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PRESS RELEASE: Campaign questions National Highways’ role in key Port Access Group


For immediate release Friday 22nd September, 2023


Press release

Campaign questions National Highways’ role in key Port Access Group

Campaigners in Liverpool have written [1] to Katherine Fairclough [2], Chief Executive of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA), and Chair of its Port Access Steering Group [3] (PASG).

The letter calls for greater transparency on the remit of the group, its membership, its work, and questions why meeting agendas and minutes aren’t made publicly available, with the group being governed by a public entity, namely the Combined Authority.

It goes on to ask why National Highways, the government’s road building agency, is participating in a subgroup of PASG which was set up specifically to explore non-road solutions to port access, claiming it to be a conflict of interest.

It concludes by reminding the LCRCA of a commitment made in 2021 to deliver a full feasibility study on port access in South Sefton, presenting viable alternatives to National Highways’ controversial Port of Liverpool Access Scheme [4] and requesting an update on the status of this piece of work.

Explaining the reasoning behind this letter, Stuart Bennett of Save Rimrose Valley [5] said:

“We have long been calling for greater transparency around this group, the workings of which are critical to us securing a better outcome to the destructive road proposal on offer. Our politicians oppose the road project, but being able to point to viable alternatives is fundamental to this opposition being effective long-term.

“Given that the group is chaired by the LCRCA, which has made numerous commitments on the environment, public health, protecting green space, the climate emergency and traffic reduction, we would expect a road proposal on this scale to be right at the bottom of the list when it comes to the infrastructure needed to support the Port of Liverpool’s expansion.

“Instead, while the likes of National Highways and Peel Ports get a seat at the table of PASG, there is seemingly no place for our communities to be given a voice. This is wrong, and we look forward to hearing how the LCRCA intends to address our concerns.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

[1] Letter to LCRCA Chief Exec:

[3] Limited information is publicly available on PASG. Some high-level info here:

[4] Project page for A5036 Port of Liverpool Access Scheme:

[5] For details of the Save Rimrose Valley campaign, visit website: https://www.saverimrosevalley.org/

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