Sefton Council has today issued a public statement, stating their position on the threat of the dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley, as follows:
Leader of Sefton Council Cllr Ian Maher, said:
“We know that our communities have felt absolutely devastated since the announcement in August by Highways England that their preferred option is to build a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley. The way the whole process has been handled beggars believe and the more I have thought about it, the more I believe that we have grounds to challenge and are calling for a judicial review on the matter.
“When they first started consultation on their two options to ease traffic on the A5036 – 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 – we put forward a third option to build a tunnel as an alternative and felt it should have been properly looked at. Yet they completely disregarded this option without any real consideration.
“We want to do the best by our communities and I feel that this flawed decision needs to be challenged. It’s just not right that they can do this to the people of Sefton. Their failure to include the tunnel as an option in the consultation process has deprived our residents of the opportunity to express a view – and I think this gives us enough evidence to take legal action. We are calling on Highways England to withdraw its ridiculous decision and re-open the consultation, giving people an opportunity to comment on the possibility of a tunnel as another option.
“We want to protect our communities that already suffer from some of the poorest air quality. Not only will a road through Rimrose Valley 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. We just can’t let this happen and I’m determined to fight it.”
Rimrose Valley Friends welcomes Sefton Council’s approach to dealing with this situation. Highways England presented the community with two options which are both completely unacceptable, a cynical ploy to remove from the public their right to state a preference. The growing national awareness of the real and present danger of increasing levels of pollution, with South Sefton being amongst the worst hit, and the program to erode our essential green space, is now becoming understood. Now is the time for the Government to start listening to this huge issue – a national issue – and to come up with a proper national infrastructure policy that takes into account the damage to people and green spaces, starting with Rimrose Valley. Other countries in Europe and around the world are putting our Government to shame in their understanding of these issues, and it’s high time our leaders wake up and stop this madness by ensuring Highways England goes back to the drawing board to come up with acceptable options.
The Campaign for Better Transport, who RVF is working very closely with, has also issued a statement in response to Sefton Council’s statement above. Click here to read CBT’s response.