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No Appeal over Judicial Review

Sefton Council has taken the difficult decision not to appeal the Judicial Review decision relating to the A5036 Port Access Road.

Unfortunately last month Sefton Council lost its legal fight to order Highways England (HE) to re-consult on proposals to build a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley Country Park which in their view would improve access to the Port of Liverpool.

Mr Justice Kerr ruled that he would not order Highways England to re-consult and include the tunnel option for the proposed Port Access route through Rimrose Valley.

A letter has just been sent to Highways England informing them Sefton Council will not make an appeal about this particular decision and the Council will now only follow its statutory duties on the matter and will not co-operate further with HE.

Cllr Ian Maher, Labour leader at Sefton Council, said: “This was a difficult decision for us as we still firmly believe Highways England should engage with our communities on a tunnel option.

“We also believe Highways England should try much harder to find a better solution which would not have such a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of our residents.

“Not only will their plans deprive us of a much loved urban green space, it will also by Highways England’s own admission have a negative impact on vehicle pollution which goes against the Government’s own agenda to improve air quality.

“One of our major considerations for not appealing was the statement in court by Highways England’s legal Counsel that we would be able to object later in the process by advocating for the tunnel as a less environmentally damaging alternative.

“So, while we will not appeal this particular judgement, we will be watching carefully the actions of Highways England throughout the statutory consultation stage to ensure that it is conducted in such a way that all affected communities can have their say on Highways England’s disastrous plan. In no way is it a closed matter and we will continue to fight for the benefit of our communities.

“If the process moves through to the Examination Phase we will be making appropriate representations on behalf of our communities regarding the significant adverse impacts the current preferred option has on everyone who lives and works in the area.

“We will continue to comply with our statutory responsibilities in this process and will always look after and advocate for the interests of our residents. However, we will not otherwise co-operate with Highways England in a scheme which, in our view, will leave all our communities much worse off.”