A campaign group opposing plans a new dual carriageway close to the Port of Liverpool claim to have unearthed a viable and zero carbon alternative to the scheme. Tony McDonough reports
Campaigners who oppose plans for a new dual carriageway close to the Port of Liverpool are putting forward an alternative they say could facilitate the expansion of the port without the need for the road.
People behind the Save Rimrose Valley campaign are suggesting an underground pipeline that could transport containers between the port and an inland hub next to the motorway network, meaning HGV’s would not have to go to the port itself.
The campaign was founded in 2017 shortly after Highways England unveiled a plan to upgrade the current A5036 Liverpool Port Access Road with a new dual carriageway. It would cut through the existing Rimrose Valley Country Park.
In August, hundreds of people came out for a public demonstration organised by the Save Rimrose Valley campaign. They delivered a letter to the port addressed to Peel Ports chief executive, Mark Whitworth, demanding the company withdraw its support for the road.
In response Mr Whitworth said the company was being unfairly targeted by the campaign, insisting the road plan was wholly a Highways Agency project that is mostly designed to alleviate congestion unrelated to the port, which has seen rapid expansion in recent times.
However, the campaigners believe the main aim of the road is to serve the expansion of the port and they have spoken to a Cambridgeshire-based company, Mole Solutions, which is behind the underground pipeline idea.
Campaigners claim initial findings have estimated that the cost of such a scheme would be comparable to road construction, with savings to be made on subsequent maintenance costs. Crucially, the technology is electrically powered and zero emission at point of use, meaning it tackles both air pollution and CO2 emissions.
Save Rimrose Valley campaigner, Stuart Bennett, said: “We are incredibly excited about Mole Solutions’ technology and the potential it has to be implemented right here in Sefton.
“Not only does it dismantle the case for constructing a new road; it would immediately improve living conditions for those living alongside the existing A5036 route. Everyone benefits, including Peel Ports.”
Mole Solution was interviewed for the campaign’s latest podcast and Stuart added: “We defy anyone to come away from listening to this interview without feeling positive about the future.”
Mole Solutions’ technical director, Stuart Prosser, added: “The port-city conflict is common across the globe. We believe we have come up with a solution. We want to help and both we and our delivery partners are ready to help.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work with Peel Ports, the Department for Transport and Sefton Council to develop and deliver a system fit for the 21st century and beyond.”
To hear the interview in full, search for ‘We Said No’ on your podcast platform.