Planners in Preston are recommending the city council objects to Cuadrilla’s application to frack up to four wells at Roseacre in the Fylde area of Lancashire because of concerns about traffic.
And there are suggestions that Lancashire County Council’s Highways officers are still worried that lorries travelling to the site would cause congestion and threaten road safety.
In a report to councillors, Preston’s Director of Development said the proposed lorry route could cause severe traffic and road safety problems. It would also not improve high levels of air pollution at a key road junction.
“The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the development proposals would not prejudice the safe, efficient and convenient movement of all highway users and corridors”, the report said.
Preston City Council has been asked to comment on the application. Its planning committee will discuss the proposal at a meeting on Thursday (4th June 2015). The final decision will be made by Lancashire County Council later this month.
The Preston City Council report said lorries travelling to the site at Roseacre Wood would leave the A6 at the Broughton Crossroads and use the B5269 through Woodplumpton. The route was proposed by Cuadrilla in January as an alternative after Lancashire County Council planners recommended refusal of the application, partly on traffic grounds.
“This route is likely to have potentially severe adverse effects on the operation of the highway network in terms of traffic disruption and highway safety and would not improve the high levels of air pollution in the Broughton Air Quality Management Area”, the report said.
Woodplumpton and Broughton Parish Councils have also objected to the application on traffic grounds. And the planners’ report suggested that Lancashire Highways Authority remains concerned about the impact of the vehicles visiting the site on traffic flows, safety and vulnerable road users.
“County Highways concludes that the latest information does not overcome concerns previously raised”.
The report said County Highways had noted 25 points of concern on the inbound route, including junctions with other roads, a rail and canal bridge and access to properties. The report also said County Highways were concerned about the accuracy of Cuadrilla’s figures for existing and future traffic.
In a section of the report headed County Highways, it said:
“The measures described do not provide any certainly that a comprehensive package can or will be delivered that also ensures that the network can be safely managed without detriment to existing users during the whole project.
“It is still considered that the increase in traffic, particularly HGV movements would be severe, there would be a material impact on existing road users, particularly vulnerable road users and overall highway safety of which the potential is considered severe and therefore it is not possible to support this application.”
Cuadrilla’s application is for six years, during which the company would drill, frack and test up to four wells. Cuadrilla has made a similar application for a site at Preston New Road, which will also be decided at the end of the month.
Preston City Council planners have not recommended objection to another Cuadrilla application for a monitoring station at Roseacre.