Following on from the news earlier this week that Liverpool City Region's Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, has written to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, we wanted to share the letter in full here with some brief analysis, so everyone has sight of this.
The letter is wide-ranging.
It covers the public and political opposition to the Department for Transport's Port of Liverpool Access Road proposal and our politicians' belief that their views aren't being listened to.
It notes that the origin of the road plans dates back to 2014, when budget for the scheme was first assigned to the government's Road Investment Strategy.
The letter notes that whilst expansion of the maritime port and the city region's Freeport plans have the potential to be good for the local economy, these cannot come at any cost and that it needs suitable infrastructure to support it, with proper community engagement.
The Metro Mayor links the road plans to both national and regional targets to reach net zero i.e. to ensure that the climate emergency is fully considered in the development of such schemes.
The Metro Mayor urges Grant Shapps to reconsider the scaling back of the Integrated Rail Plan for Northern Powerhouse Rail, citing that this would remove freight from our roads.
Perhaps the most powerful statement is this:
"I am of the view that the funding proposals allocated to this project could and should be spent on sustainable solutions to port access such as rail freight capacity; not least because of the climate emergency we are facing, the public health crisis associated with air pollution and the substantial loss and degradation of green space"
Steve Rotheram concludes with an offer to facilitate meetings and invites the Transport Secretary to visit the Port of Liverpool with our politicians to see the issues first hand.
All in all, we view this letter as a major step forward.
We are therefore grateful to Steve Rotheram for taking this step and for playing a more active role in this key issue for citizens of South Sefton.
Clearly, we look forward to seeing Grant Shapps' response, although we would put money on this being delegated to the Strategic Roads Division or National Highways.
We hope to be proven wrong.
Read the letter in full here: