railway Station and the soon-to-be-built bus interchange, as reported in the Manchester Evening News.
At a meeting of Stockport Council on Monday 6th January, councillors agreed to commit to a replanting scheme, after concerns were raised over the impact of the new bridge on air quality.
Councillor Sheila Bailey, cabinet member for Sustainable Stockport, raised concerns over air quality in the area and offered replanting as a solution, saying:
If we are going to use this piece of land we need to have a very clear commitment that we are going to replace those trees at some point and at some place very, very quickly. Because not only are they in an area which has very high air pollution – which is in the middle of Stockport – they are doing a job not only in view of air pollution but also they are right next to the railway as well.
“Whilst I understand why this piece of land may well be needed I think – in view of our climate emergency motion and all the issues we have got with climate change – [we have to] understand removal of those trees will have a detrimental impact on air quality in that part of Stockport.”
A site in Stockport for replanting has yet to be identified.
The Council is currently in negotiations with owners of the land between Station Road and Exchange Street in Stockport town centre, which will be used for the link bridge. Stockport Council has voted unanimously to use compulsory purchase powers, if necessary, to secure the future of the scheme due to the benefits it will have in improving transport links, and for the wider Town Centre West regeneration scheme.
Stockport Council have the ability to make compulsory purchases where there is a significant public benefit to a project. The pedestrian and cyclist-friendly bridge, linking Station Road with the planned bus interchange, will create a safer and more direct connection between the two transport hubs to encourage greater use of public transport.