Live updates from the second of 10 days of the re-opened inquiry into traffic issues around Cuadrilla’s plans to drill and frack at Roseacre Wood in the Fylde district of Lancashire.
The inquiry, at Blackpool Football Club, is hearing from Cuadrilla’s consultants about revised plans to manage lorry deliveries to the site. They include two new proposed lorry routes. The hearings will also hear from opponents of the scheme, Lancashire County Council and Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG), representing campaign groups and parish councils. Key facts about the inquiry and links to all the DrillOrDrop reports from the inquiry here
Reporting at this event has been made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers.
Key points from today’s hearing
- Number plate recognition cameras to monitor whether Cuadrilla lorries use the correct route to the site
- On 55 weeks, there would be more than 25 daily lorry movements to the site
- Cuadrilla traffic consultant says HGV can navigate the Hand and Dagger junction safely
- Signals on Dagger Road will prevent two HGVs meeting in the opposite directions, says Cuadrilla’s experts
- Side roads entering traffic control zone creates “risky situation”, says county council
- RAG says Cuadrilla under-estimated vulnerable road users
- Cuadrilla did not survey vulnerable road users in most villagers on the lorry route
- If the traffic system fails, the “chance of an injury accident is relatively low”, says Cuadrilla
- Great weight should be given to the “excellent accident record” of the local roads, Cuadrilla’s traffic expert says
- Highways England says A585 junction on the lorry route would need “inch perfect” manoeuvre by HGV drivers
- Cuadrilla traffic witness admits he doesn’t know which classes of lorries will service the proposed site
- Cuadrilla proposes to make delivery drivers cycle the lorry route
- Impact of two new routes on local amenity is a material consideration, says Cuadrilla
Ben Du Feu (left), for Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG), cross-examines the Cuadrilla traffic expert, David Bird, about the company’s proposed heavy goods vehicle (HGV) routes (red, green and blue), its traffic management plans, including passing places and traffic signals, and traffic surveys.
6.06pm Inquiry closes
The inquiry begins again at 9.30pm on Thursday 12 April 2018.
5.56pm “Inch perfect” manoeuvres
Mr Bird says design of mitigation at a junction off the A585 onto the traffic route included a 500mm clearance margin after comments by Highways England. This clearance was not used elsewhere across the route, Mr Bird agrees.
Mr Du Feu says Highways England says the original proposal had no margin for error and the HGV manoeuvre would have to be “inch perfect” to avoid damage to the highway.
You have relied on this perfect manoeuvre for other junctions, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird says he does not accept the Highways England comment. There has been no problem with the path analysis in 40 years.
Mr Du Feu puts it to Mr Bird the clearance is good practice. Mr Bird says this is for design for new roads. Mr Du Feu asks why it makes any difference if it is a new road. Mr Bird says it is sensible to build in a safety margin for new roads.
Mr Du Feu says the “inch perfect” manoeuvre would not make any difference on new or existing roads. Mr Bird repeats he does not accept the Highway England requirement.
5.36pm Track software
Mr Du Feu says Cuadrilla’s evidence does not include a technical methodology of swept path analysis. Mr Bird agrees.
Mr Du Feu questions Mr Bird on his statement that the Track software has some leeway in estimating the space required for HGV manoeuvres. Mr Bird says in 40 years he has had no problem with a feature designed by Track. Mr Bird agrees he did not carry out the tracks or checking the results.
Mr Du Feu asks where was the methodology for the track analysis. Mr Bird says the technician is extremely experienced. “I fully rely on the work he produces”. We don’t write down the methodology, he adds. It is an industry standard, he says.
Mr Du Feu asks which junctions have been surveyed, rather than relying on OS data. Mr Bird says surveys were carried out where the carriageways were less than 6m. Mr Du Feu says the team appeared to have used Google maps in one instance to assess the width of the road.
Mr Du Feu says the OS may have over-estimated the width of the road. Mr Bird says this is unlikely. We have walked, cycled and drive the routes, he says. We have done all the reasonable checks we could, Mr Bird adds.
Mr Du Feu says sections of the routes could be under 6m that are shown at more than 6m. Mr Bird says there is no evidence to support this.
5.33pm Existing roads
Mr Du Feu puts it to Mr Bird that the existing roads were not designed to accommodate HGVs safely. Mr Bird says the roads have always been used by agricultural vehicles. They weren’t designed to take large numbers of HGVs, Mr Bird says. The inspector, Melvyn Middleton says he’s not sure what the point is.
Mr Du Feu says the 2016 inspector’s description of the previous single traffic route could apply to the current three routes. Mr Bird agrees.
Mr Bird accepts there is ponding of rain water in sections on the three routes.
Mr Du Feu puts it to Mr Bird that the picture across the whole route should be examined. Mr Bird agrees.
5.26pm Design guidelines
Mr Du Feu asks Mr Bird whether a set of design guidelines for the HS2 rail scheme would be appropriate. Mr Bird says account needs to be taken of distance, speed and numbers of HGVs. There is not a straight line between Roseacre Wood and HS2.
Mr Du Feu says the guidelines propose a minimum of 5.5m for road widths, increased to 6m for roads carrying HGVs and 6.8m for roads where HGVs would pass regularly.
Mr Bird says the guidelines apply to new roads not existing ones. He says he is highly sceptical. He says the proposed lorry routes would not see regular HGVs. On the Roseacre Wood routes HGVs would pass only occasionally, Mr Bird says.
5.15pm Road widths
Mr Du Feu puts it to Mr Bird that two HGVs need 5.5m to pass. Mr Bird says you would need 6m if there were rigid sides to the road. But he says in the real practical world 5.5m would suffice where there are verges where wing mirrors can overhang.
Mr Du Feu says the guidelines allows for more space to account for two wing mirrors. If it is not appropriate for wing mirrors to overhang, Mr Du Feu ask how much space would be needed. Mr Bird says “We need to get real”. This is happening already. Two approaching HGVs would not deliberately clash mirrors. Mr Bird says a 6m width is a “generous and robust” approach.
5.11pm Trip generation
Mr Du Feu asks whether evidence is based on Cuadrilla’s data. Mr Bird says the core information comes from the company. Mr Du Feu asks whether the Roseacre Wood development could not go ahead without the largest HGVs. Mr Bird says he doesn’t know. Some operations might need large vehicles, he adds.
Mr Du Feu asks whether these large vehicles can be safely delivered to the site. Yes, says Mr Bird.
5pm How articulated vehicles operate
Mr Du Feu puts it to Mr Bird that on articulated lorries the trailer will take a different line to the tractor. Mr Bird agrees.
Mr Du Feu says the pivot point is on the middle of the three rear axles. There is a rear swing out when the vehicle turns. This doesn’t happen with rigid, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird agrees.
Mr Du Feu says because the two types of HGV behave differently it is important to distinguish between them and look at the number that are doing these manoeuvres at the present. Mr Bird says rigid vehicles may not necessarily have a tighter turn.
Mr Du Feu says an articulated vehicle have one tyre on each side of the axles. But rigid HGVs have two tyres on the end of each axle. This allows them to use one tyre if the other leaves the road. Mr Du Feu says RAG’s evidence will show that this is relevant. Mr Bird says he doesn’t know precise design of HGVs visiting the Cuadrilla site. He concedes this has not been built into the design of the traffic plans.
4.44pm Larger heavy goods vehicles
Mr Du Feu asks Mr Bird whether he considers all heavy goods vehicle traffic is equal. Mr Bird says in environmental terms it is close to being equal. Whether the HGV is 10 or 16.5m long will not make much difference to pedestrians. It is more appropriate to look at HGVs a whole, he says.
Mr Du Feu asks whether there should be a distinction between articulated lorries and other HGVs in looking at highway impact. Mr Bird agrees a distinction is helpful. This inquiry has data on baseline data that distinguishes between different classes of HGV. The number of the larger HGVs varies across the network. This wasn’t available to the previous inquiry, Mr Bird says.
4.39pm Farm traffic
Mr Du Feu says many of the routes will be used by agricultural vehicles and for moving livestock. This will vary at different times of the year. Mr Bird says the company had sought to address this by carrying out surveys at different times of the year.
These vehicles would not be captured if the traffic counters were not where they were moving. Mr Bird says the company did not expect it had counted all the farm equipment.
Mr Du Feu says agricultural vehicles are not subject to the same width restrictions on the roads. The potential for conflict is a material point, Mr Du Feu suggests. Mr Bird agrees.
4.31pm Cuadrilla’s conclusions on vulnerable road users
The inquiry hears that Mr Bird concluded the Roseacre Wood development would lead to no increased risk to vulnerable road users. His conclusion is based on accident records, the fact that experienced HGV drivers will adjust their speed and behaviour and that drivers will be trained.
In 2016, Cuadrilla proposed driver education and enforcement to ensure the traffic management plan (TMP) would be followed. The 2016 inspector said the TMP did not address the particular issues associated with vulnerable road users.
Mr Bird says the TMP now takes out Saturday use, which is a significant change, and restricts use during school time on the red route. The two TMPs can’t be compared, he say.
Mr Du Feu says two principles remain in the current TMP. Mr Bird agrees.
Mr Bird says a number of material things have changed and a different conclusion should be reached now.
4.21pm Surveys “under-estimated” vulnerable road users
Mr Du Feu says the inspector at the 2016 inquiry said Cuadrilla’s survey evidence had underestimated the use of the lorry route by pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.
Your survey evidence underestimates the use the routes by the same groups, Mr Du Feu suggests.
Mr Bird refutes this. We surveyed many locations and we have not tried to shy away that the area is well-used by cyclists, he says. I believe it is representative, Mr Bird says.
It under-represents the use of the routes by vulnerable road users, Mr Du Feu says. I have answered that, says Mr Bird, which is no.
The inspector says you didn’t survey the villages and most people will be using the route. Mr Bird says “we have not attempted to represent the number of pedestrians in the community”.
Mr Du Feu says you have relied on your observations on site. Mr Bird says we have used the data and applied professional judgements from the communities. We observed the situation around a primary school to address that situation.
Mr Du Feu puts it to Mr Bird that RAG’s information is more useful than his limited observations. Mr Du Feu says the 2016 inspector found considerable evidence of significant use by the three routes by cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians. Mr Bird agrees on cyclists and pedestrians. He says, from his observation and data, that equestrian use is modest.
Mr Bird says if the evidence is proper scientific evidence of equestrian use during the week it should be considered.
Mr Du Feu asks if Mr Bird’s observations are proper scientific evidence. Mr Bird repeats the level of equestrian use is modest during the week.
Mr Du Feu says the cyclist surveys were on Mondays-Wednesdays. There were no surveys on Thursday and Friday. Mr Bird agrees.
Mr Du Feu asks about weekday cycling during the holidays. Mr Bird says there may be children cycling on weekdays in the holidays.
Mr Bird says there were two days of surveying of vulnerable road users on Lodge Lane and Preston Road. Mr Du Feu suggests the evidence had been that there had been one day of surveying at these locations.
Mr Du Feu says the average on Lodge Lane was 47 and the observed peak is also 47. The average and observed peak on Preston Road is 33. The reason is there was only one day of data, Mr Du Feu said. Mr Bird suggests data from one day was not usable. You have only presented one day of data, Mr Du Feu suggests. Mr Bird says he will need to check.
4.11pm Horse riders
Mr Du Feu says Mr Birds observed two horse riders across the entire network. Mr Bird agrees. This suggests there are no horses on the roads, Mr Du Feu says. Or, he says, this survey has failed to capture horses on the routes.
Mr Bird says he is not taking the position that all the network has been surveyed. From my observations during the week, I have not seen a great deal of equestrian activity. We have not 100% captured every link. I don’t think that activity is very high.
Mr Du Feu says RAG will be providing evidence on the level of equestrian activity that it believes exists.
3.50pm Traffic data
Mr Du Feu put it to Mr Bird that RAG was sent the Cuadrilla methodology for data collection as a “fait accompli”. Not at all, Mr Bird says.
