Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson has called a planned road through Rimrose Valley Country Park an “unacceptable loss of green space and a threat to the health of local residents”.
Mr Esterson has opposed the plans which were announced recently by Highways England. The £250m road was one of only two options considered – the other being expanding the current Dunnings Bridge Road route. There has been local opposition to both options and neither got significant backing by residents in a consultation.
Mr Esterson said if the scheme were in the South of England a tunnel would have been considered as it has near Stonehenge. He said the increase in air pollution from the road was a major concern, adding : “Air quality near the port is already a serious problem and a new road will soon become congested just as Dunnings Bridge Road is congested. The health of residents is already impacted by this busy route and now the Government wants to take away some of our green space as well. It is my belief also that if this were happening in the South, a tunnel would be considered, as it has been around Stonehenge.
“I have been working closely with ward councillors Cllr Steve McGinnity, Cllr John Kelly and Cllr Clare Carragher to raise the concerns of local residents. We feel that this road amounts to an unacceptable loss of green space and a threat to the health of local residents.”
Mr Esterson also called on the Government to invest more in rail in order to take some of the pressure off the road network, saying: “I have asked the Secretary of State what consideration was given to improving the rail network instead of building a new road. Across London, Crossrail is almost complete and Crossrail 2 is in the pipeline. Yet in the North our rail infrastructure is creaking under the pressure of years of underinvestment.
“Peel Ports recently announced a £750m investment in the rail network from the port yet the Government sits on its hands with regard to investing in rail.”