MPs question Port of Liverpool access road in parliamentary debate
On Wednesday, 7th September, MPs debated  access to the Port of Liverpool in what campaigners believe to be a significant milestone in their fight to protect Rimrose Valley Country Park.
Called by Bootle MP, Peter Dowd, the debate was supported by adjoining constituency MP for Sefton Central, Bill Esterson.
It centred around the impact National Highways’ proposed A5036 Port of Liverpool Access Scheme  would have on communities and the environment in South Sefton, Merseyside. Peter Dowd questioned the budget and ambition of the government’s road project, calling for multi-modal, sustainable solutions to be put forward in its place.
His views were echoed by Mike Kane MP, Shadow Transport Minister for Aviation, Maritime and Security. Whilst welcoming investment in the region, he said that this could not come at any cost, commenting:
“We must look at alternatives to this scheme; listening to councillors, MPs, the Metro Mayor and local residents […] We need a government that’s committed to an integrated and innovative transport strategy.”
Former Transport Minister, Karl McCartney MP responded on behalf of the government, defending the scheme, citing the importance of the Port of Liverpool for economic growth, and advising that National Highways has a duty to mitigate the road’s impact. He also hinted at compromise, adding:
“National Highways is helping the city region to develop [its] Local Transport plan, and the Department is awaiting the outcome with interest […] The project team is interested in developing opportunities to promote a more sustainable transport solution, potentially in partnership with the Liverpool freeport team and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram […] with whom I had a very cordial meeting over the summer.”
Several campaigners from Save Rimrose Valley made the trip to London to witness the debate. Commenting afterwards, Stuart Bennett said:
“We have been trying for some time to secure a debate on this topic at Westminster, so we are grateful to Peter Dowd for making this happen and to Bill Esterson for his support. The reason this is so important is that, ultimately, this is where the fate of Rimrose Valley, the surrounding communities and this road proposal will be decided.
“We note that since the debate, Karl McCartney MP no longer holds his ministerial position. However, we will be following up on his comments directly with our Metro Mayor, MPs and Councillors to better understand the discussions that have been taking place on this issue. It is vital that there is continuity and that any progress made and assurances given by previous ministers are acted upon by their successors.”
 Link to written record of the debate: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2022-09-07a.137.0&
 Project page for A5036 Port of Liverpool Access Scheme: