Lancs councillors unanimously oppose Cuadrilla’s new traffic plans for Roseacre Wood fracking site

Roseacre village

Roseacre village Photo: DrillOrDrop

Lancashire councillors voted unanimously this morning against a revised traffic management scheme for Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking site at Roseacre Wood near Blackpool.

The county council’s planning committee backed the recommendation of officers to object to the scheme.

In 2015, the council refused Cuadrilla’s application for Roseacre Wood on road safety grounds and an inspector at a public inquiry in 2016 also recommended refusal.

But the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, gave Cuadrilla another chance to demonstrate that heavy goods vehicles could safely deliver to the site.

The company’s new plans include an extra two lorry routes, passing places, traffic lights and restrictions on vehicle movements.

These measures will be discussed at a reopened public inquiry in April. Today’s committee decision means the county council will present evidence at the inquiry against the company.

After the meeting, Barbara Richardson, chair of Roseacre Awareness Group which opposes the Roseacre Wood application, said:

“We are absolutely delighted with the meeting. It could not have gone better for us.

“It was obvious that the councillors having travelled the route and listened to the evidence were totally unconvinced that any route into the Roseacre site is suitable.”

180124 LCC Barbara Richardson DoD

Barbara Richardson, chair of Roseacre Awareness Group. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Mrs Richardson, one of seven public speakers against the scheme, told the committee all three routes were “totally unacceptable and unsafe”:

“These poorly-devised mitigation measures actually makes matters worse putting even more lives at risk. It is not about ‘if” a serious accidents occurs but ‘when’.”

She said the 400 written objections had included comments such as “appalling”, “ridiculous”, “ludicrous”, “unacceptable”, reckless and “nothing short of madness”.

“Sometimes it is what it is. There is no magic solution.”

180124 LCC Jonathan Haine DoD

Lancashire County Council planning officer, Jonathan Haine (centre). Photo: DrillOrDrop

The council’s planning officer, Jonathan Haine, said the two extra routes may have some benefits by diluting the impact on any one location. But he said the lorry routes proposed were mainly on narrow country lanes with sharp bends that were generally unsuitable for large HGVs.

180124 LCC Peter Collins DoD

Another speaker, Peter Collins (right), of Newton with Clifton Parish Council, said the adverse camber and sharp bends on one of the routes created a real risk of lorries rolling over.

Maxine Chew, a Fylde Borough Councillor, said the proposals would exacerbate problems at the already congested junction on the A585 at Thistleton.

“Residents must be protected from more vehicles using this junction. Motorists are already in grave danger. More vehicles would multiply the danger to totally unacceptable levels.”

180124 LCC Carol Berry DoD

Carol Berry (left), of Inskip and Sowerby Parish Council, urged councillors:

“Do not make our roads any more unsafe.”

The local county councillor, Liz Oades, said experience of Cuadrilla’s other site at Preston New Road showed that Lancashire’s officers did not have the resources or capacity to enforce any traffic management plan if it were approved.

John Hobday, of Elswick Parish Council, said:

“It beggars belief that these proposals have reached the stage that they have”.

180124 LCC Gillian Cookson DoDGillian Cookson (right), of Treales, Roseacre and Wharles Parish Council, said sections of the routes were too narrow to allow two HGVs to pass.

The solution proposed by Cuadrilla, she said, was to put passing places outside people’s homes.

“Significant demands”

Lancashire’s chief constable, Andy Rhodes, submitted a written comment to the committee. He said policing a site at Roseacre Wood would “place significant demands on Lancashire Constabulary’s resources”

He said likely protest activity around the site would, if left unpoliced, “inevitably lead to significant obstruction of the highway, and to disruption to the life of the community and activities that Cuadrilla plan to undertake at the site”.

Regular vehicle movements to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site “appear to be greater than those predicted in the traffic management plan for that development”, he said.

If Roseacre Wood were approved, the Chief Constable said vehicle movements should be limited to daylight hours.

