Public Information Events: Guidance on how to respond
What you need to know.
We wanted to share some important information ahead of next week’s public information events being held by Highways England. These events will be held on:
Tuesday 22 October 2019 between 2pm and 8pm at
the SING Plus Centre, 53 Cambridge Road, Seaforth, Liverpool, L21 1EZ
Thursday 24 October 2019 between 2pm and 8pm at The Park Hotel, Dunnings Bridge Road, Liverpool L30 6YN
We anticipate that these events will be different to the formal, statutory consultation due early next year, but we clearly hope that they provide us with an opportunity to let Highways England know our views and to capture our feedback on its destructive road plans.
Otherwise, what’s the point?
Our approach to these sessions is based on guidance we have taken from those experienced in challenging road building projects, similar to our own.
We are urging all of our supporters to follow this guidance, as we believe it represents the most effective way to push back on these plans.
This is the kind of thing we can expect:
We believe that these sessions will, once again, be an attempt to present the road as the answer to all our problems and effectively a ‘done deal’
We will no doubt be invited and positively encouraged to comment on the route, its design, the landscaping, sound barriers, plans for cycle routes, the colour of fencing, choice of trees to be planted (to replace those they wish to rip up), recreational areas, paving, lighting and so on, and so on….
This is what we need you to do:
To put it simply… DON’T BUY IT!
In response, we need you to…
1. Clearly state that you OBJECT to and REJECT the road proposal outright.
2. Request that your response is formally logged/recorded: both in person and using the “Commonplace” feedback tool. They should help you to do this.
3. Demand a non-road solution to the movement of freight to and from the Port of Liverpool, removing the need for such a damaging road.
4. Demand more money from the UK Government for a sustainable solution which respects our health and our environment.
5. Ask them how closely they have been working with Peel Ports on plans to deliver this road, make a note of their response, the name of the person who provided it and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why this approach?
Everything Highways England will want to talk about will involve mitigation.
They will want to talk to us about how they will mitigate the destruction and displacement of wildlife; the impact on our air quality; the increased noise and light pollution; the loss of green space etc, etc.
It will no doubt be tempting to talk about these things, not least because they are so important to all of us.
We know this.
However, in doing so, we are in danger of being seen as accepting the road as a formality and effectively, admitting defeat.
Everyone must be aware that any responses given stating preferences for X, Y or Z will enable Highways England to put a tick in the box for “community engagement”.
A community they are so keen to engage with, they scheduled their public information events in the middle of the working week, at times which simply do not meet the needs of the vast majority of the public.
That’s how much they care about your views.
Just one week later, it would have been half-term and attendance would be much, much higher.
The truth is that you cannot mitigate putting 4 lanes of HGV traffic, a central reservation and all of the run-off areas right through the middle of a country park.
It ceases to be a country park.
Rimrose Valley as we know and love it, will be gone. Full stop.
We will be left with two, glorified verges.
By saying “NO”, by objecting to the entire project and by making sure this objection is recorded, you will be doing the single most effective thing you can to try and stop this road.
We are in the process of preparing a flyer summarising the above approach which we will be handing out to everyone attending on the day and will be sharing this online with you later this week.
As for the events themselves, we hope to meet lots of new people and talk to them about their concerns and our campaign.
We are obviously aware that there are many sides to this argument, but this is part and parcel of what makes us all individuals. We respect others’ views.
Please, please come along and join us, if at all possible.
Have YOUR say and help us to deliver what we hope will be a powerful message to Highways England: “We don’t want YOUR road”.
It has been brought to our attention that some are concerned that our intention may be to disrupt proceedings at these events. In particular, the Park Hotel session.
On behalf of everyone in the campaign team, we would like to reassure you that this is not the case.
We will be attending these sessions purely to protest Highways England’s decision to build a road through Rimrose Valley (or, indeed ANY road through Sefton), handing out leaflets and calling for better, non-road solutions to the movement of freight to and from the Port of Liverpool which would improve the lives of all communities.
The reason we are attending both sessions is that our supporters come from all areas of south Sefton; not limited to the edges of Rimrose Valley. We want to be there to show our support for anyone who objects to this road, no matter where they live. We do not view the locations for these sessions as being exclusive to specific community groups.
All of the demonstrations and gatherings we have held to date have been friendly and respectful at all times and this will be no different. They have been attended by children and grandparents alike and we hope the same will be true next week.
We may hold very different views, but that must not stop everyone from being civil towards one other. So, let's set the right tone and make it clear that no one needs to be concerned about this prior to these events. We want the atmosphere to be positive and amicable.
The only things that are toxic are the roads Highways England love to build, and the ships that Peel Ports will be inviting to our shores, to make them more money.
Remember the name of this project “The Port of Liverpool Access Scheme”.