Liverpool Express reveals an out-of-touch Council

You may have seen Liverpool Express, a booklet distributed by Liverpool City Council to residents. You can read it online.

As you would expect from a Council publication, it sings the praises of the Council.

Here I focus on the environmental claims, which are wildly misleading.

The environment is mentioned on Page 16. Here we are told:

2019 is the Year of the Environment across Liverpool City Region. Themes include connecting and engaging communities with nature, reducing waste and health and wellbeing… Plans in Liverpool include introducing new solar lighting and increasing the biodiversity of native wild flowers and plants along the waterfront green corridor to Otterspool as well as developing new cycle routes.

 

The Climate Strike pupils get it. Extinction Rebellion gets it. Other councils get it, and have produced Climate Emergency Budgets. But Liverpool City Council doesn’t get it.

Having a few ‘themes’ simply isn’t an appropriate response to the overwhelming scientific evidence that we have 12 years left to change things around. The scientific consensus is that we face increasingly chaotic weather, starvation, drought and wars over declining resources. ‘Native wild flowers and plants along the waterfront green corridor to Otterspool’ is hardly going to stop the extinction of species. It won’t even compensate for the destruction of biodiversity by the Council in other places.

An obvious example is the Oglet Shore, an important area for wildlife. The Council proposes to almost completely destroy it. The reason is explained on Pages 12-13:

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is a huge driver for growth in the city region… 2018 was a bumper year, with total annual passenger numbers breaking through the milestone 5 million mark… The airport has ambitious expansion plans for the future which, in turn, are absolutely integral to the ongoing growth of Liverpool.

This failure to do any joined-up thinking is astonishing. The booklet implies that the way to bring prosperity and produce good quality, well paid jobs is by having more and more people flying in and out of Liverpool. This is the old, destructive mentality. It contradicts both the scientific and the economic evidence. There are many ways we can improve prosperity for everyone without damaging the environment.

The airport expansion gets two pages in the booklet. The environment gets just one. But it is followed by a page on air quality:

In 2017, Mayor Joe Anderson laid out a vision to prioritise walking, cycling, electric vehicles and clean fuels to reduce the impact of air pollution.

Air quality is very poor in Liverpool. It certainly needs addressing. The state of the air is especially damaging to children. Yet this very same mayor, who apparently has this wonderful-sounding vision, a few years ago abolished the bus lanes.

A number of things can be done to improve air quality. The most important is to reduce the number of private cars in the city. To achieve this, we need much better public transport. This will involve bringing back bus lanes, but much more too. To make buses reliable and efficient, they need to be given priority, especially in high traffic areas like the city centre. We need to combine restrictions on private cars with much better public transport. Better planning could ensure that it becomes much more convenient to leave the car at home when shopping and going to work. Other European countries can do it; we could too.

In case there is any doubt about the Council’s real priorities, all is revealed on Page 19. There you will see a picture of the expensive planned development of Lime Street. The road space is to be dedicated entirely to motor traffic. There is to be no cycle route!

Green Party Councillor Tom Crone spotted this omission in a draft of the plan. He contacted Councillor Noakes, the Cabinet member responsible, to ask why. Councillor Noakes replied to say it was an oversight. This booklet shows that oversight has still not been corrected!

The booklet offers fine-sounding words about quality of life and the environment, but when we look at what they are actually spending money on, the old destructive process is continuing unchecked. On 2nd May, vote for better councillors.

Election imprint: promoted by D Teasdale on behalf of Liverpool Green Party and its candidates.