“There would be a substantial increase in risk if routine vehicle movements (particularly HGVs) were allowed to take place on unlit, narrow country roads in the dark.”

Cross-party opposition to revised plans

Conservatives on the committee Stephen Clark, David Foxcroft and Jimmy Eaton all spoke against the traffic management scheme and said the council should maintain its objection.

Steve Holgate, Labour, said:

“The only safe way to get deliveries into this site would be by a tardis of some kind.”

He said

“I do not believe any of the mitigation will achieve their objectives. This would be equally unacceptable whether for fracking or any other activity in this environment.”

Paul Hayhurst, a member of the committee and a local district and parish councillor, described the revisions to the traffic scheme as cosmetic. The proposed HGV routes had 22 90-degree bends, he said.

“There are narrow roads on all three routes. There are parked cars on all three routes. There are children’s playgrounds in Elswick and Clifton and a primary school in Inskip.

“I feel we have to fight this tooth and nail.”

He added:

“There are other places to get the gas out. In the North York Moors, a company is talking about drilling under the national park. Drilling does not have to be from sites down narrow roads.”

He said if the council wanted to extract shale gas it had to develop a strategy on where it would be acceptable to do it.

Malcolm Barron, Conservative, said he was appalled with the routes.

“We were quite right to turn this down in the first place”.

Kevin Ellard, Labour, said:

“The additional routes will magnify the impact across a wider area. It will make things even worse.”

Margaret Pattison, Labour, said the roads were “lovely for a ride out but not for 44-tonne vehicles”.

Munsif Dad, Labour, who voted against the Roseacre Wood scheme in 2015, said: “I have not seen anything to change my mind.”

Alan Schofield, Conservative, also voted against the scheme previously. But he said there was detail lacking in the latest planning officer’s report and there was no consistency in the planners’ definition of severe impact on highway safety.

Reporting from this meeting was made possible by individual donations to DrillOrDrop.

32 replies »

  1. Thank you Ruth, excellent news and another unanimous vote across parties.
    Well done Lancashire councillors on your unanimously vote this morning against a revised traffic management scheme for Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking site at Roseacre Wood near Blackpool.
    Common sense is prevailing at last.

    • The planning officers recommended rejection. If fracking is ever to happen in a semi-major way in the UK each site will be treated individually and will live or die by the planning officers recommendations.

      As for the Activists so far the oil price depression led to reduced activity, but pretty much everything has been passed, the exploration wells have been granted, drilled, and more granted. Exploratory drilling has been ongoing for a few years now with many wells taking samples etc. Then there is the planning permission for the actual fracking sites themselves (not the exploratory sites). These are now being passed as well.

      No one should consider Roseacre anything much other than a site that didn’t get planning officers recommendations right from the off.

      I’m sort of a bit suspicious that Caudrilla applied for both PNR and Roseacre just hoping for one. Either way, they’ll get the information they need from PNR anyway.

  2. GBK it has been up the chain since the last Planning Inquiry that took place early in ‘17 recommended refusal on transport grounds. This is another bite of the cherry for the applicant very kindly provided by the SoS.

    What is relevant is that LCC comments now join numerous other Rule 6 parties comments objecting to the new TMP proposal.

    • The rural road network of England cannot safely accommodate an industry that requires constant expansion and large volumes of heavy traffic

      Then there is the cost of repairs

      As County Councillor John Fillis, the man in charge of highways at County Hall in 2014 said,

      “From the information we have so far, the impact on the rural roads will increase the deterioration and direct damage during the exploratory stage, if this is increased to full production the road network will collapse”.

      If you can’t spread your wings you can’t fly.

  3. The obvious key here, that the antis totally ignore, is what will happen at PNR?? If initial fracking proves successful, and significant, then this whole matter will be decided nationally.

    Meanwhile, it will be fodder for discussion about process, but the main event will dictate what happens, not that process-unless that main event is a dud.

    • Martin it is being decided at a national level, the Planning Inspectors role is to report to the SoS and make recommendations based on planning law. PNR is not relevant as the transport issues a markedly different.

