Liverpool 2 – A busier port means yet more traffic on A5036 & a road through Rimrose Valley Country Park!

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

There is every danger that I’ll do this subject to death but the fact remains that building the new river berth at the Port of Liverpool well before the transport infrastructure to cope with the increased freight traffic was put in place was at best a very odd idea.

The Liverpool Echo has the story of the new river berth’s progress towards bringing in more and bigger ships to the port on its web site – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/peel-says-more-big-ships-15015748

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

Highways England announced recently that it intends to construct a brand new road down the Rimrose Valley Country Park to address the increasing port traffic and the opposition to that new road plan is gathering pace via the Rimrose Valley Friends whose web site can be accessed via the link below:-

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/

Port of Liverpool – The two road only options on the table

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/port-traffic-route-headache-option-12556835

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

This is a matter which I have been blogging about for a long time now and I still feel angry about it.

A classic cart before the horse situation if ever I saw one. The new Liverpool 2 River Berth catering for massive Post Panamax container ships is planned, constructed and completed before any serious thought is given as to how the increased freight is going to get to and from it. You really could not make this up as a planning absurdity but that’s pretty much what has happened.

Liverpool 2's massive new container cranes

Liverpool 2’s massive new container cranes

The A5036 route that links the Port of Liverpool at Seaforth with the motorway network at Switch Island is presently the only/major corridor for freight moving to and from the Port. It’s congested, at busy times the capacity is insufficient to cope with the traffic wanting to use it and there are already big concerns about air pollution from the diesel powered HGV’s that thunder up and down it. What’s more the A5036 is hemmed in by residential areas along significant parts of it.

As I have said before there are two options on the table from Highways England, either increase the capacity of the A5036 or build a new road right down the middle of Rimrose Valley Country Park! As if either option is credible and the plans seem to pit residents who live around the A5036 against residents who live either side of the Rimrose Valley.

And what has Sefton Council been doing? And where’s on earth is Network Rail? Between the two of them the best you can say is hiding behind the sofa!

Why has making new rail connections with the port seemingly been forgotten? Where’s the community leadership from Sefton Council?

This is indeed a dogs breakfast of a mess and the people left to pick up the pieces (and the air pollution) are the residents living in Netherton, Litherland, Crosby and Seaforth.

The present consultation on a road only solution needs to be brought to an end and only reconsidered when every possible rail freight possibility has been put in place.

Launch of SCAR to fight road building plans to access Port of Liverpool

The Sefton Communities Against Roadbuilding (SCAR) Campaign

www.scar.network/

I mentioned the impending launch of this new web site and organisation not so long ago and here it is – see link above.

There are numerous postings on this blog site about the consequences of the building of the new (Post Panamax)Liverpool 2 Dock. The most recent is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/11/13/port-of-liverpool-cranes-v-the-environment-and-the-launch-of-scar/

This is probably the greatest environmental challenge facing the Borough of Sefton right now. As I have said many times before the cart has been constructed before anyone knew where a horse could be found to pull it. In this case the new dock has been built but the transport infrastructure to support it is only being considered now!

Sefton Council has buried its head hoping no one will notice that they should have been leading the public debate. Labour have jumped on a lets build a tunnel band wagon knowing that such a solution is not even on the drawing board of Highways England. But that’s a smoke screen to make it look to the casual observer as though they are doing something, at least that’s what Labour seems to be hoping.

This new residents only group (and that’s interesting in itself i.e. no Bootle councillors) is the voice of communities in Netherton and Litherland who are sick of being ignored. I wish them luck.

Access to the Port of Liverpool – An update

Work on the new River Berth taking place in August 2015

Work on the new River Berth taking place in August 2015

IMG

I return to this matter because Highways England have issued a 3rd newsletter which is now available on their web site – see link below (click the publications tab):-

www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/a5036-port-of-liverpool-access/

The map above shows what Highways England have in mind, as if we were in any doubt. Option 2 is their proposed new road down and through the Rimrose Valley Country Park. Option 1 is upgrading the A5036/Dunningsbridge Road etc.

The issues that pop out for me from this latest newsletter are:-

* The odd answer to the question which I and many others must have asked the Highways England reps at the various public events a few weeks ago. Why isn’t greater use being made of the railway network in order to distribute this additional freight? Answer – Improvements to the rail network are being considered elsewhere. The obvious follow up question is where is ‘elsewhere’ and why is there no indication of it in the newsletter?

* In a second question specifically about bringing the North Mersey rail branch line back into use Highways England give a reasonable answer but again the answer does not take us any further forward with regard to non-road solutions.

* On the positive side Highways England seem to be saying all the right things about biodiversity, green issues, air quality and noise issues, which of course we should welcome.

However, what you quickly realise is that the strong line of questioning that Highways England clearly got from the public during the first round of consultation was really about the rail connections to the docks. No surprise there of course but those of us pressing that crucial issue were talking to folk who exist to build roads! They have little or no interest in other forms of transport.

And all this brings me back to my greatest concern which I have voiced before. Why is there not a joined up consultation being undertaken including Network Rail and Sefton Council? Yes we know that Labour-run Sefton is hiding behind the sofa hoping no one will realise that they should be leading this debate and goodness knows what Network Rail are doing in reality. So all we have at present is Highways England being desperate to build a new road.

It really is time for Labour-run Sefton Council to come out from under their sofa and lead this important public debate. If Bootle Labour MP Peter Dowd can raise the issue in Parliament why can’t Labour get to grips with it at a local level? And I don’t mean photos with concerned residents in the local press! What we need is all agencies and appropriate bodies being brought together by the Council so we have a fully informed public debate. There its not so hard comrades is it? – just do it.

Access to the Port of Liverpool – Looks like those in power (but not the Council) are finally talking to us!

The present Seaforth Docks and hinterland

The present Seaforth Docks and hinterland

www.liverpoollep.org/core-sectors/superport/

I have commented on access to the Port of Liverpool at Seaforth numerous times and been very critical of the lack of communication about and the long-term planning for the virtually complete River Berth which will receive Post-Panamax size container ships.

Firstly, there’s a link at the top of this posting to Liverpool City Region/Liverpool Enterprise Partnership. Some of my most recent postings are also available below:-

JUNE 2015 – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/06/26/access-to-the-port-of-liverpool-getting-there-slowly/

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

SEPTEMBER 2015 – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/09/23/seaforth-docks-river-berth-more-environmental-consequences/

But as well as the article on the City Region web site there is issue No.1 of a newsletter doing the rounds from Highways England. It can be accessed via the link below. Look particularly at the Publications tab:-

www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/a5036-port-of-liverpool-access

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.

So things are starting to happen in terms of engaging the people of Bootle, Seaforth, Netherton and South Sefton generally and not before time! However, I still think that Sefton Council should have been leading this process rather than peering out at what’s going on from the long grass hoping
no one will realise they are involved in this vital transport/environmental matter.

ACL container ship Atlantic Compass at Seaforth Dock.

ACL container ship Atlantic Compass at Seaforth Dock.

Is it really such a bright idea to consider putting a new road right through the middle of Rimrose Valley Country Park?!

Also, nothing much at all about rail access (I continue to note) which could have a really beneficial contribution to make in terms of getting polluting diesel lorries off Seaforth, Bootle and Netherton roads/the A5036. What are Network Rail doing/planning? Indeed, what are Sefton Council doing – hoping all this will slip through without them needing to get their hands dirty?

The 3rd/last photo in this posting is also on my Flickr page at:-

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

With thanks to John H for the lead to this story.

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?