The automatic traffic counters were designed to capture all traffic movements, Mr De Feu asks. Mr Bird agrees. Mr De Feu says there is a need for a robust pedestrian count. Mr Bird agrees. This would also apply to population centres, Mr Du Feu asks. Mr Bird says villagers had footways. But there were no counters in the villages, Mr Du Feu says. Vulnerable users were not recorded by the counters in the villlagers, Mr Bird conceded.
Mr Du Feu says the methodology underestimated pedestrians, Cuadrilla acknowledged this and did nothing about it. Mr Bird says there were no surveys outside a school but the pedestrian activity was taken into account in other ways.
Mr Du Feu asks for the evidence of the impact on vulnerable users without any survey in population centres. Mr Bird says he has observed Elswick, Inskip and Roseacre many times. The locations without foot ways are more relevant, he says.
Mr Du Feu says this is not included in the traffic data. Mr Bird accepts there is no data from Elswick. There is no data from the population centres, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird says there is a counter in Clifton.
Mr Du Feu says there has been no assessment of desire lines and likely trips of pedestrians in population centres. Mr Bird says the purpose is to assess the interaction of pedestrians and HGVs. Pedestrians on footways are a different issue from where there is no footway.
Mr Du Feu says most of swept path analysis talks about overhanging footways. This does not take into account footways, he says. I don’t know why you say this, Mr Bird says.
Mr Du Feu says conflicts arise at other occasions, when they cross roads, for example. Narrow footways and roads can lead to conflict, he suggests. Mr Bird agrees.
Mr Bird agrees there was no count of vulnerable users in Rosacre. He has observed this on several occasions, he says. He agrees there are facilities that generate pedestrian movement in Roseacre.
Outside Roseacre village, Mr Du Feu says Mr Bird counted only five pedestrians on the road. There is no reference to observations on other parts of the route that Mr Bird is relying, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird says you can’t measure every link in a road network. We selected the links to survey and made the assessment on the data.
Mr Du Feu says if you rely on data that does not reflect pedestrian flows you may come to a conclusion that was different if you had used actual flows. Mr Bird says the survey points were chosen where vulnerable users interacted with vehicles where there was no footway.
The inquiry resumes at 3.45pm
Lancashire County Council cross-examines Cuadrilla traffic expert
Alan Evans (left), for Lancashire County Council, cross-examines the Cuadrilla traffic expert, David Bird, about the three proposed traffic routes and measures such as passing places and traffic signals.
3.25pm Salwick Road/Inskip Road junction
Mr Evans says a vehicle turning left from Inskip Road into Salwick Road would not see a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction because a wood blocks visibility.
The south-bound vehicle might have to stop during its turning manoeuvre when it sees the north-bound vehicle, Mr Evans suggest. Mr Bird says this is a worst case scenario.
There is a possibility for rear-end shunts, Mr Evans suggest.
Only when a vehicle stops quickly, Mr Bird says.
3.01pm Traffic signals on Dagger Road
Mr Evans asks about width of the road needed before a car can pass an HGV. Mr Bird says 4.8m is required. The area of the traffic signals on Dagger Road has areas where the width is 4.62m, Mr Evans says. Mr Bird says vehicles currently use the verges to pass.
Mr Evans says if there is a significant increase in HGV traffic in this section of the route. Mr Bird says verges are available.
Mr Evans says the traffic lights will not improve the issue of Cuadrilla HGVs meeting cars. Mr Bird agrees. The signals will not be triggered until two HGVs approach each other.
Mr Evans suggests that 70 seconds proposed by Cuadrilla is on the light side. He asks whether an inexperienced driver may consider there was a fault with the lights because they were on red for a period of time. Mr Bird says temporary road works had red light signals for just over two minutes.
Mr Bird says there would be signs warning of the signals. Drivers will have time to react before the signals went to red. He adds there would be full consultation with farmers before signals were installed. There will be good visibility for drivers to see any agricultural vehicles leaving.
Mr Evans asks why Cuadrilla has included Moss Lane East in the traffic signal control area. This introduces further possibilities for extra traffic to conflict with site HGVs on Dagger Road, he says.
