The leader of Sefton Council blasts the decision to build a road through Rimrose Valley.
Leader of Sefton Council Cllr Ian Maher, said:
“I am completely astounded at the way Highways England have handled this whole situation and sent letters out by mistake to announce their preferred option is to build a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley without notifying us in advance. All along they have stated there would be a decision in September and then jump the gun without informing us when they know how strongly we and our communities feel about this. Once again we have been railroaded. They will be hearing from us as it’s a farce the way the whole process has been dealt with.
“I’m not only furious at the way it’s been handled but they have completely ignored our calls for the tunnel option to be properly considered and consulted on as an alternative option to ease traffic on the A5036. To not even at least investigate the feasibility of this alternative shows a complete disregard towards our local communities once again. These communities already suffer from some of the poorest air quality and the Government’s response is to build a road through the Rimrose Valley which by Highways England’s own admission will make things even worst. It beggars belief.
“We have been clear throughout the consultation that the two options presented – a revamped A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road, which is already one of the busiest roads in the north, or a new £200m road through Rimrose Valley Park in Litherland – would both have a significant negative impact on local people. Our suggestion to fully explore the idea of building a tunnel between Switch Island and the Port of Liverpool should have at least been acknowledged. It remains my view that this option was rejected on cost grounds. Whilst I accept that it would ultimately cost more money, tunnels have been built elsewhere across the country and I can’t help feeling that because we are in the north we are being treated as second-class citizens. This Government says that improving air quality is a priority but then makes decisions that are completely contrary to this.
“To just drop it on us early that their preferred option is to build a new road through Rimrose Valley will devastate the local community. Not only will it remove much loved and vital green space provision in Sefton, but will cause air pollution and threaten the environmental and ecological systems which local people enjoy and which supports their health and wellbeing. I feel that the people of Sefton have been completely shafted in what is to me a very flawed decision and one that is completely out of our hands to do anything about, simply because the relevant national agencies have failed to co-ordinate a true multi modal solution to this issue.”