Sefton MP Bill Esterson said "the fight goes on" to save Rimrose Valley Country Park after he attended a ceremony where a constituent married a tree.
Kate Cunningham, who says she will change her name to Kate Elder following the ceremony, married the tree on Saturday (September 7) in front of more than 100 supporters to highlight opposition to a £250m road that is planned to be built through the valley.
MP Bill Esterson attended the event and said that the plan to build the road was "wrong" and that he would continue to put pressure on the government to overturn the decision.
He said: "I was thrilled to see so many people supporting Kate Cunningham and what a fantastic way to highlight this important campaign. Enormous credit goes to the Rimrose Valley Friends for their hard work. The fight goes on to stop the government building this road. We are facing a climate crisis and the answer is not putting more trucks onto the roads. The answer lies in greener alternatives like expanding capacity to take freight by rail. If this was near London, the government would build a tunnel. We need a huge investment in rail across the North not short sighted increases in road traffic, which will only increase harmful roadside emissions and add to global warming.
"Roadside emissions in some parts of Sefton are at dangerous levels already and the last thing we need is to make that worse."
The "wedding" took place near a new wildflower meadow in the park. The ceremony was conducted by local actor, musician, and poet, Davy Edge.
Kate, a mum of two from Melling, wore an olive green dress and green pumps.
The controversial new road, which was announced by Highways England and has been subject to an unsuccessful judicial review challenge by Sefton Council, is designed to ease congestion on the current Dunningsbridge Road route from the Port of Liverpool.
Mr Esterson said: "The wildflower meadow at Rimrose Valley is an excellent example of how we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and help stop global warming. It's a very simple example of carbon capture and storage. We should be doing more to promote schemes like the meadow and not building roads which undermine the efforts of hard working campaigners like the Rimrose Valley Friends.
"The air quality for those living near the Port and on Dunningsbridge Road is some of the worst in the country. Adding to the traffic levels on Dunningsbridge Road would have made matters worse but that doesn’t
mean the answer is to build a road through Rimrose Valley.
"Throughout this process residents have made it
clear they do not want their countryside destroyed for the sake of a new link to the Port of Liverpool.
"Why isn’t the government even considering rail? If we are serious about tackling climate change, we should be moving freight onto the railways rather than just considering extra roads.
"The answer should be new railways but this government simply isn’t interested. Extra lorries from a new road through Rimrose Valley will just add to the congestion on our motorway network as well as increasing air
“The Conservatives’ own air quality strategy shows that roadside emissions are the biggest problem for public health. The last thing that a government should be doing is adding to the damage to the health of its citizens.
“It seems that this government isn’t bothered about health or the environment.
"It will take a Labour government to put the right levels of
infrastructure investment in road and rail into our region. Meantime, I fully support the campaign against the road and the judicial review by Sefton Council.
Congratulations to the Rimrose Valley Friends on all their hard work and to Kate on her wedding!"
Pics: Bill Esterson MP with bride Kate and Davy Edge at the ceremony in Rimrose Valley Park; a protest banner at the park