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PRESS RELEASE: Campaigners disrupt Port of Liverpool to highlight its role in road proposal

The Save Rimrose Valley campaign is hailing its latest mass demonstration, which took place on Friday, 20th August, a major success in its campaign against the government’s Port of Liverpool Access Road [1].

It is estimated that almost a thousand people from the surrounding communities and beyond marched to the Port of Liverpool’s entrance in Seaforth, with roads blocked and port-bound HGVs forced to wait among the traffic. Sarah Edey, a local primary school teacher and trustee of the charity Rimrose Valley friends, was joined by her children Thomas and Lily, who handed a letter to Port Police Inspector, Stephen Christian. The Inspector is to deliver the letter to Peel Ports’ CEO, Mark Whitworth [2]

Photo: Steve Sinclair

Stuart Bennett of the Save Rimrose Valley campaign said:

“We were blown away by the huge turnout for our latest demonstration. Yet again, the communities of South Sefton and people from across the Liverpool City Region showed just how much they care about Rimrose Valley and the wider issues linked to this Port Access Road, by coming out in force. Families and friends came together to create a wonderful, positive atmosphere and their amazing banners and placards delivered powerful messages. It was a day that will live long in the memory.

Photo: Mike Fahy

“The march’s purpose was to disrupt the Port of Liverpool’s operations and to shine a light on Peel Ports’ major stake in this road proposal, despite their public silence on the matter. We believe we did that, and that it will become harder and harder for them to ignore us.

“The fact that, even though an advanced request was sent via the authorities, no one from Peel Ports felt it necessary to accept the letter and greet concerned residents, speaks volumes. We are left to conclude that Peel Ports’ interest in Sefton begins and ends at the port’s gates.

“The letter demands that they withdraw their support for the road and get behind a truly sustainable solution which respects the health and wellbeing of our communities and our essential green space. We await Mr Whitworth’s response with interest.”

Photo: Mike Fahy

Prior to the march, guest speakers attended a rally on Rimrose Valley itself. Local politicians and environmental campaigners from across the country showed their support for what they said has become a nationally important campaign.

Peter Dowd, MP for Bootle said:

“I was delighted to speak at the rally in support of stopping the bulldozing of an unnecessary road through Rimrose Valley. I was encouraged by the huge amount of local people who attended to add their support, led by Rimrose Valley Friends. The Government, the Department of Transport and National Highways need to listen to the voices of so many people and organisations who say a road through the Valley is not the answer. There are sensible, feasible alternatives on the table, so I say to ministers and government officials: stop, listen and scrap these damaging proposals now!”

Photo: Gavin Trafford

Crispin Truman OBE, CEO of CPRE The Countryside Charity said:

“We know from decades of research, evidence and painful experience that new roads do nothing to tackle congestion. Rimrose Valley is another example of what’s at stake with the government’s tarmac and be dammed approach. In light of our increased appreciation of green space, it beggars belief that this well used country park on the doorsteps of thousands of families is at risk of becoming a thoroughfare for cars and trucks.

“But communities are standing up for their countryside against the roadbuilding threat right across the country. It’s high time the government abandons its gargantuan road building programme and we’re in no doubt that communities like those around Rimrose Valley are part of the movement that will make this happen.”

Estelle Worthington, regional campaigner for Friends of the Earth said:

“New roads have no place in a world facing a climate emergency. It’s appalling that the Department for Transport has failed to consider other options and is ignoring the voices of communities and the local council here in Sefton, who are proposing viable alternatives. They deserve better. It’s time for Department for Transport to scrap this proposal once and for all.”

Sue Huyton, Regional Policy and Campaigns Officer for Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation, spoke at the rally about the dangers of pollution to public health. She said:

“Sefton and Liverpool City Region have many areas where the levels of air pollution from vehicles are at dangerous and illegal levels. Increasing the number of vehicles, especially HGVs, will have a detrimental effect on lung health in the area, which is also already above national average levels for asthma and COPD.”

Cllr Paul Cummins updated those in attendance on the work Sefton Council has been doing to further progress 2020’s ARUP report [3] on sustainable solutions to the movement of freight in and out of the Port of Liverpool. He said a further study will be completed later this year, adding:

“This protest demonstrated the depth of feeling and tremendous support of the community of South Sefton against this destructive and polluting road proposal.”

Photo: Brian Lavery

The next planning stage for the roadbuilding project is a consultation on the route in spring 2022. Save Rimrose Valley will be calling on the public to register their objections at this time and to reject the road proposal outright.




[1] Link to summary of Port of Liverpool Access Scheme:

[2] Mark Whitworth is CEO of Peel Ports and also a board member of the LCR’s Local Enterprise Partnership.

[3] Link to Sefton Council’s ARUP report which documents viable and sustainable alternatives to the movement of freight containers in and out of ports, which our campaign supports

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