Who spoke today?
Cuadrilla’s traffic witness, Johnny Ojeil, of Arup, defended the proposed route for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to the Roseacre Wood fracking site.
He was questioned by the inquiry inspector, Wendy McKay, barristers for Lancashire County Council and Roseacre residents, and Cllr Peter Collins for Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council.
The inquiry heard that HGVs would leave the motorway at junction 3, join the A583 and travel through Clifton, along Dagger Road, Salwick Road, Inskip Road, through the Inskip defence site to Roseacre Road. HGVs heading back would use the same route.
What the opponents said about the route?
Cllr Peter Collins said the proposed route from Roseacre Wood to the A583 did not meet the selection principles. It should take HGVs on the most direct route to the strategic route network but the A583 was not part of the SRN. He said this made in “impracticable”. It was also longer and less direct than alternative routes, he said.
Mr Ojeil accepted the route did not connect with the strategic route network but this didn’t make it impracticable.
Severe impact on roads safety
A report by traffic engineer, Tom Hasty, prepared for Roseacre Awareness Group, said the HGVs would have a “severe impact” on road safety. Mr Ojeil described the report’s conclusions as “extreme”.
“Vast increase” in lorry traffic
Robin Green, for Roseacre residents, said HGV movements would increase from two at present to 50 at times on part of the proposed route to Roseacre Wood. This would be “a vast increase”, he said.
Mr Ojeil said peaks of 50 daily HGV movements were predicted to happen on 12 weeks across the six years of the project. He said the percentage increase was large but the overall numbers were small. Not all the HGVs would be the largest, at 16.5m, but he accepted most would be.
Lancashire County Council argued that Dagger Road was not a suitable access route for HGVs under national planning policy. It measured 4.3m-5.1m in places –not enough for a car and lorry to pass. Cuadrilla said this could be mitigated. Visibility and the frequency of HGV journeys was also important and visibility was good on Dagger Road.
Alan Evans, for Lancashire County Council, said the authority could issue an enforcement notice if traffic conditions were breached. But this would take 28 days, by which time it would be too late for people affected. It was a “blunt instrument” he said.
Cuadrilla said it proposed to run education days for drivers. If they breached the conditions in the Traffic Management Plan, Cuadrilla could cancel the driving contract. The Inspector, Wendy McKay, suggested that there may have to be several breaches before a contract could be stopped.
Cuadrilla proposes to create five passing places for lorries and cars in Dagger Road on the route to Roseacre Wood. Alan Evans, for Lancashire County Council, said this would remove the roadside verges that were a refuge for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. Mr Ojeil said there were already wheel tracks on the verges and the passing places would improve things.
The route coincides with a cycleway in Treales Road and crosses another further along. Alan Evans, for Lancashire County Council said this was “not a good idea”. Mr Ojeil said drivers would be trained to look out for cyclists.
HGVs would have to cross onto the other side of the road. Mr Ojeil said this happened across rural roads.
The inquiry heard that the legal agreement for the Inskip route had not been finalised.
Cuadrilla proposes to control HGV traffic through Wharles with a planning condition. The company is not planning to create passing places through Wharles.