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Environmental mitigation for local road schemes A5758 Broom’s Cross Road

08 April, Bootle

On the afternoon of Friday 08 April, a group of CIEEM members from North West England took advantage of a pleasant spring day to visit the recently opened A5758 Broom’s Cross Road, just to the north of Liverpool. The visit was hosted by Stephen Birch, Sefton Council’s Transport Planning Manager, on behalf of CIEEM’s North West England Section.

The 4.5km long A5758 Broom’s Cross Road opened to traffic in August 2015 and was designed to provide a local bypass of the communities of Thornton and Netherton, to reduce congestion, provide a faster, more direct link to the motorway network and improve local environmental improvements along that busy corridor. Although the scheme did not have any major environmental impacts associated with it, a wide range of environmental mitigation measures were implemented, typical of what is now expected of new road schemes. The event provided the opportunity to see how the environmental mitigation measures had been implemented on the ground.

Braving the Aintree Ladies’ Day traffic, 19 ecologists, plus 1 young prospective Member, made their way to Sefton Council’s offices in Bootle, Merseyside. After a brief introduction to the scheme and some off the issues encountered during the planning and construction stages, lifts were arranged for everyone and a convoy made its way out to the Netherton end of the new road. The planned parking arrangements were somewhat disrupted by discovering several Ladies’ Day coaches parked up in the pre-planned stopping point. However, everyone managed to find a space and the group walked the short distance to the new road.

The first stage of the visit included a look at some of the landscape planting, one of the drainage attenuation ponds, the main culverted watercourse on the scheme and some of the new footpaths provided to link up the existing rights of way network. The questions and discussions ranged from bats to rats and barn owls to red squirrels.

After returning to the cars and a short trip to the other end of the road at Thornton, the group were able to visit the new ponds and planned wildlife habitat area alongside the road. The reason for the long and apparently unconnected brick wall along that section of the road was explained (you’ll have to ask someone who went !) and the orderly crocodile of ecologists then made its way to visit the site of Broom’s Cross, a mediaeval stone cross from which the name of the new road was taken. Only the base of the original cross remains, but it is a scheduled monument. On the way there, the Pegasus crossing, which provides a signal controlled crossing point for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians, with special features for the equestrians, probably generated more interest than the cross-base, as most people had not seen a Pegasus before.

The final treat of the day was a drive along the new road itself on the return to Bootle. No-one got lost or injured or wet and the consensus was that a good afternoon had been enjoyed by all. Maybe a return in 3-4 years or so to see how the planting and habitat has developed could be the basis of a future NW CIEEM event!

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