(Photo above from Save Oglet Shore & Greenbelt)
By Ritchie Hunter
While we’ve all been preoccupied with Covid, councils and companies have used this time to intensify developments that won’t help our air quality. Here’s three:
John Lennon Airport
Despite the fact that there is no future in transatlantic flights from Liverpool, the city council have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to widen roads as part of airport expansion plans. This includes extra taxi ways and a massive area covered in concrete for warehousing.
This development will have a destructive effect on Oglet shore, which is one of the few areas of green space for community and wildlife health and well-being in the Speke area.
In August 2020 Steve Rotheram described the airport as a “vital strategic infrastructure asset for the city region”. The combined authority then gave Peel Holdings £34m to mitigate losses from Covid, despite Peel Holdings being worth £2.3b, and their boss John Whittaker a tax dodger. [See here: https://www.catalystmedia.org.uk/]
The long running campaign to safeguard this belt of open space has been dealt a blow by Liverpool City Region’s bid for Freeport status. On 22 January 2021 the combined authority meeting rubber stamped the proposal, despite arguments put by Ian Maher, leader of Sefton Council, who objected on the grounds of the potential impact on air quality and congestion.
Peel Ports are pushing for a wider interpretation of ‘Freeport’, or ‘Sleaze ports’ as they are now called. In PR information they say: “In the past, a Freeport had to be a physical port’ with a fence round it’ but now because of technology, pockets of land not physically connected to a port can be part of a Freeport.” Obviously Peel see this new interpretation as a way to lend weight to their plans for a by-pass through Rimrose Valley.
Work to remediate this former landfill site ready for a housing development is underway.
Liverpool City Council have spent £12m on the site, but only received a grant of £10m from the government to sort out the land. It has been estimated that it could cost £29m, more if further remediation is carried out. [See here: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/]
The council are desperate to see progress towards the plan to build 1400 luxury homes on the site so that they can get a return on expenditure. The company contracted to do this work Vinci is an anti-union, tax dodging construction giant, known to have ‘Blacklisted’ workers. [See here: https://www.catalystmedia.org.uk/]
Treating landfill is dangerous and costly and needs to be done with sensitivity. Cutting corners could release toxic chemicals and compromise the air quality of local residents and visitors to the gardens. It could also lead to long-term health problems for anyone living on or near the site.
We need all the green space we have now, and more, if we are to keep fit and healthy. Developments that reduce our ability to breathe should be stopped, and proper long-term eco-designs considered.