Climate Change & the Port of Liverpool

Daughter Jen and I attended a public meeting in Waterloo yesterday evening at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre organised by Friends of the Earth. The subject of the meeting and debate was The Port of Liverpool & The Climate Crisis.

The meeting took the form of a panel of speakers making initial statements and then them taking questions which had been submitted prior to the meeting, although there was also some interaction with the audience of I would guess @150 people.

(The acoustics were not great in the room so I may have missed some points that were made)

The panel was Paulette Lappin (Sefton Councillor for Ford Ward & Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services), Stu from Save Rimrose Valley Campaign, Bill Esterson MP for Sefton Central, a representative of the Church Road & District Residents Assn, Craig from Friends of the Earth and the event was hosted/chaired by Dominic Browne, editor of Highways Magazine/ Transport Network.

Cllr. Lappin raised concerns about poor air quality associated with the area around the Port. She also said that Sefton Council was still pressing for a road tunnel to access it.

Rimrose Valley Country Park.

Stu from Save Rimrose Valley Campaign was disappointed that Peel Ports & Highways England were not at the event.

Bill Esterson MP said he was against both a new road down the Rimrose Valley or the alternative Highways England solution of upgrading the A5036/Church Road. He wanted a tunnel but but not a road tunnel, a rail tunnel.

The Church Road & District speaker (my apols I did not catch his name) said his group represented concerned residents from Millers Bridge to Switch Island. He also said his group would be taking Sefton Council to court for its failings. He wants digital air pollution monitoring at all the schools around the A5036 corridor.

Craig the FofTE speaker said a Health Assessment for the proposed new road down the Rimrose Valley needs to be made. He also called for Highways England to be scrapped in favour of sustainable transport solutions. He was clearly incredulous that the Port had been expanded and then the transport links to it were being considered.

Other comments – Why was Steve Rotherham the Metro Mayor not at the event? – The response from some was that he was simply a figurehead but with little power. FofTE called on Rotherham to come out clearly against the 2 road schemes for accessing the Port.

Why did Sefton Council not apply for government money (in 2018?) to enable it to conduct detailed air monitoring? – This was clearly a big issue between the Church Road & District Group and Sefton Council, indeed it led to the host saying he was glad the two of them were at different ends of the table.

What had Merseytravel been doing as the Transport Committee for the City Region? Had they been assisting Highways England?

Rebecca Hanson (from the audience) called for the only digital monitor in the Port vicinity to be put on-line so that anyone could access it for real time air pollution information. My understanding is that the Sefton Cabinet Member undertook to try to get this done.

Has a detailed assessment been undertaken for the 3rd alternative i.e. a rail tunnel? The MP thought not.

Reference made to early reports and investigations via Sefton Council and the Port Access Group it chaired, going back to 2003, but of course the Climate Crisis had not been the massive issue then that it is now.

A chap from the audience asked about the long talked of HGV parking-up facility for the Port and where this had got to – no one seemed to know the answer to this.

My thoughts on the event –

Why hadn’t Sefton Council sent a councillor along who was a member of the Port Access Steering Group which it had chaired from the outset? Cllr. Lappin said she had not been a member of it.

Why was the Sefton Central MP there when the vast majority of issues are actually within the Bootle Constituency?

What did the event achieve? Well it clearly led to information sharing amongst those who attended it but whether it will have contributed to changing of minds in government or elsewhere is a different matter. I got the impression that all of us at the event were opposed to what Highways England is proposing (either road scheme) so there’s a danger we were talking to ourselves and not really exerting that influence that is so clearly needed on the real decision makers.

If I have anything wrong here please let me know and I will correct. As I said the acoustics were not great.

4 thoughts on “Climate Change & the Port of Liverpool

  1. That’s an excellent blog Tony. Thanks for writing it and sorry I didn’t realise you were there.

    The panel member from the Church Road Action Group was John McDonald.

    I was very shocked that Bill Esterson MP was making claims that contradicted all the professional reports but didn’t seem to think it was the job of his office to do any work to back them up.

    Peter Dowd MP was there but sat in the audience and didn’t say anything.

    Rebecca Hanson

    • I saw you across the room but at the end missed you. I’m amazed that Peter Dowd was there but not contributing, he must know the whole history of Sefton’s involvement in the project, far more than Esterson of Cllr. Lappin.

  2. Alan De Ledger St Claire says:

    Hi Tony
    As Rebecca said earlier an excellent and true account of the meeting, I was the Chap who asked about the Port Access Group and Sefton Councils involvement identifying suitable locations for HGV parking in the Liverpool City Region. I haven’t seen any progress reports from that Group since 2017.
    I did try to point out to Councillor Lappin that her opening statement saying Liverpool had been declared a Clean Air Zone was incorrect,
    what she was trying to say was that Liverpool had been awarded a Government grant of approximately £652,000 to help implement such a scheme.
    At this time Liverpool has only been declared as an AQMA ( Air Quality Management Area )

  3. JohnMcDonald says:

    Hello Tony, I am John McDonald, of the Church Road and Districts Residents Association eho sat on the panel last Monday!
    As an overview you blog is ok but much that was important was nkt discussed anyway, and time constraints meant some items had to be skipped through fater than examined in detail!
    For the record, Church Road and Districts Residents Association, are NOT opposed to a road through Rimrose Valley! As things stand the impasse created by SMBC has created nightmare scenario for residents along the whole route, from Millers Bridge, to Switch Island which includes the beleaguered Princess Way, Seaforth, Church Road Litherland, Dunningsbridge Road, Netherton and Old Roan Copy Lane!
    You are correct asking why Bill Esterson was there, when the constituency M.P. sat at the back! You may not be aware the Bill Esterson is regsrded very much as Peel Puppet in our areas! While “pretending” to support the Rimrose Valley Campaign, he has als hosted a seminar in Westminster to introduce Peel to investors extolling their virtues and promoting association with them for future business! Also known as Photoshop Bill as he likes to have his picture in the papers as often as possible! I must confess to anger when I hear him talking about insects disappearing, when the biggest threat to these parts is human life, and especially, schoolchildren!
    The big issue is the nonsense of a tunnel! It has been discounted at every level of study sincecthe port project began! As things stand now the Corridor Communities are facing 6 or 7 years in an area for which the pollution levels already exceed the maxima, on a daily basis and for which the High Court has already ruled illegal. Port projections are for 400% increase as the port moves to maximum output! The council appear to consider the people hereabouts as collateral dajage to their shenanigans! The planned Road will take another 6/7 years to build! If the idea overturned in favour of a tunnel this will take 15 years to go through all the processes! Without a shadow of a doubt this is not sustainable given the disastrous damage to life and limb on current roads!
    I must make it very clear that we, CRADRA, flatly refuse to even consider this going forward. The road through Rimrose Valley has been in the plans since 1947 and the developing situation demands that itvis completed a.s.a.p! No ifs, no buts, the traffic MUST be removed from this road immediately!
    We have also made a clear unequivocal statement to Highway England that any resolution must include a solution for Seaforth, and Princess Way!
    Should you wish to talk to me about our findings, and studies, or wish to contribute to our case then please feel free to contact me! Rebecca Hanson is a close participant in our deliberations, and she will give you details!

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