People in a village on the revised lorry route to Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking site at Roseacre Wood are meeting tonight (Tuesday) to plan their campaign against the company’s plans.
They describe the new route, proposed by Cuadrilla to overcome planners’ objections, as “ludicrous”. It requires lorries to turn left at an already congested and unsuitable crossroads in Broughton and then along narrow roads past two schools and a kindergarten, the campaigners say.
Cuadrilla’s proposal to Lancashire County Council follows the recommendation by planners in January to refuse the planning application because increased traffic generated by the site would have an unacceptable impact on other road users.
The company has now proposed to separate in and outbound traffic to Roseacre Wood. HGVs arriving at the site would leave junction 1 of the M55 and travel along the A6 and B5269 through Broughton and Woodplumpton.
People in Broughton are concerned that up to 25 HGVs a day will make the sharp left turn from the A6 onto the B5269 in the village
Mike Cotton, an objector to the route, said the crossroads was already a bottleneck. “To add this extra traffic as well would be ludicrous.”
He said the crossroads was too tight for large lorries to make a left turn. “You cannot actually do that turn with a six-axle vehicle. A lorry turning left would have to stop all the traffic to go into the right hand lane. The result would be a mile long queue backing up at the traffic lights.”
Mr Cotton said the route through Broughton was also unsuitable because it passed the local infant school and Broughton High School, as well as a kindergarten and an ambulance station.
In places, he said, the roads from Broughton to Roseacre were very narrow and in places two lorries could not pass side by side. “The roads are not wide enough for large vehicles to meet and pass. At the moment, if a lorry meets a tractor coming the other way it has to go onto the soft kerb.”
Cuadrilla has applied for planning permission to drill, frack and test up to four wells at Roseacre Wood. Its original plan routed HGVs from the M55 on to the A583 and then north at Clifton to Roseacre Wood. But planners were concerned about the volume of traffic going through the village of Wharles. The company now proposes to use this route for outbound HGVs and bypass Wharles during most of the proposed phases of work by going through the Defence High Frequency Communications Service Inskip site.
Cuadrilla has estimated that during the exploratory and testing phase there would be a maximum of 25 HGVs a day making the return journey from the motorway to Roseacre Wood. The peak period would last for up to 12 weeks, though this period would not be continuous.
A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “We believe that either of the two routes, if managed in accordance with the approach and measures set out in the traffic management plans (TMPs), would not have any significant impacts on the rural highway network and existing road users.
“Through the safety audit, the findings of which are set out within the TMPs, it has also been demonstrated that there are no overall reduction in highway safety from HGVs using either of the route.”
But Mr Cotton said local people are concerned about the impact of traffic during the exploratory phase. And he feared the number of vehicles would be far higher if the site went into production.
He said tonight’s meeting expected to see at least 40 people but “it could be a lot more”. He said some people opposed fracking itself, while others were concerned about the impact of the traffic route.
The meeting is at the Broughton Inn at 7pm tonight (Tuesday 7th April).