Peel Holdings Join Economic Experts in Backing Case for New Bridge
Peel Holdings has provided strong support for the proposal to build a new bridge over the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes in a letter to the inquiry into the project.
In a letter to the inspector, Peter Nears, the Strategic Planning Director of Peel Holdings, which operates the Mersey Docks and Harbour, the Manchester Ship Canal and Liverpool John Lennon Airport, says: “The Mersey Gateway bridge will greatly enhance the region’s road network, cut congestion at a critical crossing point of the River Mersey and improve accessibility across Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. It is of great strategic importance to the performance and growth of the North West’s economy.”
As well as supporting the project, the letter to the inspector lays out Peel Holdings’ plans for investing in its key facilities across the region. This includes:
- an Airport Master Plan that shows employment levels at John Lennon Airport and related employers rising from just over 3,000 today to 9,400 people by 2030
- significant growth projected at the Port of Liverpool following investment in new capacity at the site development of the Liverpool SuperPort, a concept which has now been adopted by the Mersey Partnership.
At the same time, economic experts working with Halton Borough Council have reinforced the benefits the Mersey Gateway Project will bring to the area at the public inquiry into the project.
After giving evidence during cross-examination sessions at the inquiry, Graham Russell, the author of the in-depth Wider Economic Impact Report into the project, said: “We have taken a very robust and cautious approach to assessing and quantifying the new jobs and other benefits that this project can bring and we are confident in the accuracy of our approach. There is a very strong argument to say that the eventual jobs figure created will be even higher, and the plans that Peel Holdings is developing should be a core part of this.”
The Wider Economic Impact Report (WEIR) predicts that the project will create:
- 4,640 permanent new jobs as a result of the operation of the Mersey Gateway, regeneration activity and inward investment, and
- 470 ten-year equivalent temporary jobs generated in the north west region through the construction of the Mersey Gateway. There may be up to 500 people employed at the peak of construction.