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Highways England's Press Release: Our Response


Carl Stockton - Senior Project Manager Highways England

We believe that this press release represents a change in tactics from Highways England in its latest attempts to convince the public that this road is essential. They are now focussing on the impact the Port’s expanded operations and subsequent increase in HGVs is having on those living along the existing route.


However, Carl Stockton seems to have conveniently forgotten that he was quite happy to offer a solution (Option A) which would have made this route a whole lot worse, during Highways England’s public consultation in 2017 [1].


Why the sudden concern for these people now? Anyone could see that widening sections of that route was a non-starter and would have had a huge, negative impact on people’s health. Why was it even on the table?


Many people believe that Highways England is pursuing a classic ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, aimed at causing conflict and division amongst Sefton communities. From a government-owned company, this is shameful.


They talk about a bypass “through a section of Rimrose Valley”. The last design we saw (Option B), would run from the top to the bottom, severing the park in two. Rimrose Valley would no longer be a park, it would be two, glorified verges alongside 4 lanes of HGVs, vans and cars.


Its proposed route also compounds the misery of those living along Princess Way. No one is talking about these people. They will have to deal with traffic from two, major roads. This highlights the stupidity of the design.


No one disputes the living conditions for communities along the A5036.


The real issue here is that the proposed route would replicate those conditions for communities living alongside Rimrose Valley. This includes our own houses, schools, nurseries. Having suffered so much themselves, we don’t believe that they would want the same for others.


This isn’t NIMBY-ism, or about ‘us and them’.


It’s about demanding a better solution for ALL communities, which would be possible if the UK government hadn’t instructed Highways England in the first place and given more money for the project. Billions are spent on infrastructure projects in the south. Why are we worth less?


This latest press release is nothing more than ‘spin’ from Highways England and our supporters will see through it.


As for its hastily arranged public information sessions, they are incredibly short notice – less than two weeks - are midweek, predominantly during office hours, with the remainder when most people will be having their evening meals.


They are not designed to enable a high turnout. Some might say this is deliberate.


However, we will be there, voicing our opposition to these plans. The same applies when they commence the drilling of boreholes in Rimrose Valley itself.


We are calling for ALL communities in Sefton and beyond to turn up to these sessions, to reject the road outright and to demand a sustainable solution to the movement of freight from the Port of Liverpool.


Highways England is trying to distance itself from the driving force behind the road’s construction, namely Peel Ports. We’ve received some very interesting information on their dealings with each other recently, which we’ll be sharing in due course.



References

[1] The proposed road through Rimrose Valley Country Park is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and a replacement for the current A5036 Liverpool Port Access Road.

The DfT instructed Highways England to design a road to service the newly-expanded Port of Liverpool; facilitating more HGV movements.

In its public consultation Highways England offered only two options; both of which were unpalatable to the local community and in fact weren’t any choice at all. Option B (Rimrose Valley) was the least favoured. Summary of results here:

https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a5036-port-of-liverpool-access-scheme/results/n170135---a5036-port-of-liverpool-access----summary-pcr---web.pdf

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