  4. Dream on crembrule. There are plenty of ways of overcoming transport issues if it is decided to do so, for reasons of national importance, so PNR is very relevant. Goodness, I wonder how the tanks got through the Cornish lanes to be loaded for D Day? But, I suppose that’s the UK today, where process is used to stop things being done.

    • ‘for reasons of national importance’ sorry MC, but it’s not a national infrastructure project, so not deemed of national importance. No longer needed for heating, being tossed out soon for plastics, nuclear a glowing dead duck so no holes needed for dumping waste; get your money in Tesla before it’s too late!

      • DONT put money in Tesla!!! Its in a bad place. Great company for pushing things forward, but its competitors are in a much better position. So many electric cars coming to market now than when Tesla first began. I give it 50/50 as to whether its still here in 10 years. The EV is the future, but that doesn’t mean its Tesla. Keep yourself level headed and only invest sensibly.

        • Thanks for the tip Garry, but just need to clarify that Tesla is in fact a battery producer. The innovations have been put out there via the belief system of EM; no patents so others can develop product.

          ‘Keep yourself level headed and only invest sensibly’ great advice if you take and divest out of fossil fuels 😉

    • Martin if there are plenty of ways to overcome the transport issues why has the applicant not submitted them as part of the consultation?

      Changes at a national level will require a change of planning law, which whilst not impossible also has to go through due process.

      Due process is what protects the country from the powers that be riding roughshod over it.

      It’s over to the PI and subsequently the SoS to make the decision on RW and it’s not a forgone conclusion at this stage so chin up pro frackers. I on the other hand am hoping for a result where central government shows some sense in relation to this particular application and kicks it into the long grass.

    • [Edited by moderator] martin, you have tried this before, it is simply insulting to the memory of all those deaths and broken lives fighting for freedom from tyranny.

      For your information the British and Allied troops, which were there to protect Britain, you know Britain? England? United Kingdom? Do you have any idea what that is? And also a desperate one off move to free Europe and the free world against the filthy occupying nazi invaders. remember the nazis? You know dont you? The ones who wanted to overturn democracy and institute totalitarian might is right rule by jackboot and gestapo subjugation and crush the freedom to defend ourselves. Remember that?

      To have you cite that as an excuse for the totalitarian fracking invasion into our countryside is is so freakishly outragious and insulting it is almost beyond any careful wording i am fighting hard to maintain!

      The vehicles that took the troops to the embarkation points were given top sole priority and secrecy and people were confined to their homes along the routes and told to keep their windows curtained and stay inside on pain of being shot or arrested.

      The tanks you crow like a fake news purveyor about were taken from their many many secret camouflaged storage secretly built up concentration temporary camps near to the embarkation points which were mainly close to the ports. i doubt if the nazis had they succeeded in invading England would have had any qualms about unsuitable roads, they would have just rolled over people in their houses. Does that sound like a feasible fracking strategy?

      No, you are absolutely entirely wrong, as your fifth fracking column faction are all the time, the frackers simply don’t seem to be intelligent enough to do any research that is not laid out for them in their heavily censored propaganda manuals.

      Tanks were not taken through the tiny narrow Cornish lanes, only troop carriers jeeps and trucks towing cannons and fuel and ammunition which were trucks smaller than a modern HGV, only the specially strengthened secretly upgraded concrete roads were used to carry the heavy stuff.

      I will say that again,in case you lot dont have the required attention span to understand it,

      Specially strengthened secretly upgraded widened concrete roads. i know a lot of those still exist, they are also still military transport routes, others have been built since, just look at the motorways work at the moment,

      i know that HGV carriers have the same routes on their maps, i have personally seen what happens to an HGV that has taken the wrong route, it was a 50 tonne crane carrier and it sunk up to its axles because in spite of the road appearing wide enough, it was not strengthened, and it was not actually wide enough either as it was only a surface widening, the true structural section was only half of that width, the HGV straddled the narrow but still inadequate route and sunk up to its axles on just surface tarmac with hardly any sub base. it took four other vehicles to get it out and they had to lay road strengthening steel panels but could only crawl along with those.

