Rimrose Valley Country Park, Labour politics and rail freight (or the lack of it) from Liverpool Docks

Rimrose Valley Country Park

How do these 3 disparate subjects fit together? Quite easily actually.

So the Port of Liverpool is expanding, that’s hardly new news but the consequences of the expansion brings with it quite a lot of bad environmental news.

You see the once well rail connected port is not so well connected to the national railway network these days. There is still one rail link with Seaforth Container Base/Liverpool 2 but just about the only rail freight moved via it are the biomass trains serving Drax Power Station. Containers have not been moved from Seaforth for quite some time now. Here’s a couple of shots of trains waiting to be loaded from the next biomass loaded ship to dock:-

So having established that little freight moves from Seaforth Docks via the national rail network and of course being aware of the expanding docks leads you pretty much to the rather obvious conclusion that the containers are being moved by road. And as the Port expands the big worry is that even more freight will move by road and that’s why Highways England want to build a new access road to the docks down the lovely Rimrose Valley Country Park.

Locals living along side the A5036 road corridor are already sick of the rumbling trucks accessing the Port and the air pollution that goes with their diesel engines. For those unsure about the A5036 it links Switch Island and the M57 and M58 Motorways to the docks.

But putting another road (in effect paralleling the A5036) right through a Country Park is hardly the solution to get locals on board with and unsurprisingly they (Rimrose Valley Friends) have said ‘no way’ and have launched a campaign to try to stop the new road ruining their Country Park. Here’s a couple of shots of their protest placards:-


So an impasse has been reached and at face value the local council – Sefton Borough – is on the right side of the argument (as witnessed via the link above to the BBC web site) as it is backing the environmental campaigners against Highways England. But as with many big infrastructure projects things are not quite how they seem as the inaction of the Council over many years, whilst the the port has been expanding, is in fact one very big reason why the residents living near the Rimrose Valley Country Park and alongside the A5036 are where they are now.

It was obvious to me whilst I was on Sefton Council that Bootle Labour did not want to discuss access to the Port, it seemed to be their Brexit issue if you use the analogy of national Labour today being unwilling to debate the most pressing public policy issue of our present times.

The consequence of this inaction was that the port expanded whilst no one locally really had an eye on how freight was going to access it, no one that is but what was then the Highways Agency and is now Highways England.

But why did Bootle Labour sit back and watch? Probably because they realised the problem was intractable and difficult to solve. Easier to let others come up with solutions and then blast those ideas than to try to help solve the issue by leading the debate. A problem ignored is a problem that comes back, as is happening now, but this admittedly difficult matter should have been addressed a long time ago but Bootle Labour hid behind the sofa.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Rail tunnels under Liverpool – A more environmentally sustainable solutuion to the Port of Liverpool access difficulties

Liverpool 2’s massive new container cranes


The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

With all the objections to the Highways England ‘let’s build a new road through the Rimrose Valley Country Park’ preferred solution to try to solve the expanding Port of Liverpool’s access difficulties these old tunnels under the City may well be a far better and more environmentally sustainable solution.

For goodness sake expanding the rail access to the Port is the solution and the tunnels are already there. What’s more the present rail link to the Port is underused.

With thanks to Mike Penn for the lead to this posting

A review of 2017 – The meanderings of a Liberal Blogger

12 months in 12 blog postings – click on each link to read the posting

January – Loss of my dear friend ‘Uncle Albert’:-


February – Not being the Tory Party:-


March – Developing land north of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road


April – Maghull’s parks, their maintenance and money


May – Buying the Strand Shopping Centre in secretive deal


June – Bugger Moderation!


July – Youth Coffee Bar gone, CAB gone – Labour’s regressive policies!


August – Those who take land out of Green Belt then protest about its development!


September – Rimrose Valley Country Park and the Sefton Council’s part in it’s demise


October – Police move into Maghull TH but at what a cost!


November – Ex Southport MP John Pugh wins Sefton Council seat by an electoral landslide


December – Maghull North Station progress


So another year comes to a close. Not a good one, indeed another poor one as the UK slips further into the Brexit mire or is that jumps over the Brexit cliff? Either way no good will come of it but a lot of bad most certainly will.

