Switch Island – Seaforth Docks road link – Many questions need to be answered

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/mersey-docks-set-motorway-link-8202582

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above – but the quote from that article below does not really take us any further forward.

‘Funding has been secured to upgrade the A5036 Princess Way – through Seaforth and Litherland – which links Liverpool’s ports to the motorway network.

This upgrade was announced last summer as part of the Liverpool Local Growth Deal.’

This has been a subject that Sefton Council, in particular, has not been at all keen to talk about. Indeed, getting behind this story to gain some detail over recent months has been like pulling teeth.

So now the cat is completely out of the bag can we please be told how this upgrade of the A5036 is to proposed to be achieved and the environmental and community impacts of such proposals? It is no use doing deals behind closed doors just to impose an already agreed solution on South and East Sefton’s communities

Liverpool Echo – Old Litherland social club could have collapsed after second fire in just over a month

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/old-litherland-social-club-could-7816793

The Echo has the story – see link above.

Whilst it looks nothing like as good as it would have done back in the day, it is sad to see an old building like this being destroyed by fire especially if the two recent fires were started deliberately. But what struck me was the building’s link to the Leeds Liverpool canal.

The Echo says – The three-storey Victorian house was previously occupied by the chief engineer of Leeds and Liverpool Canal Company.

The effect the the canal had on helping to develop the local economy in Bootle, Litherland, Ford, Netherton, Aintree Village, Melling, Maghull & Lydiate can never be underestimated.

Diesel engine pollution – Find a solution before Bootle becomes a particulates black spot!

www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/29/diesel-engine-pollution-premature-deaths-costs-nhs-billions

The Guardian has the story.

It is precisely this sort of concern that I have about the management of transport access to the enlarged Seaforth Docks in Bootle. My postings of 24th April and 2nd May provide more background to this issue.

I don’t think anyone wants to stop the economic benefits of the expansion of the docks in Bootle but if the transport corridor (A5036 – Dunnings Bridge Road, Church Road, Princess Way) from Switch Island to the docks is going to become a sea of lorries churning out diesel fums and particulates then some serious thinking needs doing now. The consequences on the health of those living close to congested transport corridors has to be solved before the lorries start thundering through the southern part of Sefton.

Rail transport is, of course, part of the solution but not via diesel powered locomotives pulling heavy container trains up the steep inclines from the docks without the particulates they emit being safely managed. Electrification of the rail route would be the sensible way forward.

The giant Seaforth Mural

I have commented on this gigantic piece of public artwork before but have now taken some better photo’s of it.

It really is a work of art; just look at the detail in the Liverpool Overhead Railway poster depiction:-

rsz_seaforth_mural

rsz_seaforth_mural_detail

rsz_seaforth_mural_poster

Click to enlarge any of the photos which are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Expansion of Port of Liverpool – But what about the access?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-27119412

The BBC has this latest story about the expansion of the Port of Liverpool but the big and very much unanswered question out there is what is to be done about transporting all the extra goods back and forth between the Port and the road and rail network.

This has been a big concern for many years as the A5036 from Switch Island to the Port clearly struggles for capacity now. Of course, the road is also a commuter route into Bootle and Liverpool so at times this regionally important access road, which is the only ‘A’ road in Sefton still under the control of the Highways Agency, is very congested.

Oddly, however, the rail link into Seaforth Container Terminal seems to be running well below its capacity with few trains using it to take containers to and from the Port. I am told this is associated with access charges to the rail terminal and the fact that it is more cost effective for rail freight to use the Garston rail facility in the south of Liverpool. Whatever the reason the effect of an underused rail container terminal at Seaforth Dock is that more containers are trucked to the Port via the already noted congested road network.

So, what is to happen when bigger ships carrying potentially vastly larger numbers of containers start to use the expanding facilities at the Port. The obvious answer is that unless the rail access and facilities are upgraded and become well used the impact will be far more trucks on Bootle’s roads. In fact, there will be more trucks on Bootle’s roads even if the rail terminal is brought up to and used to its capacity!

And associated with all this is the pollution from ships, diesel trucks and yes even diesel rail locomotives. This aspect should not be under estimated as Bootle already has much lower life expectancy levels than other parts of the Borough of Sefton.

This is a huge conundrum which Sefton Council, Peel Ports, The Highways Agency and Network Rail/rail freight operators have to address because if it is not successfully resolved the consequences will be:-

* Greater Pollution with all the health implication that brings
* More traffic congestion affecting everyone in the south of the Borough
* Bootle becoming a sea of container lorries 24 hours a day, 7 days per week

I will return to this subject in due course.