2019 has gone so quickly.
It has been another 12 months of challenging Highways England’s plans, holding them to account on their statements and actions and a year in which we learned that there has been a significant delay, of at least two years, to plans to bulldoze our country park.
Delay is one of the best weapons we have. We can all take a lot of credit for the fact that our own campaign, coupled with Sefton Council’s judicial review last year has had a huge impact on the scheme’s delivery date.
Highways England’s plans are politically toxic, face huge public opposition and, more generally, there is an absence of anyone backing this scheme… publicly, at least.
However, delay is only be effective up to a point, so we’ve worked extremely hard to raise greater awareness of our campaign; meeting with politicians; growing our ‘green network’ across Liverpool, the North West and beyond… and ultimately, gaining more and more allies in our fight to protect this green space and to demand better solutions for Sefton and the wider Liverpool City Region.
In addition to this, we’ve held demonstrations and community events and have been joined by YOU, the people that use Rimrose Valley day in, day out and who rely on everything it provides.
With the statutory consultation due “in the first half of 2020” it seems that next year will be critical to what happens next.
We need you to continue to support our work, to come forward with your own ideas and offers of help in order to keep the pressure on the Government and Highways England throughout the coming year.
However, it’s always worth a look back to see how far we’ve come… and to work out where we’re heading.
With that in mind, here’s a quick review of 2019 and a reminder of what ALL OF US are doing to challenge these disastrous plans.
If you want to get involved in our campaign, you are more than welcome!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how you can help.
From all of the team, thank you, merry Christmas and here’s to a happy and POSITIVE 2020.
Protests & Demonstrations
· We’ve joined other greenspace campaigners, Extinction Rebellion and members of the public from across the city region at a number of demonstrations outside the town hall in Liverpool City centre. Many were protesting against planning decisions of Liverpool City Council
· Some of the campaign groups we have met include Save Oglet Shore, Save Calderstones Park, Save Allerton Priory; Save the Flat Iron, Save Bixteth Gardens and Raise the Rala. Whilst our fight is against a government-led project, the issue is the same; an attack on our green space
· Other demonstrations were focussed on the climate emergency which has become a HUGE talking point in 2019. This is relevant to us, as Highways England’s plans fly in the face of the climate emergency declarations of the government who instructed it to build a road in the first place, the Liverpool City Region and Sefton Council.
· We visited Preston New Road fracking site; home to some of the most amazing protestors you are likely to meet and came home with inspiration and ideas for our own campaign. We’re delighted to report that this site is currently being dismantled! How’s that for motivation?!
· We protested outside Highways England’s public information events in October from start to finish, discussing our campaign with people on all sides of the argument and asking some tough questions… many of which they were unable to answer
· We protested outside a transport conference in the city centre and more recently the LCR’s Green Summit. Handing out leaflets, talking to delegates, raising awareness
· We anticipate that we will need to become more active in 2020 and hope you are ready to join us.
Activities & Events
· March – On Yer Bike, Highways England!
· March – Friends of the Earth “Wish Tree” Event… including a visit from CEO, Craig Bennett
· April – Easter Celebration
· May – Bees, Blooms & Butterflies – Wildflower meadow community sowing
· August – Stall at Waterloo Ukulele Festival
· August – Bees, Blooms & Butterflies – Opening Ceremony
· September – Tree “Wedding” Ceremony – Who can forget our Rimrose Bride and her amazing, quirky way of drawing attention to the campaign?
· Oct/Nov – Lantern-making workshops & lantern parade
· In autumn we produced the first ever Rimrose Valley Friends calendar!
· Nov – Thornton Parish Council Christmas Lights Switch On!
· Dec – Display at St Faith’s Christmas Tree Festival
· Dec – St John’s Road Christmas Party
· We shared many blogs from members of the public as part of our “My Rimrose Story” feature, ranging from videos to memories to poems
· We published over 50 articles to our campaign website alone
· The Save Rimrose Valley campaign was featured on Friends of the Earth’s website
· Countless posts and tweets, sharing relevant news, updates on social media
· We’ve issued 30 press releases to local and regional media, keeping our story in the news and securing a double-page feature on our campaign in the Echo
· We’ve appeared on BBC Radio Merseyside many times
· We appeared on Liverpool TV and the tree ceremony was featured on both Granada and BBC North West news bulletins
· We attended BBC Radio 4’s any questions and questioned Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP on the project, which has since side-stepped.
· Jan – We secured statements on Rimrose Valley from all four of the main political parties in Sefton
· Feb – We travelled to Westminster to meet with Shadow Transport Minister; Rachael Maskell MP, along with Peter Dowd MP and meeting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the process
· April – We secured a statement from Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram in which he claimed he was supporting Sefton Council’s calls for better alternatives. We will hold him to account on this in 2020
· Oct – We met with Sefton Council to discuss their stance and ensure that they are ready to respond to Highways England’s
· Nov – We attended the LCR’s green summit and its workshop on Transport and Air Quality, making sure that the relevant people from the combined authority were aware of our campaign
· Throughout the year, we contacted the Transport Secretary, Transport Ministers and Northern Powerhouse Minister, inviting each of them to meet with us, to see Rimrose Valley for themselves and discuss the scheme. Each one declined. We’ll do this again and again throughout 2020
· We have held Highways England to account. In August, they were forced to issue an apology for misrepresenting the ruling in last year’s judicial review, claiming that the judge had upheld its road through Rimrose Valley. In October, they gave less than two weeks’ notice for public information events, held in the middle of the week. We expect more of this kind of behaviour in the coming year.
· May – We attended Friends of the Earths “Groundswell” climate action event, where we picked up an “Earthmovers Award” in recognition for the work done so far
· Later in the year, we attended Friends of the Earth Liverpool’s annual Gary Mahoney debate, meeting other groups from Merseyside and the Editor of Big Issue North and the North West Editor of the Guardian
· We attended the LCR’s Green Summit and discovered that many people and organisations from across the city region not only know about, but support our work