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Defending the North West Green Belt

The rural tranquillity of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Lydiate The rural tranquillity of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Lydiate © Andrew Farquhar

Plans to build a new marina on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Lydiate have capsized after opposition from local people, parish councilors and CPRE Sefton District Group.

The planning inspector backed Sefton Council’s original decision to turn down the scheme, noting that the supposed economic benefits had been questioned by residents. The proposed site lay within the area’s Green Belt and would have led to the loss of high quality farmland alongside the canal.

Local MP Bill Esterson praised CPRE’s Des Brennan for arguing persuasively that the marina would be an inappropriate use of designated Green Belt land. Mr Esterson said: "Des Brennan from the CPRE in Sefton gave an excellent presentation [to a public meeting attended by over 140 local people], which may well have swung the decision in favour of the residents. I would pay tribute to Des and his colleagues for the sterling work which they did on this planning application to protect the green belt in Sefton."

Since the Marina success, CPRE Sefton have been monitoring plans to expand the Port of Liverpool. While welcoming much needed investement for the area, CPRE campaigner Nick Thompson has been highlighting the importance of protecting the wildlife of Seaforth Nature Reserve. Nick and the Branch have been feeding their views into Peel Port's consultation process by identifying sites for new nature reserves and ways of moving freight traffic from roads to rail and canals.

North West Green Belt outside Liverpool                       © Phil Brandwood

Development proposals for ports and canals in the North West continue to be a challenge for CPRE's regional campaigner, Andy Yuille. Andy would welcome greater use of the Manchester Ship Canal for freight, and thinks there is potential to develop ports without encroaching on greenfield land. CPRE hope that by redeveloping derelict areas and existing buildings, much of the 105 acres of land identified for development by the Mersey Ports Masterplan might be saved.

The port and canal developments are part of the “Atlantic Gateway” plan to accelerate economic growth across the Manchester and Liverpool City Regions. Andy and his fellow campaigners want to ensure existing infrastructure and derelict sites are put to best use to drive the regeneration of urban areas while protecting the North West Green Belt - a provider of vital environmental services the region's cities rely on: attractive landscapes, wildlife-rich habitats, places for recreation, local food, fresh water, woodland, improved air quality, flood management and carbon storage.

When condsidering the importance of these attributes, it is reassuring to leave the last word to Bill Esterson MP: "The CPRE are working hard to protect the green belt and this decision must give everyone some confidence that developers can be resisted."

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Ask your MP to protect your local countryside

Find out more
North West Green Belt: CPRE Factsheet (see page 17)

Using existing infrastructure and derelict sites can drive the regeneration of urban areas while protecting the North West Green Belt

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