A6 in Manchester closure for climate change community event on air pollution and green space

Cars will be prevented from driving along a section of the A6 around a kilometre in length for several hours this weekend as Ardwick Climate Action raise awareness of air pollution and green issues.

A section of a major road in Manchester will be completely closed to motor traffic for several hours this weekend while green campaigners hold an event raising awareness of climate change and air pollution.

Around a kilometre of the A6 in Ardwick, not far from the city centre, will be blocked off to cars and vans on Sunday morning (2 October) for the event organised by Ardwick Climate Action.

There will be around 20 stalls and activities for people of all ages, with organisers hoping to get people thinking about the problems caused by poor air quality, improvements to green spaces in the area and how to reduce carbon footprints and the impact on the planet.

The event has been organised with the support of Manchester City Council and is a major milestone for the Ardwick group, which came together to campaign on environmental issues around a year ago.

Ardwick Climate Action is closing a section of the A6 for a climate change and air pollution awareness event

When is the event on the A6 and what is happening?

A section of the A6 around a kilometre in length, which runs from the roundabout at the O2 Apollo to a point not far from the city centre, will be shut on Sunday for the event which runs between 9.30am and 1pm.

Ardwick Climate Action is teaming up with The University of Manchester to measure pollution levels along the A6 and will have the chance to compare air quality during the road closure with normal traffic levels. Anyone turning up will be able to walk along the road with pollution monitors to see the impact for themselves.

There will be a focus on active travel such as walking and cycling and opportunities to have bikes mended, and there will be vegan pizzas along with information about making use of store cupboard ingredients.

Residents will be able to join in with planting pollution-friendly plants, with the group saying its aim is to create a hedgerow alongside the path that runs beside the main road.

Ardwick Climate Action is trying to plant pollution-friendly plants to make the area greener

There are also activities taking place in Ardwick Green park such as an app which children can use to learn more about nature while The Bee Sanctuary will be helping people find out more about the vital pollinating insects.

A number of artists will also be attending, while Ardwick Climate Action did an assembly at the primary school along the section of the A6 being shut off to drum up interest.

The group also wants to work on mapping local green spaces across Manchester and a team from Manchester Museum will be at the event to help with this.

The event is also a chance for people to have their say on creating local green spaces and learn more about issues like climate change and air pollution.

In addition, on Saturday (1 October) the group is holding a free screening of the film 2040, which looks at what people can do now to create a greener world, at the church centre on Brunswick Street at 7pm.

Why is the event taking place?

Ardwick Climate Action says it wants to get people thinking about issues like environmental damage and poor air quality, which it says is a contributor to health problems in the area.

Its other main ambition is to start creating green corridors so people can cycle or walk between different parts of Manchester.

Gordon Flear from Ardwick Climate Action said: “Pollution is a huge issue around our local area because we’ve got so many major roads. We decided we would like to close the A6 because it’s one of the major roads going into the centre of Manchester.

“We’re also one of the most deprived areas of Manchester and it is well known there are links between pollution and health.

“We’ve got the ability to do some pollution monitoring and four hours without traffic will enable us to see what life could be like.

An NO2 diffuser tube

“We needed to do a start-up event and we wanted a mix of bringing people together where they are and doing something shocking.

“We’re also aiming to create green corridors. We need to develop this a bit further but we want to encourage people to cycle and walk along them to other places and green spaces.

“One issue for Ardwick is that we are between two major roads which means we can’t easily link into the Bee Network. We’re trying to create something locally that will link into the wider plans for Manchester.

“The interest from the school was really encouraging. The road is a major blockage for them, they can’t get across to the park and there’s only one crossing.

“We want to encourage and involve people. For the majority of people the climate change crisis isn’t the biggest thing in their lives and we want to get them to think and change some actions.”

The group has also launched a crowd-funding campaign to bring in much-needed cash for its ongoing work.

Where exactly is the road closure and is there a diversion?

The stretch of the A6 being shut to motor vehicles runs from Ardwick Green to Brunswick. A diversion will be in place for drivers to follow and volunteers will be placed at the barriers at either end of the closed-off section and at the junctions of the three minor roads which feed onto it.

What has the council’s response to the event been?

Ardwick Climate Action says that after a little initial scepticism Manchester City Council has been extremely supportive in putting the event together.

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, executive member for environment and transport for Manchester City Council, said: “This proposed three-hour closure will hopefully provide valuable insight into the impact that pollution has along this stretch of the A6.

“While no one is suggesting permanent road closures are a viable solution to climate change, it is important that we, as a council, work with communities to understand the challenges they face but also to provide solutions.

“We are a supporter of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan which aims to provide incentives to get the most-polluting cars off the road, we are also exploring our own ways of improving air quality and reaching our goal of becoming zero carbon.

“This includes our walking and cycling plan which encourages people to use more active methods of transport, whist providing new infrastructure to support this goal.

“We are also strongly in favour of improvements to the city region’s public transport network, as well as a wider roll out of electric vehicle charging points.”

The group says it is particularly grateful for the authorities’ ongoing support even though the Manchester football derby between Manchester United and Manchester City is now taking place on the same day.

Gordon said: “There are going to be an awful lot of put-out car drivers on Sunday, but everyone should be aware of how bad things are worldwide and that we’ve all got to do something about it.”