“You are creating a risky situation, aren’t you?”
The inspector says a sideroad appears to enter the traffic control area.
This has not changed, Mr Bird says. “This is a very little-used junction”.
People in the audience shake their heads.
It will be predominantly light vehicles using that road, Mr Bird says.
People in the audience laugh.
There is good visibility, Mr Bird says. The vehicles would come out in the normal way. It doesn’t alter what happens at the moment.
Mr Evans says: “An HGV may have a green light to come down the road”.
Mr Bird says the HGV would expect to see other vehicles.
2.52pm Junction visibility
Mr Evans refers to the junction of Preston Road and Higham Side Road in Inskip. Mr Evans says the speeds mentioned by Cuadrilla for this junction were recorded at another location in the village. It is a long way from the junction, Mr Evans says. Mr Bird says there is no particular reason why the speeds would be different. He concedes there are no speeds at the junction.
Mr Evans lorries using this junction could meet outside the Derby Arms hotel without using the hardstanding. Mr Bird agrees. The hardstanding is part of the footway, Mr Evans suggests. Mr Bird says two HGVs were unlikely to meet very often or have to reverse. The availability of the hardstanding could not be guaranteed, Mr Evans suggests. Mr Bird says it is almost inconceivable that two HGVs would meet when a pedestrian was on the hardstanding.
2.49pm Water collecting in passing places
Mr Evans suggests Cuadrilla had not considered the problem of ponding in passing places before it was raised by the county council. Mr Bird says this would be considered at detailed design stage.
Mr Evans says one of the factors in the recommendation for refusal at the last inqiry was that Cuadrilla said issues would be left to the detailed design. We’re repeating ourselves, Mr Evans suggests.
Mr Bird replies it is a usual decision to deal with this issue at detailed design stage. We have put forward a range of solutions. It would not be appropriate to produced detailed designs for each passing place.
2.41pm Distance between passing places
On Higham Side Road, Inskip, Mr Evans says drivers would need to make a decision on whether to stop at a passing place 400m away.
Mr Bird says HGV drivers will be trained to look out for the need to stop. Mr Evans says other drivers may not be used to the passing places or the extra HGVs. Mr Bird says this is a straight road with good visibility. He says:
“We have produced the mitigation that we think will work.”
They may have to use the verge, Mr Bird says. Or reverse, Mr Evans replies. This is more risky, Mr Evans suggests.
“This has not been happening and causing concern on a day to day basis”, Mr Bird replies. We are trying to improve things to avoid using the verge.
2.34pm Creating passing places
Mr Evans refers to a passing place on the green route, on a bend on Roseacre Road. He says a number of the passing places are on bends, he says. Bends impede visibility. Mr Bird agrees. They are also close to hedgerows, Mr Evans adds. There is virtually no distance from the extension of the carriageway and the hedge, Mr Evans asks. It is tight up against the hedgerow, Mr Bird concedes. This is more highway widening than a passing place, he says. This is paving that piece of verge. How are you going to construct this without damaging the hedge, Mr Evans asks. This is a construction detail and it is not impractical.
The safety auditor says there should be bollards on passing places, Mr Evans says. Mr Bird says this is effectively carriageway widening and bollards would not be needed.
To get into the passing place, the HGV will have to swing across the carriageway, Mr Evans asks. Mr Bird agrees but he says this is not a daily occurrence. We have shown it works, he says. The driver needs to proceed with care, he adds. It needs precise positioning that will not be achieved in practice, Mr Evans says. We will have to disagree, Mr Bird says.
The wing mirrors will clip, Mr Evans says. The HGV drivers will not allow that to happen. They are doing this already, Mr Bird says. You are introducing more HGVs, Mr Evans says.
2.23pm Operation of passing places
Cuadrilla proposes a series of passing places on the green route along Roseacre Road. Mr Evans says the council believes that drivers have to decide whether to stop, as they approach a passing place. The decision point depends on the speed and the driver, Mr Bird says.
