Regulation

Speed limit cut outside Cuadrilla’s shale site welcomed by anti-fracking groups

 

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Preston New Road on 1 March 2017. Photo: Ros Wills

Lancashire County Council has cut the speed limit on Preston New Road outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site amid concerns about the safety of protesters and motorists.

The move follows a visit to the site by the council’s cabinet member for highways, as well as complaints that the 50mph limit made the road dangerous.

Temporary signs were due to be installed today with an advisory 30mph limit. An enforceable 20mph limit will be introduced outside the site when the signs have been produced.

The cabinet member for highways, Cllr John Fillis, said

“I visited the site last week and it’s clear that reducing the speed limit would help to minimise the risks, and potentially prevent a serious incident. I discussed the situation with the police and protestors, and everyone I spoke with agreed that reducing the speed limit would help to improve safety.

“Initially we will bring in an advisory 30mph limit using temporary signs, but as soon as possible afterwards we will introduce a 20mph limit. We can’t do this immediately as it will take a short while to design a scheme, manufacture the signs, and prepare the legal order needed to change the speed limit and ensure it’s enforceable.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and I would ask people to respect the changes to the speed limit and drive with extra caution in this area.”

“Welcome”

The move has been welcomed by opponents of Cuadrilla’s operations. Pam Foster, of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, said:

“Since work started at the Preston New road site, we have been constantly highlighting the potential for serious accidents to the police. With large wagons continually entering and leaving the site the current 50 mph speed limit is far too dangerous. As the number of wagons will increase substantially over the coming weeks and months, these new traffic measures are to be welcomed for the safety of the public. The new speed limit will also hopefully prevent the police from closing the road unnecessarily and further holding up people on their journeys. While welcoming the new safety measures, the unsuitability and dangers of this road for heavy wagons was made clear at last year’s planning inquiry. Unfortunately, our fears were ignored by the Secretary of State.”

Maureen Mills, of Halsall Against Fracking, said:

“As a result of a much welcome visit to the site by the portfolio holder, Cll John Fillis, for highways, a sensible speed management scheme has been agreed.  The actual experience has shown from day one, that creating access to a site and the construction traffic requiring access from a major road such as A583 requires greater consideration than was given in the planning process.”

Claire Stephenson, of Preston New Road Action Group, said:

“We welcome Lancashire County Council finally acting upon the increasing risks on this dangerous stretch of road. The critical road safety issue of the A583 were highlighted continually during the planning process for the Preston New Road site. Our expert witnesses repeatedly voiced their concerns for the road safety black spot and historic record of accidents. Since Cuadrilla have arrived in our community, we have seen nothing but dangerous actions, including HGV drivers who have not been briefed correctly, carrying out manoeuvres that jeopardise all other road users. Additionally, and unacceptable road closures to facilitate Cuadrilla’s large-scale machinery entering site.”

“Disappointment”

Lancashire for Shale, a group supporting hydraulic fracturing in the county, said this evening it was disappointed that the council had had to introduce the 20mph speed limit near the site. A spokesperson said:

“Lancashire County Council is right to act, but it is important to remember that this is only necessary because of the behaviour of some anti-fracking protestors that can regularly be seen walking in the road, weaving in and out of traffic and distracting motorists.

“It is worth noting that construction activities further along Preston New Road have not required changes to the speed limit, where Barratt and Story Homes are busy building two large adjacent housing developments. The only real difference there is the absence of protestors.”

Pictures of the developing Preston New Road site

15 replies »

    • A very sensible move considering the mud on the road and the turning lorries.

      This is not to protect protesters. This is to ensure no further accidents occur in what could become a ‘black spot’.

      It will also save police time as fewer officers will be required due to the reduction in vehicle speed. I’m sure a ‘speed’ camera will likely appear in their place?

      Well done LCC. This is a good safety move and cost cutting exercise in times of austerity placed on them by central government. Monies can be used for better projects like social care and crime prevention.

  1. So Lancashire for shale are not worried about the other road users forced to slow down because Cuadrilla’s contractors cannot negotiate the access to or from the site safely?

