Council leader calls for pace in flood water fatal investigation

The leader of Liverpool Council has called for pace in the investigation around the tragic death of a couple trapped in flood water in Mossley Hill last month.

Elaine and Philip Marco, 75 and 77 respectively, died after their black Mercedes car became submerged in flood water below a railway bridge on 26 August.

Despite the best efforts of emergency services, the much-loved members of the Jewish community were pronounced dead at hospital.

After a site visit to Queens Drive on Monday, Cllr Liam Robinson said the city council would implement any recommendations made following the investigations around the Marcos’ death “no ifs, no buts” and called on partner agencies involved to make a “pacy intervention” to ensure the road could reopen.

Cllr Robinson, alongside cabinet colleague Cllr Dan Barrington, ward member and deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Richard Kemp and Kim Johnson, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, visited the site as work continues to establish what caused the mass of flood water to pool under the bridge almost a month ago.

Officials from Liverpool Council and partner agencies have been on site since Merseyside Police relinquished control of the location to undertake their work.

Cllr Robinson said, “I’m very conscious not to jump the gun in terms of what the outcomes and recommendations of that investigation will be, but what I can confirm is any recommendations that come out of that which are in the purview of the council we will definitely implement those, no ifs, no buts.

“We’ll use all the influence available to us, that if there are recommendations to other organisations and agencies like United Utilities or Network Rail, we will pursue that to make sure that is done.

“One of the things I am doing off the back of this morning’s visit is writing to United Utilities and Network Rail, to ask for their pacy intervention on the investigation so we can really move forward and understand what we need to do to make the area safe and make sure those instances can’t be repeated and ultimately we can hopefully reopen the road and go back to how things need to be.”

Some have expressed frustration at the perceived slow nature of the work and have called for answers from the city council. In a statement last week, the authority said, “Huyton Asphalt, working on behalf of Liverpool City Council, are currently undertaking trial holes at a number of locations where the flooding occurred as part of the investigations into the cause of the flooding. It is expected that these checks will be completed by the weekend. Initial findings have shown water seeping from United Utilities pipes. 

“The excavated holes are now being checked, to assess their stability.” Following the rush of water last month, the underlying ground on Queens Drive remains saturated, with trial holes said to be continuously filling with water. 

The statement added, “United Utilities have been informed of a small water leak on one of their fresh water supplies. This is being programmed in for repair and will have to be completed before the road is resurfaced.

“As part of the road closure, gully replacements along the road have been installed, which is usual practice when a road is to be resurfaced.” United Utilities have remained on site to continue with their investigations, which are progressing slowly as the council said it is not currently possible to lower a camera into the sewer successfully because of water levels within the pipes. 

When running water is above a certain height within the sewer, potential issues cannot be clearly identified by the camera. 

Network Rail will also be undertaking a structural inspection of the rail bridge and will investigate water coming from the structure, and drainage. The council repeated its apology to residents for the delay but said the incident needed to be fully investigated.

The statement added, “We apologise for any disruption that these necessary diversions are causing for residents, due to the need to ensure that the full causes and implications of this incident are expertly analysed.”

Image: Cllr Liam Robinson (R) with Cllr Dan Barrington and Kim Johnson MP at the site on Queens Drive. Source: Richard Kemp/X

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