• Save Rimrose Valley

PRESS RELEASE: Council blasts DfT’s claims that port access road is linked to housing



Leading Sefton Councillors have blasted claims, made by the Department for Transport (DfT) in a letter to Save Rimrose Valley [1], that its controversial Port of Liverpool Access Road [2] is being driven partially by local housing developments.


In its own letter [3] to the DfT, Sefton councillors have refuted this claim and have demanded that the DfT publicly retract this assertion. The road proposal is deeply unpopular locally as it would result in a dual carriageway being built down the middle of Rimrose Valley country park, linking the motorway network at Switch Island to the port.


Deputy Leader Cllr John Fairclough and Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Daren Veidman jointly wrote:


“…we would wish to reaffirm in the strongest terms that to suggest that anything other than the Port and its expansion is the main driver of congestion and therefore the suggested need for a new road through the Rimrose Valley is untrue.”


They point out that the Council’s own Local Plan [4] identified no requirement for new road infrastructure as a result of proposed housing developments. Instead, Council Leaders suggest that the port’s expansion and the pursuit of Freeport status for the Liverpool City Region [5] are the driving force behind a new road. They highlight that the recent relocation of 5,000 employees from HMRC and Santander has reduced commuter traffic in the area.


They go on to say that the council is seeking “improved outcomes for all communities” and that the pursuit of “alternative modes of transport and technological solutions are vital to the future of logistics associated with the port, and that a new road is not the solution to this challenge”. They conclude by requesting that the DfT’s claims be “retracted, in writing” and shared publicly.


Commenting on behalf of Save Rimrose Valley, Stuart Bennett said:


“This was a bizarre and cynical attempt by the Department for Transport to shift the blame for its damaging road proposal onto a council which has consistently opposed these plans.


“It follows a pattern whereby both they and National Highways are trying to hoodwink the public into believing that the road proposal has little to do with the port. We believe they are attempting to rebrand it as The A5036 Princess Way Scheme while Peel Ports have had the nerve to call it the Sefton Relief Road.


"Our communities won’t be fooled by these word games. They are in no doubt as to what is behind this proposal – access for HGVs to an ever-expanding port. We urgently need the DfT to start taking these issues seriously and to stop trying to bulldoze through this outdated road. Only this week, Stockport Council rejected a similar road proposal on environmental grounds, branding it an ‘old world solution’ to traffic problems [6]. Exactly the same logic can be applied here which is why we need to pursue viable alternatives [7], for all our sakes.”


ENDS


[1] Link to correspondence sent to Save Rimrose Valley in January in which DfT representatives make claim that road proposal is partially driven by local housing developments:

Response from Department for Transport (saverimrosevalley.org)

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

A5036 Port of Liverpool access - Highways England

[3] Letter from Sefton Council to the DfT available on request

[4] Link to Sefton Council’s 2017 Local Plan:

a-local-plan-for-sefton-for-adoption-final.pdf

ARUP report which documents viable and sustainable alternatives to the movement of freight containers in and out of ports, which our campaign supports

[5] The Liverpool City Region’s pursuit of Freeport status:

Major Step Forward for Liverpool City Region Freeport | Invest Liverpool

[6] Stockport Council reject new bypass:

Stockport bypass rejected as 'old world solution' to traffic issues - BBC News

[7] Such solutions were outlined in the ARUP report, commissioned by Sefton Council:

ARUP Inland Port & Connectivity Concept June 2020

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