Labour reshuffle offers hope for Rimrose campaign

Campaigners opposed to a new £250m dual carriageway close to the Port of Liverpool say Labour Party reshuffle offers huge boost to their fight. Tony McDonough reports

Bill Esterson
Labour MP for Sefton Central, Bill Esterson backs Save Rimrose Valley


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has become a shadow road minister in the Labour Party reshuffle, offering a huge boost to the Save Rimrose Valley campaign.

Mr Esterson is a supporter of the campaign which is opposed to the construction of a new £250m dual carriageway close to the Port of Liverpool. Polls indicate a likely Labour victory in the next General Election and that could mean the scheme is scrapped.

Save Rimrose Valley was formed after National Highways first unveiled plans for the Port of Liverpool Access Road in 2017. It is designed to alleviate congestion on Dunningsbridge Road.

It would see Rimrose Valley Country Park cut in half by the proposed A5036 Princess Way. However, the scheme has been beset by delays. And in March this year Transport Secretary, Mark Harper further delayed the project.

He has moved it into the next period of Road Investment Strategy projects, collectively known as RIS3, to be developed between 2025 and 2030.

However, Save Rimrose Valley campaigners believe they need to keep pushing to try to kill the project once and for all.

In August campaigners walked six miles in the rain to the headquarters of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in Liverpool city centre. 

Wirral councillor Steve Foulkes, chair of the Combined Authority’s Transport Committee addressed the group outside on Mann Island. He told them the decision about the road should be made locally.

Mr Esterson has repeatedly called for the scheme to be scrapped and for improved rail links to be delivered instead.

He has also highlighted the disparity between the life expectancy of those living alongside the existing port access corridor in fellow MP Peter Dowd’s neighbouring Bootle constituency, and his own.


Combined Authority
Cllr Steve Foulkes addresses members of Save Rimrose Valley at Mann Island


Spokesperson for Save Rimrose Valley, Stuart Bennett, said: “We would like to offer our congratulations to Bill for this promotion. He has backed our campaign from the very beginning.

“He understands the need to protect vital green spaces such as Rimrose Valley, while also improving conditions for those living along the existing Port of Liverpool Access route.

READ MORE: ‘Merseyside needs more devolution’ says Lord Heseltine

“The current Government has been tone deaf to our calls to put forward better alternatives. This appointment represents an exciting opportunity to deliver a genuinely progressive and sustainable solution to port access right here in Liverpool.

“We also hope that Bill’s knowledge will bring some much-needed scrutiny to the government’s roadbuilding plans across England and a complete rethink on the role of National Highways in an era of climate emergency.”

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