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Manchester Ship Canal
Peel Holdings have announced a £500m investment in the North West as part of the Mersey Ports Masterplan. The plan involves the creation or refurbishment of 6 ports along the length of the Mersey Estuary and Manchester Ship Canal, including the creation of a new Port Warrington near Moore and the refurbishment of Port Salford.
You can read the full consultation document here
Peel's plans should be welcomed in priniciple. The injection of such a large amount of investment in North West infrastructure will give a massive boost to the North West economy and will create hundreds of jobs. By investing heavily in shipping, Peel will encourage a modal shift in freight transportation, shifting large amounts of freight from Britain's roads onto boats.
However, an increased volume of traffic using the Manchester Ship Canal between Runcorn and Salford will have detrimental effect that is unique to Warrington. Of the 6 "swing" bridges along the length of the Canal, 4 are in Warrington, including all three of the bridges which carry major roads. If traffic along the Canal increases, the number of bridge swings will also increase causing chaos on the roads of south Warrington.
When formulating their final plans, Peel need to be sensitive to the effect that their plans will have on Warringotn. David has worked closely with local Borough and Parish Councillors from Stockton Heath, Walton and Appleton to make sure that Peel are fully aware of this problem.
In their interim consultation report, Peel have recognised this issue and have already put forward a number of suggestions including the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Council, better scheduling of maintenance work and the suspension of ship movements during particularly busy periods.
In November, David forced a debate in the Commons on the Ship Canal. You can read David's speech here or watch it below: