Who said what at today’s fracking inquiry? Key points on traffic and landscape

Balcombe,West Sussex, UK Anti Fracking Environmental Camp ..24th

Photo: David Burr

No reason to refuse Roseacre appeal on traffic, says Cuadrilla

Cuadrilla told the public inquiry into its fracking plans in Lancashire that lorries traveling to the Roseacre Wood site would not make the roads unsafe.

Lancashire County Council had refused the application in June last year because it said there would be a serious impact on the safety of road users.

But the company’s traffic expert, Johnny Ojeil, told today’s hearing  (Tuesday 16th February 2016)

“I conclude with regard to traffic impacts that … there is no valid reason for refusal of the appeal.”

Mr Ojeil also told the inquiry:

  • Five new passing places, three of them 5.5m wide, would allow lorries travelling in opposite directions to be able to pass each other on Dagger Road.
  • Lorries will be able to park on a layby on the A583 before heading towards Roseacre
  • Cuadrilla has dropped the alternative route through Broughton
  • Total lorry movements will be capped at 50 two-way (25 in and 25 out) a day. This peak will be for 12 a weeks across the whole of the project
  • A traffic management plan will limit speed limits for lorries.

Opponents of the Roseacre Wood scheme dispute Mr Ojeil’s evidence. They will cross-examine him tomorrow.

Worst case: rigs, sand silo and flare on site together

Cuadrilla’s landscape witness, Andrew Tempany, accepted that the proposed fracking sites could have several rigs, a sand silo and a 10m flare stack on  site at the same time.

Cross-examined by Robin Green for Roseacre residents, he agreed that the worst case scenario could see the site housing the drilling rig, a workover or service rig and a coiled tubing rig, as well as other major equipment.

Mr Tempany, questioned later by Cuadrilla’s barrister, said the three rigs would not be on site at the same time.

Cuadrilla’s work programme shows that in quarter 3 of year 2, the company proposes to:

  • Drill well 3: drilling rig up to 53m
  • Frack well 2: 36m coiled tubing rig and sand silo
  • Carry out initial flow tests on wells 1 and 2: 36m workover or service rigs and 10m flare

The work programme shows two periods of overlap:

  • Initial flow test of wells 1 and 2 and drilling of well 3
  • Initial flow test of well 1 and fracturing of well 2

Other key points from landscape evidence

“Minor impact” Mr Tempany said the Roseacre Wood fracking plan would have “a minor impact on the character of the landscape”. To laughter from the hall, Robin Green, for Roseacre residents said: “That is astonishing”.

Mr Tempany said the part of the field not occupied by the frarcking site would remain “a rural field”. But pushed by Mr Green he accepted that “in perception terms” people would “experience” lighting, noise and the industrial appearance of the Roseace site.

Colour condition Cuadrilla rejected a condition setting the colour of the drilling rig. It said it might need to hire the rig and traditionally they are painted in the owner’s colour.

Lighting Cuadrilla did not take into account lighting in the assessment of the effects on landscape character. Mr Tempany accepted there were no other significant or similar light sources around Roseacre like those proposed by Cuadrilla at its fracking site.

Different rigs Cuadrilla maintained there would be no difference in landscape impacts between  53m and 36m drilling rigs.

Best practice Cuadrilla’s landscape witness accepted that the company’s assessment on landscape character had not followed best practice. But, questioned by the company’s barrister, Andrew Tempany said a different methodology wouldn’t make much difference.

This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s  Rig Watch project.  Rig Watch receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

3 replies »

  1. Has the question of RADON gas been raised at this enquiry? The Environment Agency tend to dismiss this item as they do not consider it to meet their specifications for NORM. However, it a radioactive gas released along with shale gas and decays into Polonium – a radioactive metalloid and other radioactive “Daughters of Radon”.

  2. 5 new passing places constructed to allow HGVs to pass numerous times per day – no doubt in what is a quiet and peaceful country road – says it all really doesn’t it. The changes, scars and industrialisation of the landscape starts with the basics and then the rest just adds to it.

  3. See FOE evidence by Watson about wastes and Radon and a member of the public will be speaking about Radon when the public slots take place.

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