PRESS RELEASE: Sefton neighbourhoods amongst England’s ‘most green space deprived’
A study commissioned by leading environmental group Friends of the Earth  supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery has found that 1 in 5 people in England struggle to access quality green space, with neighbourhoods surrounding Rimrose Valley amongst some of the worst in the country.
It also shows that income and ethnicity are huge factors, with poorer and BAME communities being disproportionately impacted; often living with dire air pollution, little in the way of green spaces and at greater risk from the impact of extreme weather.
Areas were rated A to E, with E having less than 9 square metres of public green space per capita, very little garden space and larger green spaces over 5 minutes’ walk for at least 75% of residents. Boroughs from across the Liverpool City Region feature prominently in the list of 1,257 E-rated neighbourhoods , with the City of Liverpool itself coming off worst, followed by Sefton.
The Save Rimrose Valley campaign, which is fighting controversial plans to build a motorway through the country park , claims that these latest findings confirm how vital the parkland is to surrounding communities, with Bootle, Seaforth, Netherton, Brighton le Sands and Crosby West all featuring on the list.
Commenting on behalf of the campaign, Stuart Bennett said:
“This list makes for grim reading nationally, but is particularly relevant to our own situation here in Sefton. We know how vital access to green space is for people’s health and wellbeing and yet Highways England, instructed by the UK Government is intent on destroying ours. Thankfully, organisations like Friends of the Earth are doing fantastic work like this to highlight the issue.
“We are calling on our Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, to acknowledge this study and to use it to push back on both the Government’s and private developers’ plans to destroy green spaces across the Liverpool City Region. He and his team are doing some vital work in tackling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but we need him to make the link between these two issues in order to ensure that there is a green and fair recovery, for the people who need it the most.”
Helen Rimmer, North West Campaign Organiser at Friends of the Earth added:
“For many of us, lockdown exposed how critical quality outdoor space and nature is for our health and wellbeing. But our research shows just how much of a distant reality that is for millions of people across England who live in nature-deprived neighbourhoods.
“The environmental destruction and social inequality Highways England’s proposed road through Rimrose Valley would cause are plain to see. Everyone has the right to live in a healthy environment. Instead of bulldozing vital green space, we are calling for the Government to use the forthcoming spending review to invest in healthy environments, including improving access to nature. This work must start now so that places like Rimrose Valley can be saved and enhanced.”
 Link to Friends of the Earth report summary here:
Full report here
 Link to full list of E-rated neighbourhoods:
 The proposed road through Rimrose Valley Country Park is to upgrade the current A5036 Liverpool Port Access Road. Highways England wants to build this road after a consultation where it offered only two options, both of which were unpalatable to the local community and in fact weren’t any choice at all. Option B (Rimrose Valley) was the least favoured. Summary of results here: