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PRESS RELEASE: Huge delay casts doubt over future of Port of Liverpool Access Road

Updated: Mar 14, 2023


Transport Secretary, Mark Harper MP, made the announcement on Thursday 9th March


PRESS RELEASE


The future of National Highways’ Port of Liverpool Access Road [1] has been thrown into doubt after Transport Secretary, Mark Harper MP, announced that the project is to be pushed back by several years [2]. It has been moved to the next period of Road Investment Strategy projects, collectively known as RIS3, to be developed between 2025 and 2030.


The road project, which was already years behind schedule with construction having originally been due to commence in 2020, has faced huge public and political opposition since the proposed route through Rimrose Valley Country Park was announced, back in 2017.


The official reason given for this latest delay is that the project “faces a range of challenges including environmental considerations and ongoing scope and design changes to ensure stakeholders’ views are fully considered”. It is also believed that the Department for Transport has had to claw back funds to assist the Treasury in delivering the upcoming budget.


Responding to the latest development, Stuart Bennett of the Save Rimrose Valley campaign said:


“We welcome the news that this disastrous road proposal has been pushed back, yet again. However, if the Transport Secretary is serious about considering stakeholders’ views and the road’s environmental impact, he must surely cancel it completely. There are better, more sustainable ways to cater for the Port of Liverpool’s expansion which must be prioritised if we’re to truly tackle issues around air quality in our borough and road transport’s climate-wrecking CO2 emissions.
“National Highways is paying the price for the ‘divide and conquer’ approach it took when consulting our communities, offering two, equally unpalatable road developments. It completely underestimated the level of opposition to its plans. We are calling on everyone in South Sefton to unite in demanding better solutions to port access which protect both our green space AND remove HGVs from our existing road network, improving living conditions along the existing A5036 corridor. Our local and regional political leaders are supportive of these demands and have been putting pressure on central government. Now is the time for all of us to work together to make it happen.”

Chris Todd, Director of Transport Action Network [3] who advise road campaigns across the country said:


“It’s clear the whole [roads] programme is in turmoil. It’s time for a proper roads review as Wales has done [4]. It makes no sense to be throwing good money after bad. All these roads increase carbon emissions, when the government is already struggling to reduce emissions fast enough.
“With less than two years until an election, a new Government is likely to scrap these dinosaur projects. In any case it’s going to need to revisit roads policy in the light of the current failure to decarbonise road transport quickly enough.”

Responding to yesterday’s news, Bootle MP, Peter Dowd, said:


“I welcome any reappraisal or deferral of road schemes which enables a refocus on the need for a multimodal transport strategy that, in general, addresses the challenges of climate change. I also welcome, in particular, the opportunity of a review of the Port of Liverpool Access Road scheme which, in its current format, is not the long-term, sustainable solution that out our community and businesses need."

Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson, added:


“My constituents will be very relieved that the much-loved Rimrose Valley has been given a stay of execution. Rimrose Valley is a valuable environmental resource and location for many animals, birds and plants. It is a green lung and a leisure resource. The pause must be used as the opportunity that the local community has been demanding for a rethink. Instead of building a road, the government should consider alternatives such as rail for access to the port and I hope they do just that.”

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

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

[2] Statement to House of Commons by Transport Secretary, Mark Harper MP:

[3] Transport Action Network support road campaigners across England. Their own press release is here:

[4] Summary of the Welsh Roads Review which has cancelled major road developments on the grounds of carbon reduction


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