Personally I lost more good friends in 2017 which is always sad yet in looking back at my posting about ‘Uncle Albert’ I can only feel that whilst I lost him I gained so much from knowing him.

As for 2018 the omens are not good and they will remain poor so long as Jeremy Corbyn remains wedded to Teresa May’s Brexit.

Melling – That soon to be corrected M58 motorway junction by Ashworth Hospital

As I have posted about previously that weird Junction 1 on the M58 which you can only access to travel east or exit from the east is finally to be made a full junction.

I recall my old Sefton Councillor chum and former Mayor of the Borough, Cliff Mainey, banging on about the need for this work to be done at least 10 years ago. A previous posting of mine about this matter is accessible via the link below:-


Yesterday Sefton Council, who are pursuing the project on behalf of Highways England, held an information session at Meadows Leisure Centre in Maghull so I popped along to learn more about it.

I learned that the project has a cost benefit ration of around 9 to 1 i.e. for every £1 invested in the project it should return about £9 into the local economy. If memory serves this was similar to the CBR of Brooms Cross Road which was constructed recently.

I understand that Sefton Council finally took the plunge and started to lobby seriously for the project about 4 years ago.

So what seems to have been a money saving (why else would it have been left a one sided junction?) half-done job at Junction 1 is finally to be corrected. Clearly money was not saved @1980ish when the Motorway was being built as it is having to be spent now. Oh and Cliff you were right and they finally listened to you.

Click on the graphic above to enlarge it

Switch Island & A59 – Have you seen the mess that litter chucked out of vehicle windows causes?

Litter chucked from vehicles can now be seen beside many main roads at at junctions*.


The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

I also blogged about this subject back in 2014 and here’s a link back to that posting:-


It seems to be becoming almost a fashionable thing to do, an ‘acceptable’ way to dispose of unwanted wrappings and general junk within a vehicle. I bet most of us have seen it happen. A window winds down in front of us in a queue of traffic and some rubbish gets thrown out onto the pavement or grass verge.

I may have related this story before but a few years back I was walking along Green Lane in Thornton, here on Merseyside, and there was a queue of traffic at the traffic lights. A few yards ahead of me was a lady walking in the same direction as me. Just in front of her a car window opened and a nappy was chucked out onto the pavement. The lady picked it up and with some force threw it against the back window of the car it came from. It made quite a mess on that car and the occupants looked as surprised as I did. Direct action got a message home on that occasion I suspect.

*(This is a general illustrative shot of litter)

Maghull – The narrowest cyclepath/footway you can imagine – A59 – Northway

Cycling or indeed walking around Switch Island to go to say Aintree Village or ASDA from Maghull is a bit of a performance because you have to go around the island in an anti-clockwise direction and out of your way.

This huge vehicle junction where 3 dual carriageways, 1 single carriageway road and 2 motorways join has evolved over time rather than been planned or so it seems. It’s far from being pedestrian or cyclist friendly, indeed its a dangerous place altogether as the numerous weekly vehicle accidents prove. Highways England are you listening?

However, if you know your way around it you can just about survive walking, cycling or driving but one odd quirk of the planning of the pedestrian/cycling route is on the A59/Northway as you leave Maghull heading for Switch Island.

A cycle/pedestrian crossing was installed over both separate carriageways of the A59 some years back so that you are taken to a path alongside the northbound traffic flow. Trouble is this path is very narrow, yet it is supposed to be for pedestrians and cyclists. It is not possible for one cyclist and one pedestrian to pass each other without one standing aside.

I have raised this matter with Sefton Council and have noted that in recent weeks all kinds of spray painted makings have been placed along the path which seem to indicate that some work is going to take place. Not sure what the work is but I hope this completely inadequate path is going to be widened.

Here’s a shot of the crossing and a view towards Switch Island. The path in question runs alongside the northbound carriageway where you can see the dog walker. The narrowness of the path can also be seen:-

Click on the photo to enlarge it