Valley Friends make nation aware of their campaign after appearing on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
The campaign to Save Rimrose Valley stepped up a gear on Tuesday, 30th January, as the story was featured on BBC Radio 2’s flagship current affairs programme, hosted by Jeremy Vine. With listening figures of approximately 3.5 million, this represents a huge amount of exposure for the campaign.
The Road Action Group contacted the show at the turn of the year, highlighting their plight and were delighted to be invited on to discuss the topic. Stuart Bennett represented the group and discussed the community’s passion for Rimrose Valley, their anger at the consultation process and subsequent decision, before exchanging views with Tim Gamon, Highways England’s Regional Delivery Director for the North West.
When challenged as to why a tunnel wasn’t presented as an option to the public during the consultation, Tim Gamon stuck doggedly to the argument that it was simply too expensive, despite being presented with the example of Highways England’s own Lower Thames Crossing Scheme, where a tunnel is being delivered, at four times the estimated cost. Stuart Bennett countered that a decision based on the financial cost alone ignored the immeasurable cost to public health and the environment which will surely follow, should the proposed road go ahead.
The item generated a fantastic response. As a direct result of the broadcast, the campaign has gained messages of support from listeners around the country, including an increased following on social media and now stand at more than 9,000 signatures on the online petition on change.org (see link below). Callers were predominantly from people within the Liverpool area, in favour of preserving Rimrose Valley. In addition, the option of increased rail freight was raised, with two callers highlighting that a modernised rail network could solve the problem, without the need to resort to building yet another road. Rail freight remains an option that the Action Group support. However, the group feel that this must be over and above the rail improvements Peel Ports and Network Rail announced last year.
“We want to know what percentage of freight Peel Ports intend to transport by rail. A full-blown rail solution is required in order to keep traffic off the roads, not a small operation, which is simply a token gesture or a P.R. exercise in efforts to reduce carbon emissions” said Mike Carter, also of Rimrose Valley Friends. “Again, this requires huge investment and would take time to implement. However, this should not be used as an excuse for Highways England to pursue a quick and easy fix by bulldozing Rimrose Valley to build a road. The public should not be made to suffer as a result of the terrible planning of the necessary infrastructure to support the port’s expansion, through no fault of its own”.
Jeremy Vine also played “My Rimrose Story”, a song written for the purpose of generating funds for – and greater awareness of – the ongoing campaign.
“As I’ve only lived in the area for two and a half years, I wanted to better understand what Rimrose Valley means to others” said Stuart Bennett. “I asked our community of Rimrose Valley Friends for their stories and memories of this special place and had dozens and dozens of responses, which provided many of the lyrics. It’s a bit sentimental, but I wanted to try and convey how people are feeling about the prospect of Rimrose Valley being taken away from us. I hope the song does that”. The track is available to purchase online. Search for “My Rimrose Story” on www.bandcamp.com
Listen Again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09p9s7h
(Starts approx 1 hour 9 minutes)
Latest Campaign News: https://www.facebook.com/SaveRimroseValley
Latest news articles on our website (www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org)
Sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/secretary-of-state-for-transport-stop-the-dual-carriageway-through-rimrose-valley