Breached traffic rules at Cuadrilla fracking site led to two-car crash – eye witness


Photo: John Tootill

An eye witness to a two-car accident outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site near Blackpool this morning said a truck preparing to make a delivery was breaking agreed traffic rules.

John Tootill, whose basic account of the accident has been confirmed by police, said a cement truck had stopped outside the Preston New Road site to turn right before two cars on the other side of the road collided.

Mr Tootill, who estimated he was about 20ft away, said:

 “The truck, travelling from the Preston direction, indicated to turn right into the site which is against the agreed rules. It was in the middle of the road. I saw that and shouted to the security people and police that this was against the agreement.

“The security people were moving the fence to allow it in. But the police gesticulated to the security people that this should not happen. The security staff followed the police instruction and gestured to the concrete wagon that it should drive on.

“The next car travelling from the Blackpool direction saw all this gesticulating and stopped. The car behind ploughed into the back of it.”

Reports said there were children in both cars. The occupants were taken to hospital by ambulance. The cement truck carried on to the next roundabout, approached the site from the permitted direction and was escorted in by police.


Photo: John Tootill

The traffic management plan for the exploration site requires all heavy goods vehicles to turn left in and out of the site.

Mr Tootill, a local nursery owner who has displayed large posters against fracking, said:

“In my view it is a chain of events. It would not have happened if that concrete vehicle had not been there.

“This incident was entirely created by Cuadrilla and their failed traffic management plan.”

He added:

“This is not the first vehicle to go into the site from the wrong direction. Yesterday vehicles were turning right to leave the site even though there is a sign on the exit which says no right turn.”

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said:

“I would strongly suggest that if Mr Toothill believes he witnessed the entire unfortunate accident between two private vehicles that he contacts the Police to give a proper statement.

“The traffic management system was not deployed as it can only operate from 9.30am to 3.30pm so the road was open as usual. The cement vehicle which was present was stationary and NOT involved the the traffic incident this morning.

“It was on the other side of the road and stationary at the time and never entered the East bound caraigeway where the accident happened.  It did indeed travel from the East however it did not turn into our site and there was no breach of conditions and LCC are aware of this.

“We are aware there was a traffic incident involving two private vehicles this morning at approx. 8.40am outside of the entrance of our Preston New Road site.  Neither vehicles are connected to the operations under way at our site.  Police are conducting a thorough investigation which we are assisting with in any way we can.”

Lancashire County Council confirmed last month that some lorries visiting the site had not followed the agreed route. But it said the council would not be taking action against them. DrillOrDrop report

Mr Tootill said the accident could have been much worse.

“I was completely shocked and the police, who witnessed the smash, were also stunned. Our immediate concern was for the welfare of the occupants of the vehicles. Clearly the new cement contractor either ignored Cuadrilla’s traffic management plan, or deliberately chose to ignore it. Corners are cut so regularly and this is the result.

“This could have very easily been a fatality. I was surprised at how quickly the damaged vehicles were removed from the scene – normally there would be measurements of vehicles with an accident of this scale. ”

Preston New Road Action Group, which opposed Cuadrilla’s plans at a public inquiry, said:

“We are very concerned at the risk of accidents around this site. We highlighted this strongly at the planning inquiry. We indicated this is a very busy road, with regular fast-moving traffic. With road users now encountering many large and slow-moving vehicles turning and accessing the site, the risks have dramatically increased.

“The traffic management plan is meant to minimise or avoid risk. It will only do that if it followed to the letter. We await the full details on this matter. Our primary concern is now for the families affected and we wish to ensure no further accidents of this nature happen again. This road used to be an accident blackspot: we have no wish to see it return to that.”

Frack Free Lancashire has called on Lancashire County Council to take action to prevent more breaches of the traffic management plan.

Updated 18.32 with additional material from Cuadrilla.



34 replies »

  1. “He was struggling to find the entrance to the site”. Well Mr. Roberts, perhaps you could offer an opinion as to why that might be? We understood there were regular supplies of cement to this site from a local supplier, so what might be the reason for such a “struggle”?

    [Edited by moderator]

    • Hi Martin,
      because the driver had not been given instructions before setting off to site apparently. These instructions are part of the t.m.p. apparently, the sub-contractors are supposed to be educated in these by the main contractor as part of their contract.
      Sadly for all concerned this did not happen.

  2. So Cuadrilla are trying to spin their way out of trouble regarding the truck incident last Friday in which 3 people (2 workers and 1 protector) were hit by a truck which appeared to be being driven recklessly by a site worker.

    Compare the video footage what they say with what happened and draw your own conclusions:

    • You are something else. If the “protector” had not been there there would have been no incident. Your presence will eventually result in a serious casualty. Does this not worry you? The roda was blocked because of the protestor not the driver. Thanks for sharing the video – this now leaves us in no doubt where the problem is. Dangerous driving – what a farce!

      • No Paul – it’s you who are being something else. Best not to say what as Paul won’t like it 😉

        You appear to be commenting beyond your competence here. Given that the first incident with one worker occurred with no protector in the vicinity your statement “If the “protector” had not been there there would have been no incident” is somewhat problematic. The protector appears to have entered the area in order to alert the driver to the fact that he had hit one of his colleagues. Anyone who has seen the footage of what followed in which a second worker and the protector were pushed along by a truck reversing at speed would be in no doubt as to what to make of your statement “Dangerous driving – what a farce!”

        As to “The roda was blocked because of the protestor not the driver” – how do you make that out when the video footage clearly shows the van starting on the correct side of the road, but being unnecessarily moved to block the carriageway by a driver who subsequently left the vehicle there. Please do explain.

        I take it you don’t consider the dash down the carriageway or reversing at speed with two people clinging on literally for dear life to be dangerous then. Your life must really be a thrill a minute!

      • [Edited by moderator]
        Go away Cuadrilla, you are not wanted here on the Fylde! In fact I doubt if you and yours are wanted anywhere in the U.K. or elsewhere come to that!

  3. IMO Gods cause the accident because he is the creator of all things in the universe.
    So go and sue Gods. But before you embark on it make sure you talk to Billy Connelly because he was “The Man Who Sues God”.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s