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PRESS RELEASE: Campaign joins Friends of the Earth’s calls to scrap Highways England

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive - Friends of the Earth

The Save Rimrose Valley campaign has joined Friends of the Earth’s calls for Highways England to be scrapped amid claims that it is no longer fit for purpose and is “completely at odds with the climate emergency we are facing right now”. In a statement issued this morning [1] by Chief Executive, Craig Bennett, ahead of his visit to the site of the proposed A27 Arundel Bypass [2] he writes: “This is just one of many dinosaur roads the government is championing to be built across the country. Transport is the country’s biggest source of emissions, but the Department for Transport has gone completely rogue on climate; making no effort to reduce emissions or invest in alternatives to the car such as affordable train travel and safe cycling routes. “A good place to start would be scrapping Highways England altogether. It’s not fit for purpose and needs to be replaced with an agency that looks at transport in the round. We need to have proposals for the best ways for people to get from A to B, instead of just defaulting to roads.” In response, Stuart Bennett of the Save Rimrose Valley campaign said: “Today’s announcement is a real statement of intent and is exactly the kind of action we need to be taking as a country if we’re to address the mess we’ve got ourselves in. Everything Craig says can be applied to our own situation and to the movement of freight, as well as people. “Our campaign is extremely fortunate to have the backing of Friends of the Earth at a national level. Unlike government officials who have consistently declined our invitations [3], Craig visited Rimrose Valley earlier this year [4] and spoke with members of the public, including many school children who use the parkland on a daily basis. He has seen first-hand the damage any road would cause; to our communities, to the environment and to our health & wellbeing. “Highways England should have realised that another road [5] was not the answer to our situation with the port’s location in an already heavily urbanised, residential area. We demand a non-road solution. All Highways England knows is tarmac and traffic.”

[2] For background on the environmental impact that would come from the Arundel Bypass

[3] Rimrose Valley Friends invited current Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP and his ministers, along with former Transport Minister, Michael Ellis MP in July 2019 and Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry MP in April 2019 – all of whom declined.

[4] Details of Craig Bennett’s visit to Rimrose Valley here:

[5] 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:

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