Sefton Highways England

Sefton loses judicial review on port access route

Neil Tague

Sefton Council has lost its legal fight to order Highways England to re-consult on proposals to ease traffic on the A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road by building a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley country park.

Dunnings Bridge Road is the main route from the motorway network through South Sefton to the Port of Liverpool, and its congestion has long been a point of contention. But when consulting on its port access project, HE only considered two options, the £250m Rimrose route and a revamped Dunnings Bridge Road.

Following a High Court hearing in Manchester on October 23, a judgement has been issued dismissing the application, with Mr Justice Kerr ruling that he would not order Highways England to re-open consultation.

Opposition was first mounted when the Rimrose scheme emerged as a contender in 2015, with thousands signing a petition against, but in August 2017, Highways England decided after consultation that Rimrose would be pursued as its preferred option.

A scoping document was released in January this year detailing the scheme, on which Arcadis is HE’s primary advisor, with responsibilities including design, EIA, traffic modelling and stakeholder engagement.

The route is three miles long, and is a bypass through the Rimrose Valley area linking the Princess Way section of the A5036 to the south and Broom’s Cross Road to the north, including new junctions, bridges and footbridges.

It also includes an upgrade to dual carriageway on Broom’s Cross Road between the new bypass and the Switch Island Interchange, and de-trunking of the existing A5036 between the Switch Island Interchange and the Princess Way section of the A5036. The scheme is intended to take freight away from residential areas on the congested A5036.

Sefton had been granted an application for judicial review in February this year, but the High Court has now ruled in favour of Highways England.

Sefton believe that the crux of the matter rests in Government and Highways England failing to make adequate financial provision for the full range of options to be explored, including a tunnel. The judge agreed that the judicial review in itself was a valid challenge, but said that the budget for the scheme was a political decision, rather than a decision for the courts

Cllr Ian Maher, leader of Sefton Council, said: “I’m really disappointed by this decision and I will be seeking legal advice to see if there’s anything else we can do as I firmly believe that the tunnel option is the only option which could balance the need for improved access to the port with the needs of the local community.

“Their failure to include the tunnel as an option in the consultation process has deprived our residents of the opportunity to express a view. It is also completely at odds with the Government’s agenda to improve air quality, and is a slap in the face for local residents who suffer the resulting implications including the loss of a much loved urban green space.”

In a familiar refrain, Government spending in the South East was cited by Maher, who described the investment in a Thames tunnel between Essex and Kent and “smacking of double standards”. That scheme, it should be noted, is proposed as a toll route linking the M2 and M25, potentially being a 14.5m road with a 2.5m tunnel section.

Maher concluded: “In his judgement Mr Justice Kerr said the scheme and allocated finances was ultimately a political decision, so I call on the Government to now show some steel and really reconsider this, make the money available as they have done in the South and start to put the health and wellbeing of our communities first.”

Your Comments

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“Government wants to exploit Liverpool’s assets, doesn’t want to pay a fair price or invest anything more than the bare minimum” shocker.

By Mike

Excellent news. The tunnel option was pie in the sky. Sefton Council were merely playing to the crowd.

Need now to crack on and get the access road built. The HGV traffic volumes on Dunnings Bridge Road are absolutely horrendous.


Good! Sefton Council should stop these nonsensical interventions! The new road will be a bypass for Crosby and can take traffic off Moore Lane if they only work with Highways England! Will make life better for thousands of people in Crosby as well as Litherland. And clearly the route to the Port which is the main driver for this will boost our economy. This bypass is well overdue it should have been started in the 1070s when the container port was built. A proper city region authority would have built this 30 years ago!

By Roscoe

Bloody good!!!!


Sefton Council should stop these nonsensical interventions? So the democratically elected mouthpieces of the Oiks should shut up! And these things should be decided by the Ministry of Roads in Moscow (oops! I mean London) Well, they are happy to build roads, even over parks. And the economic benefit of Liverpool Dock traffic for Liverpool? The PR (propaganda) speakers at Peel Ports say it is automated and trucks are turned around in 40 mins. So how do Liverpool folk benefit? Is Peel Ports paying for this road? I must be too daft to understand. P.S. I am not a robot.

By James Hayes

The traffic problems in Crosby and Litherland are horrendous. You can’t get out of many of the streets on Moor Lane, and try changing lanes on Dunnings Bridge Road, you take your life into your hands! It’s NIMBYism! If you explained to people how traffic could be reduced in these areas they’d bite your hands off for the bypass. My Mum lives in the Rimrose Valley area. It’s really wide. You should be pressing Highways England for proper screening and you’ll hardly know it’s there. Will be a lot safer for the kids coming out of schools in Crosby and Litherland when it’s built!

By Roscoe

Apparently a tunnel for Liverpool, for access to a facility of national importance, through a part of the city which contains around half a million people, with already one of the lowest levels of green space per person, is “pie in the sky”. Or poor value for money, as the Highways England would pronounce.


“In 2014 it had an annual average daily flow (AADF) of 39,309 vehicles, 3,425 of which were HGVs.”

Spend: £163m to £335m NO TUNNEL


“Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) of 24,000 vehicles.”

Spend: £1.6 billion TUNNEL

Now £1.6bn to build a tunnel to relieve 24k of traffic for an economically and environmentally important purpose is good value in my book. So it goes without saying that spending a billion or so for double the traffic for Liverpool is outstanding value.

Noting that the judge only said that there could not be a ruling on political matters, I hope that the city’s leaders take the political message sent for what it is and act accordingly.

It’s a derisory spend which is purely abstractive from our city. One set of people get their air quality and quality of life considered an important factor. The other set of people are in Liverpool, where the only consideration is how the UK can exploit Liverpool’s resources at minimal cost.

By Mike

Sefton Councillairs are joke to even put this on the table at this late. They have not considered the residents who live along the A5036. They knew quite well that this would be objected, yet they continued with this appeal at the expense of the residents of Sefton. Shame on you all.