Government needs to put safety first at Switch Island, says local MP
Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson has again called for urgent changes to Switch Island after a “catalogue of serious accidents “at the busy motorway junction. This follows a letter from the Transport Minister, which he says, simply didn't go far enough and a further letter, "boasting" of work being carried out on the M25, which of course is of little interest to most people in Aintree, Maghull, Crosby or Formby.
Bill Esterson MP had written to the Transport Secretary to demand action after the latest series of accidents which followed the opening of the new Broomes Cross Road or Thornton by-pass. This is after he raised the matter in parliament after receiving another letter from the minister, whichbizarrely trumpeted the importance of investing in the M25 motorway in Surrey.
But the answer from the Minister of State, State John Hayes said that work at Switch Island would only start in 2018 and then only if it delivered value for money. Bill Esterson MP said that the Conservative government had made clear it was only too happy to spend money in the South East of England but was clearly reluctant to do so in the North West. The MP also said that this was a safety matter and the no one could put a price on the cost of safety.
Bill Esterson MP said: “The government spends £289 per person on transport in the North West of England, whereas the figure is £1,859 in London and the South East. Since Broomes Cross Road opened, it has been crystal clear that Switch Island has become more confusing and that it has become more dangerous. The fact that the government admitted in a letter to me that the number of accidents is unacceptable shows this is true. I live near Switch Island and I know from experience how often drivers are confused by this junction. I have also seen the aftermath of some of the accidents first hand.
"When I wrote to the government, I asked for urgent action. So the response is disappointing in the least. To be told that work will only start next year and that it depends on being value for money simply isn't good enough. Then I receive a further letter telling about wonderful government plans for the M25 in Surrey and I start to think this government doesn't give a monkey's for Merseyside.
"It is time that the government spent similar amounts of money on transport across the country and stopped favouring the South East. Merseyside is missing out. Safety at Switch Island is missing out. The Conservative government has done the same on the railways where cross rail in London is being built while we still wait for decent investment in our railways from West to East, let alone from the Port of Liverpool. But Switch Island is a matter of safety and the Conservatives should remember that they cannot put a price on that safety. I shall be writing to the minister again and pressing him in parliament again to make the changes at Switch Island that are needed and to make them sooner rather than later. "
Bill Esterson is on 07903 270018