Port of Liverpool – £400m River Berth opens but access roads and rails will not be in place for years!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/live-massive-400m-port-liverpool-12125368

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Red and blue cranes at Seaforth Docks

How many times have I posted about this?! It must be one of the most cart before horse projects of this scale that I have ever come across.

Why build a £400m container ship terminal at Seaforth but without any of the new transport infrastructure in place to service it?

Highways England are only just consulting on their controversial plan (that’s putting it politely) to build a brand new access road to the docks down the Rimrose Valley Country Park and Network Rail seem to be little more than asleep on the job!

If the new River Berth is successful it will seemingly need to be serviced by an increasing number of HGV’s along the A5036 Dunningsbridge Road/Church Road. How will the congestion and air pollution be dealt with?

Why has Sefton Council just sat there watching this happen on their patch? Well I think we know the answer to this last question. It’s because Bootle Labour Party has not wanted to to get involved for fear of getting blamed for the project. But that is very far from community leadership!

Access to the Port of Liverpool – Shuffling about in Bootle Labour’s undergrowth?

Seaforth Docks seen from the Mersey with work going on to construct the river berth for Post-Panamax ships in August 2015.

Seaforth Docks seen from the Mersey with work going on to construct the river berth for Post-Panamax ships in August 2015.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/calls-tunnel-link-liverpool2-terminal-11651359

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Readers of this blog site will know how disappointed (and that’s being polite about it!) I have been by the lack of action by Labour-run Sefton Council with regard to this hugely important transport project. But are we starting to see stirrings from Bootle Labour who may be trying to position themselves?

My most recent posting on this matter is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/07/22/access-to-the-port-of-liverpool-an-update/

The Echo article above is interesting and it may or may not be of significance. By that I mean if Bootle Labour are seemingly latching onto a solution that will not be a runner due to the massive cost then they are just positioning themselves to be able to say we did propose an alternative and were ignored. A political get out of jail type card.

But of course they may be backing the tunnel because they think it is likely to happen and need to be on the winning side of the argument. However, they see themselves winning either way because if the proposed surface road does get built (down the Rimrose Valley Country Park) then they have distanced themselves from its unpopularity.

Am I being too cynical? I very much doubt it!

PS. You may notice that the Echo article makes no mention what so ever about the potential rail solutions for accessing the Port of Liverpool/Liverpool 2. Have rail options been dropped now? Were they ever seriously investigated?

Greenpeace – Air pollution is responsible for cutting short 40,000 lives in the UK every year.

pollution
secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/air-pollution-national?source=em&subsource=20160413apem01&utm_source=gpeace&utm_medium=em&utm_campaign=20160413apem01

Please consider supporting the Greenpeace petition available via the link above

Air pollution is responsible for cutting short 40,000 lives in the UK every year. It’s time for this government to take robust and steadfast action to address this national health emergency. Please create a bold action plan that cleans our air, reduces pollution and saves lives

I have raised concerns like this before on this very blog site in relation to HGV’s accessing the Port of Liverpool. Bootle in particular is a concern for air pollution locally but we are kidding ourselves if we think that it is not a problem for us all. The inside of own vehicles is often an air pollution hot spot as the air circulation systems suck pollutants in. You can help to reduce this problem by recirculating the air in your vehicle but you need to try to anticipate where and when to do this. I do it when I realise I am coming up behind a HGV or diesel taxi for instance.

Seaforth Docks River Berth – More environmental consequences?

I have posted a number of times about the consequences of the Mersey river berth that will allow Post Panamax ships of an enormous size to dock at Seaforth. Below is an example of the type and size of ship that will be using the river berth:-

11960201_961815140544892_8270652737917260902_n

Click on the photo to enlarge it

To date the issues I have raised have been about access to and from the port by rail and road for the increased level of freight that the port will generate, the lack of preparedness of Sefton Council, Highways England and Network Rail for this and the potential air pollution consequences. My last relevant posting can be read via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/08/04/lancashire-life-magazine-expansion-at-seaforth-dock/

But there is another issue which has been highlighted by former Lib Dem councillor and Mayor of Sefton Cliff Mainey. Cliff, like me, is an environmentalist at heart and his concern is the dredging of the Mersey to accommodate the river berth and the massive ships that will use it.

Cliff Mainey

Cliff Mainey

‘Where has the dredged silt been dumped now and where will it be dumped in the future’ asks Cliff ‘and what are the consequences of the dredging to our coastline?’

Seaforth Docks seen from the Mersey with work going on to construct the river berth for Post-Panamax ships.

Seaforth Docks seen from the Mersey in August 2015 with work going on to construct the river berth for Post-Panamax ships.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

These important questions should be a big issue for Sefton Council, the Environment Agency and any other authority that has an interest in protecting our coastline. It is clearly vital that the consequences of tampering with Mother Nature are fully understood but is this another issue associated with the river berth that those who represent our interests have not addressed with the vigor we would expect?

‘Ground survey set to assess potential for Rimrose Valley road’

This was the headline in the Champion newspaper on 19th August and a sobering one it is too.

How many times have I commented on the complete lack of foresight and preparation for the soon to be completed river berth at Seaforth Docks? I lose count I really do but to consider churning up a Country Park for a relief road beggars belief. My last posting is here:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/08/04/lancashire-life-magazine-expansion-at-seaforth-dock/

Yes I know the Highways Agency (now Highways England) has been considering this option for years now, so long indeed that no one can quite recall when they first thought of it!

Frankly this carry on is probably the biggest local scandal to afflict the south of Sefton Borough. With the river berth about to be opened later this year virtually nothing has been done (except for the recent works to the big roundabout in Seaforth) to address the increased HGV traffic and the air pollution it brings with it.

Seaforth Docks seen from the Mersey with work going on to construct the river berth for Post-Panamax ships.

Seaforth Docks seen from the Mersey with work going on to construct the river berth for Post-Panamax ships.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

It’s as though no one has realised or wanted to realise that building the river berth for much larger ships will have significant environmental consequences for Seaforth, Waterloo, Bootle, Netherton etc. Only in the UK could we get ourselves into such a muddle of wishing an end result (bigger ships, better port facilities, more trade etc.) without at the same time planning for the movement of freight from the docks to the Motorway network and onto the rail network. Yet here we are in that muddle and one of the ‘solutions’, possibly the only one we presently know of, is to build a new road right through a County Park in a densely populated area.

Where are the improved rail facilities up to? Who if anyone is planning for them? Do Network Rail have a project in their sights to use the rail freight facility in its present guise to its greatest potential? Is the mothballed Aintree – Bootle line going to be brought back into use to help expand the rail freight capacity? Is the Seaforth dock railway link to be electrified so to relieve the communities living near to the rail line from diesel pollution?

So many questions but only a new road through a Country Park on the agenda or so it seems!

The photo above is also amongst on by Flickr page at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Seaforth – Peel’s new river berth construction moves forward BUT…..

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/watch-construction-work-300m-liverpool2-9482897

The present Seaforth Docks and hinterland

The present Seaforth Docks and hinterland

The Liverpool Echo has the story of the construction – see link above.

BUT, what is happening with regard to how goods are going to get to and from the port when the new river berth has been constructed and is in use? The Echo article makes reference to transhipment down the Manchester Ship Canal but that is not where all the addition freight is going to go.

Sefton Council, The Highways Agency, Network Rail and Liverpool City Council have been ‘looking into this’ for years yet we know precious little about the proposed solutions that are actually going to be proposed. Yes there’s been a lot of talk and speculation but real hard facts on which residents living near to the port and along the A5036 corridor to Switch Island can be fully consulted upon is hard to find indeed.

Is the old Aintree – Bootle freight railway line, which has been mothballed for years, going to be opened up again?

Do the Council really want to drive a new road down the Rimrose Valley Country Park?

What are the noise and air pollution consequences going to be of hundreds of additional diesel powered lorries thundering through Seaforth, Litherland and Netherton?

Is it not about time all this was debated in the open so that we all know what’s going on?