Mr Evans says there is no demonstration that drivers will be able to see from one passing place to the next. Mr Bird says some of the passing places are only widenings of the road. Drivers will be educated to look ahead to the next passing place. There does not need to be a lot of advance visibility between passing places, Mr Bird says. It’s what you do on rural roads, he adds.
Mr Evans says other HGV drivers will not be educated. Mr Bird responds that these drivers are behaving in these ways already. This will require precise driver behaviour, Mr Evans says. The inspector asks the two sides to agree where they disagree on visibility on passing places before the site visit.
Mr Evans asks about visibility issues at the junction of Roseacre Road junction with Elswick High Street. He says there is nothing in the guidance about measuring visibility to the centre line in cases like this. But this is the approach taken by Mr Bird. Mr Bird says the inspector will understand at the site visit how the judgement has been made.
1.58pm Traffic impacts
Mr Evans says there is no difference between the council and Cuadrilla on the assessment of traffic impacts.
But Mr Evans says the council’s experts are more concerned about visibility than Cuadrilla’s. The issue arises at several junctions and bends on the routes because of roadside hedges, he says. Mr Evans says the council can react if hedges obscure visibility. It will take time for the council to respond, he says. Mr Bird agrees. Mr Bird says HGV drivers will be at a height of about 2m so should be able to see across the hedges.
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird that Cuadrilla has addressed conflicts between two HGVs. But a site HGV may also be in conflict with other vehicles. Mr Bird agrees. He says a light vehicle would be able to pass an HGV.
1.50pm Environmental impact assessment
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird that the Roseacre Road part of the proposed lorry route should be considered a sensitive link because there is a playground. This wasn’t included in Mr Bird’s assessment but doesn’t affect the conclusion, he said yesterday.
Mr Bird says the assessment considered what he called the “mechanistic” significance of the impact, based on magnitude of impact and the sensitivity of a receptor. Mr Bird says he then applied professional judgement. The “reality” in Roseacre Road came to different conclusion than the mechanistic impact, he says. Mr Evans puts it to him that if he had followed the guidelines there would have been an adverse impact. Mr Bird says the magnitude was high with a medium receptor. The impact was therefore major.
Mr Evans puts it to him that he has moderated the conclusion of the assessment because on professional judgement. Mr Bird agrees.
1.45pm Arup views on green and red routes
Mr Evans says Arup, when employed by Cuadrilla, had views on the proposed red and green routes. Mr Bird says Arup’s views are not necessarily relevant. We have undertaken a different assessment, with different data and come to a different conclusion.
Mr Evans says other routes considered by Mr Bird had been ruled out because there were sufficiently serious issues. Mr Bird agrees. This is what Arup did, Mr Evans suggests. Mr Bird agrees. Arup proposed one route and rejected the now-proposed red and green routes.
On the red route, Mr Evans says, Arup rejected it because of a bend in Inskip. That was their judgement, Mr Bird says. The inspector needs to make a decision before this inquiry. Mr Evans put it to Mr Bird that he concludes it is a tight bend with restricted visibility. Mr Bird says he has suggested a convex mirror and dealt with speed and visibility. The inspector needs to draw his conclusion, he adds.
1.40pm Route selection
Mr Evans put it to Mr Bird that he had concluded sections of the lorry routes would require traffic management measures to be suitable. On Dagger Road, there would be more verge disruption without traffic signals, Mr Bird says. I would not accept the mitigation necessary, he says.
Why did you write that traffic management measures would be required, Mr Evans asks.
Mr Bird says his argument is that HGVs pass at the moment without accidents. Additional HGVs would not necessarily mean more accidents. But he says we understand the concerns and risk and therefore offer mitigation. Hedges could not be cut back so other measures would be needed to address the risks.
1.35pm Housing developments
Mr Evans asks Mr Bird about housing developments mentioned yesterday in Inskip and Clifton which he said would have more HGV movements than Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood site.
Mr Evans put it to him that the focus of HGV movements would be on the southern end of Cuadrilla’s blue route. Developments would not affect Dagger Road, Mr Evans said. Mr Bird agreed.