      That is what will happen to insufficient non HGV roads and upgrading to HGV standard costs £millions per mile.

      Look it up for gods sake and dont you dare ever use those awful desperate days that could have so easily failed with the predicted loss of 70% of people whose average age was 18 because they lied about their age to be able to go in the first wave, my father was just turned 19 at the time.

      That’s right, 70% predicted attrition rate, the actual figure, was less than half that, Thanks to exceptional planning, something else that we have a legacy to thank for. But there were still far too many deaths to be contemplated by this lazy spoilt age, unless there was no other way.

      Thanks to the extensive use of secret pre landing 5th column infiltrators and many double agents and camouflaged real troop camps and many false camps fooled Hitler into thinking the liberation of Europe was going to be the shortest distance at Calais and after one of the worst storms in the channel in recent history the German defence was in the wrong place and not prepared on that morning of the 6th of June 1944, the 73rd anniversary was last year..

      So how DARE you try to use those terrible days as an excuse to further the aims of this sick invading totalitarian anti democratic fracking farce!

    • Per-lease – we were at war then and many areas were closed off to the general public !! Would you rather we all spoke German now ?

      • Ha! Ha! Another id?

        WE were at war? You dont say? That explains a lot! We……were at war with an invading totalitarian force attempting to overturn democracy and install fascism.

        Sound familiar?

        I dont know about your lot, they were probably all living off the frack market and profiteering off the armaments? One thing is for dead certain!

        I dont want us to all speak frackish!

        • Well said Phil. To trivialize such a catastrophic loss of human life to argue for fracking is more than disgusting.

          And more than that, we are still profiteering off the armaments, second biggest arms dealer in the world, in time of supposed peace and nations ‘together’. The LNG trading partners oft quoted by the pros as a reason to stop importing are in actual fact buying our war planes, this will not be stopped, the governance has its finger firmly stuck in the pie.

          Sadly when global warming reaches its peak, we will not be able to speak at all…..

        • Hey I’m an anti and live close to PNR. My point was that roads and areas had to be closed for the war effort not for any other reason. Certainly the locations of potential fracking sites all seem to be (in general) unsuited to the sort of traffic required for the fracking industry. Sorry if you thought differently.

          • I am sorry too Shogun i was answering MC comment, i guess it was the way your comment looked, the per-lease and German reference looked like an anti comment to me, apologies if that was not what you meant.

  5. as its the council’s responsibility to maintain the roads then are we to expect them to propose how they intend to improve then so that they are suitable for tankers. you can,t say sorry you will have to close your business because we don,t want to upgrade the roads. sort of scored an own goal here.

    • Gasman there is no obligation on the LA to do anything to facilitate access to the site as it does not presently exist in a built form, so there is no business at the site to close. The application appears to be in conflict NPPF 32 .

  6. Oh goodness crembrule! Why on earth would a company (or government) deviate from the normal process, UNTIL it knew it had a basis to warrant that?

    I suspect there may be some who think that is what should be done, but I wonder how many.

    “Due process is what protects the country from the powers that be riding roughshod over it”. Well, that solves the police concerns. Gain an injunction-PNR has produced the recorded evidence to justify it. See, the system can modify process in most cases if it decides it is required.

  7. Not sure what your definition of salty is, crembrule. Chemically, I am.
    Just, as always, being logical, and looking at the situation rather than the process. Whilst I can quite understand the antis focusing on process the wider public are not interested in that, and certainly if/when there is some gas produced and resulting financials you will find the situation will drown out the process. Many (well a handful) of the antis know this which is why there is a desperate attempt to prevent things moving to this stage. But they will. Meanwhile, many will debate based upon ifs, maybes and speculation. I lived in Newbury-seen it all before.

  8. Site selection is important. Why Cuadrilla insist on RA site anyway? Why not use the site the already drill? Beaconsall? Grange Hill?

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