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  • Writer's pictureSave Rimrose Valley

PRESS RELEASE: Serious questions over Highways England’s boreholes and risks to public health

Save Rimrose Valley is raising concerns about the ground investigation works Highways England is due to start soon [1].

The exploratory work, linked to plans to build a link road from the motorway network to the Port of Liverpool [2], will involve drilling boreholes 10-30 metres in depth and digging trenches at 18 locations throughout Rimrose Valley.

Of greatest concern are those to be centred on the former landfill sections of the park.

Worried supporters have contacted the campaign with information on what they believe may be contained in the ground. Reports range from asbestos, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, lead, zinc and other carcinogenic metals and chemicals. It is even rumoured that there was an anthrax pit, linked to the former tannery site [3].

Speaking about the latest concerns, Stuart Bennett of the Save Rimrose Valley campaign said:

“We are trying to find out exactly what is in the ground, but it’s only over the last 20 years or so that waste has been properly managed. Before this time there very few safeguards in place. There were no records of what was put into a landfill site, but it would have been domestic, commercial and industrial waste, all mixed together.

“Given this uncertainty and risk, we want to know what independent oversight of the works is taking place? What measures have been put in place to safeguard public health and to ensure there is no surface contamination of the park? With children using the park as a route to and from school, people taking exercise and many dog walkers using the area, how will their safety during and after the works be guaranteed?

“How can we trust Highways England will take all necessary steps both to understand what is in the ground before it is disturbed and to ensure that hazardous substances are not released?

“This was an issue raised by many people at Highways England’s recent public information events [4], but no formal details have been shared on how safe this exercise will be. We believe this should be made public before any activity commences.

“The safest course of action is to leave the ground well alone. It should not be dug up for a road. It’s yet another example of how ill-conceived and environmentally destructive this whole project is.”


[2] The proposed road through Rimrose Valley Country Park is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and a replacement for the current A5036 Liverpool Port Access Road.

The DfT instructed Highways England to design a road to service the newly-expanded Port of Liverpool; facilitating more HGV movements.

In its public consultation Highways England 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:

[3] Local history blog detailing case of anthrax:

[4] Our summary of HE’s public information events:

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