  2. THE REAL REASON FOR THE REDUCTION IN SPEED LIMIT AT THIS SITE WAS THE CONFLICT BETWEEN FAST MOVING TRAFFIC AND THE ANTICIPATED LARGE NUMBERS OF H.G.V. MOVEMENTS REQUIRED TO REMOVE THE TOXIC AND RADIOACTIVE BY-PRODUCTS SHOULD FRACKING COMMENCE!
    THIS TRAFFIC PROBLEM WAS NOT CONSIDERED BY OUR FRIEND IN LONDON WHEN HE OVERODE LOCAL DEMOCRACY,
    A REALLY STUPID, ILL ADVISED MAN INDEED!

  3. YES I BET THE NEW HOME BUYERS UP THE ROAD ARE OVERJOYED TO DISCOVER THAT FURTHER DOWNWIND IS ABOUT TO BECOME FRACKING CENTRAL!
    IF FRACKING ISN’T STOPPED ON JUDICIAL APPEAL THEN EARTHQUAKES, TRAFFIC NOISE, AIR POLLUTION, LIGHT POLLUTION, WATER POLLUTION AND SOIL CONTAMINATION WILL BECOME THE NORM HERE ON THE LOVELY FYLDE!
    Sorry to shout but these messages just don’t seem to be getting through to the general population!

  4. I wonder why “these messages just don’t seem to be getting through to the general population!”

    I think you will find Peter that they are, but they simply do not agree with you. It may come as a surprise, but they don’t have to, and the more extreme your messages or the actions of others are, the less positive response you will see. Your cause has criticised the media, the government and the police in your desperation to get the message across and you have attracted some pretty dubious support. That is not the recipe to persuade the general public, who are not idiots. They know the value of the £ has dropped and will probably drop a bit more before Brexit is done, so they are genuinely concerned about energy costs and security of supply. They can work out if you buy a product fixed to the $ they could have a problem, and if that product is under their feet and $s are removed from the equation, then they can recognise the potential benefit.
    Statements such as your comments about new home buyers are just strange. Have Cuadrilla suddenly appeared out of the blue and moved at the speed of light to drill in this area?? Perhaps some new messages may help?

  5. The temporary signs give the reason for the reduced speed limit as ‘Pedestrians on Road’ which is yet another slur on the protectors. The real reason is that the only way the trucks can leave the site is by going right across the road into the other carriageway which makes it necessary for the police to stop the traffic whilst the vehicle blocks the whole width of the road. This was predicted at the Public Inquiry but has been totally ignored by the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid when he overruled Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse. A further reason is that Cuadrilla have fenced off the strip of land where the public verge crosses their entrance which means the police and the public have to stand in the cycle lane and are frequently pushed out into the road. Cuadrilla have told LCC the reason for fencing off part of the public highway is to maintain the hedge. This work was actually carried out in a morning but the fence is still across the highway after two weeks. LCC are one of the regulatory bodies who are supposed to be ensuring Gold Standard Regulation is carried out. The truth is that Cuadrilla are calling the shots to LCC and LCC are rolling over for a quiet life. This standard of Gold Standard by self regulation is just the start of worse to come.

  6. See what I mean Peter. Now it is Lancashire County Council!! First they are the final word- their “decision to refuse”, next, they are ridiculed -“LCC are rolling over for a quiet life.” Your “cause” seems to be hell bent on blaming everyone else, which at this stage, hardly seems to be sensible. Not exactly a “Gold Standard”.

    • You seem to be mistaken Martin. Lancashire County Council are one of the regulatory bodies who are meant to be upholding the Gold Standard Regulations and are failing dismally. It was the ELECTED COUNCILLORS from Lancashire County Council who refused permission for Cuadrilla’s plans.The operative word being elected, by the people of Lancashire who,are now being walked all over by Cuadrilla.

  7. Well said Pauline! Cuadrilla enabled by Central Government who are being shown up daily to be driven by money and inside influence!
    They and their enablers have no conscience and no motivation to deal with serious social problems! They just want more and more money and power by any means possible!
    Disgraceful!

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