Cuadrilla is proposing to use solid acoustic barriers, up to 14m high, to reduce noise from its planned fracking sites in the Fylde area of Lancashire.
In revised information for planners, the company says it will use a 4m high barrier around the edge of the proposed sites at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road. These would be in place during drilling, fracking, initial flow testing and the extended flow testing of up to four wells at each site.
Another barrier, of 10-14m high, would enclose the rigs during drilling operations. And during fracking, barriers ranging in height from 5.5m-10m would surround the pumping equipment.
Lancashire County Council is currently consulting on these and other measures proposed by Cuadrilla. They are among the company’s responses to the recommendation by planning officers in January to refuse both applications.
The officers said night-time background noise at the proposed operations at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road would have adverse effects on the health and quality of life on nearby residents. They also said increased traffic generated by the proposal at Roseacre Wood would have a severe impact on existing road users and road safety.
In a document on noise mitigation submitted to the council, Cuadrilla said the measures would reduce noise at both sites to a level below Worth Health Organisation night noise guidelines. Cuadrilla’s noise mitigation document
Cuadrilla’s consultant’s Arup, had identified “significant adverse visual effects” of both sites at a number of different viewpoints.
The acoustic barriers have not made this worse, Arup said, but they have changed the nature of the impact. This was because see-through perimeter security fencing would be replaced by solid barriers and the lattice-structure of the rigs would be masked by the acoustic barriers surrounding them.
At Preston New Road, Arup said there would be significant adverse visual effects at seven out of 16 viewpoints. A Roseacre Wood, there was a significant adverse effect at 11 of 18 viewpoints.
Cuadrilla has agreed to reduce the maximum height of the rigs at both sites from 53m to 35m. A review of the landscape impacts by Arup has concluded that the reduction in rig height and the acoustic barriers would make no difference to the impact on the landscape. But a 35m rig would still result in significant adverse visual effects.
Cuadrilla has also submitted a revised traffic management plan for Roseacre Wood, in response to planning officers’ concerns.
This would route heavy goods vehicle (HGV) traffic to the proposed site through the Defence High Frequency Communications Service Inskip site, avoiding the village of Wharles. This route would be used for all phases of the project, apart from the extended flow test.
The plan assumes a maximum of 50 two-way HGV movements per day for up to 12 weeks of the six-year proposed project. The revised route currently sees 100 HGV movements a day, Cuadrilla has calculated. Outside the peak, the plan assumes an average of nine HGV movements a day.
The revised traffic management plan acknowledges that large vehicles may straddle the centre line of the road on some bends along the revised route. It requires HGVs to approach three bends with caution. Five passing places are also proposed for one section of the revised route.
But the plan said the new route would minimise the number of homes affect “as far as is practical” and affect the least number of properties. It also has what it describes as “a minor impact” on the national cycle route, where it crosses Treales Road. Traffic Management Plan – Roseacre Wood
The public consultation on these revisions to tackle noise and traffic is now half way through. The deadline for comments is Friday 17th April. Lancashire County Council has said it will make a decision on both planning applications by the end of this month.