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PRESS RELEASE: Government snubs alternatives to Port of Liverpool Access Road

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison MP

Campaigners in Liverpool are furious at the latest snub from the Department for Transport, which they believe is actively obstructing the exploration of alternative solutions to its major road proposal in the north of the city.

Save Rimrose Valley wrote to Trudy Harrison MP [1] in December following her appointment as Transport Minister in 2021. The letter highlighted concerns over the environmental and social impacts of National Highways’ Port of Liverpool Access Road [2], which would include the destruction of the popular country park. Specifically, it asked for her intervention to promote the non-road, sustainable solutions to port access currently being pursued by the local authority [3].

Instead, the response [4] was delegated to the Department’s Strategic Roads division.

Speaking on behalf of the Save Rimrose Valley campaign, Stuart Bennett said:

“We wrote to the Minister in good faith, asking for her help. We did so because her responsibilities include decarbonising transport, the environment (including air quality) and the future of freight [5]. All these things have a direct link to our situation and should have offered a perfect opportunity to engage with us.

“We were staggered to find that this was deferred to the very people whose responsibility it is to deliver road projects and nothing else. Their starting point is that the road proposal is a done deal. They cannot entertain the thought that they are pursuing the wrong solution, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Why would they? They aren’t paid to do so. Asking them to reply to our letter is the equivalent of getting them to mark their own homework.

“This ‘computer says no’ mentality is identical to previous interactions and correspondence with other Transport Ministers and National Highways. It is not only embarrassing but also infuriating. Where is the accountability? As for ‘levelling up’, this government only appears to be interested in ‘the north’ is when it wants votes. Is Liverpool being penalised for not returning any Conservative MPs? Is this how democracy works? We will not let this matter rest.”

Peter Dowd, MP for Bootle and Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central are long-time supporters of the search for better alternatives and were copied in on the letter to the Minister. Peter Dowd responded:

“Yet again, a response to valid concerns expressed by worried residents and campaigners about ploughing up vital green space is dismissive and patronising. Both Transport Ministers and National Highways really do need to engage with the deep and well-founded concerns of residents about a proposed scheme which is at least 20 years out of date given the challenges we are all facing through climate change.”


[1] Copy of letter to Trudy Harrison MP

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

[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

[4] DfT response:

[5] Minister’s responsibilities listed here:

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