Fylde Borough councillors voted unanimously yesterday against Cuadrilla’s updated transport plans for its Roseacre Wood fracking site near Blackpool.
The Conservative-led authority is a consultee not a decision-maker on the plans, which are to be decided after a public inquiry in April 2018.
But the council is now considering submitting written concerns to the inquiry and sending a representative to speak.
Yesterday’s vote follows a recommendation earlier this week by Lancashire County Council planners to object to the new traffic plans (DrillOrDrop report). The county’s development control committee votes on Wednesday 24 January 2018.
“Highway safety not adequately addressed”
A report to yesterday’s meeting by Fylde council’s head of planning concluded:
“Matters of highway safety have not been adequately addressed”.
It said Cuadrilla’s proposal to add two more routes of heavy goods vehicles were “not appropriate as an alternative or additional access” to the Roseacre Wood site. The report said the routes were along narrow country roads with tight bends and restricted visibility.
The planning officer also recommended seeking the views of Highways England about an increase in traffic at the A585 Thistleton Junction that would result from Cuadrilla’s plans.
15 members of the public made presentations to the council on issues including unsuitable rural lanes, poor road conditions, traffic breaches at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, and the likely impact on pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
One of the speakers, Barbara Richardson, chair of Roseacre Awareness Group, said:
“Today’s meeting could not have gone better for us. We feel totally vindicated. For four years we have been saying that this site is unsuitable for a development of this nature with all the associated traffic including teh largest of all HGVs.
“Regardless of your views on fracking this has come down to one issue; that of traffic and public safety.
“This is about the unsuitable nature of our rural roads to accommodate the traffic associated with this industry.”
Mrs Richardson said thanked the councillors for listening to public concerns:
“Having carefully considered all aspects of Cuadrilla’s traffic mitigation proposals for Roseacre Wood they were unanimous in their decision that all the proposed routes into the Roseacre site are unsuitable, unsafe and that the mitigation measures do not resolve many issues. Indeed they raise more issues and will affect many more communities.”
“We hope that Lancashire County Council will also take these concerns seriously and follow the recommendation of their own Highways and Planning experts and reject the plans as unsafe and unsuitable.”
Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, has defended the company’s revised traffic plans:
“Our expert transport consultants have concluded, and will demonstrate at the Public Inquiry in April, that the proposed routes can adequately and safely accommodate the level of traffic proposed in our application along with the existing car and lorry traffic they already safely handle.”