1.33pm Inquiry resumes
The inquiry resume at 1.39pm
Lancashire County Council cross-examination
Alan Evans, for Lancashire County Council, cross-examines the Cuadrilla traffic expert, David Bird.
12.50pm Worst case versus reality
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird that planning conditions will not be able to control the size of lorries. Mr Bird agrees. It depends on the materials that need to be moved, he says.
Routes would be affected by protests, suppliers and locations, Mr Bird agrees. This can’t be controlled by conditions, Mr Evans suggests. Correct, says Mr Bird.
There is no way of knowing in advance how the use of the route would work out, Mr Evans says. Mr Bird agrees. That’s why we have assessed the impact of 50 HGVs a day on each route, he says.
That is a realistic assessment, Mr Evans puts it to him. Mr Bird says it is the worst case daily. You can’t get worse than that because of the conditions limiting daily HGV movements to 50 two-way movements. It could happen for a significant duration of the project, Mr Evans says. “In theory it could happen but in practice it is unlikely”, Mr Bird says.
We should give weight to the worst case, Mr Evans says. We are not shying away from it, Mr Bird replies.
12.40pm Peak HGV movements
The previous inquiry heard that HGV movements would be at peak levels of 40-50 two-way movements on 12 weeks. The current inquiry has been told that on one scenario the peak traffic flows of the largest HGVs would be the same. If Cuadrilla did not tanker off surface water and used matting rather than stone surfacing this would fall to seven weeks.
Mr Evans put it to Mr Bird that there would be 141 days when there were more than 25 HGV movements. On 114 days, these would be more than 25 movements of the largest HGVs. Mr Bird accepts this.
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird that on one scenario there would be 55 weeks – more than a year – over the period of the project when there would be more than 25 HGV movements per day. On another scenario – if Cuadrilla did not tanker surface water and used surface matting – this wold fall to 43. Mr Bird says he will check the figures. The inspector asks for the workings.
12.36pm Accident records
Mr Bird has said “significant weight should be attached to published accident records”.
Mr Evans says that is not how the 2016 inspector approached the accident record. He puts it to Mr Bird that she took a more cautious approach. Mr Bird says she gave different weight to the accident record.
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird that it is a matter of judgement. Mr Bird agrees.
The 2016 inspector says just because accident had not happened in the past it would not mean they would not happen in future, given the changed circumstances. One of her particular concerns was the increase in large articulated heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
12.22pm Increased traffic
On a worst case, Mr Evans says there would be overall traffic increases because of the proposed development of more than 80% on Dagger Road and Salwick Road. Other roads would see increases of 40-60%. Mr Bird accepts this is correct.
For the larger heavy goods vehicles, Mr Evans says there would be more than 100% increases on some roads on an average day. In some cases the increase would be 200%. Mr Bird accepts this.
Mr Evans says this informs judgements about safety and risk. Mr Bird says he’s not “entirely sure where the questions are going”. You are presenting a different way of doing the analysis. At no point has this been put in the consultation response, Mr Bird says. The potential change in OGV2 (larger heavy goods vehicles) may be relevant, he adds.
Mr Bird says the routes should be assessed on environmental impact. This has been done to an agreed methodology. This is different to risks when two heavy goods vehicles meet.
12.16pm Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) classification
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird that HGVs are divided into classes, OGV1 and OGV2, based on size. Mr Evans questions whether some vehicles have been assigned to the correct classification. He puts it to Mr Bird that most of the lorry traffic will be OGV2, the larger HGVs, including articulated vehicles. Mr Bird accepts this is correct.
12.15pm Pedestrians and equestians
Mr Evans says the county council accepts data from Cuadrilla on these flows. He puts it to Mr Bird that the county council should take into account data from other parties. Mr Bird says he has not seen anything that suggests that the county council is considering other data.
Mr Evans says Cuadrilla’s data shows higher level of cycling on local roads on Saturday mornings. He puts it to Mr Bird that this figure is similar to peaks on the network on weekdays. Mr Bird says “The facts are there”.
Mr Evans says some of the routes, including High Street, Elswick, Dagger Road, Higham Side Road and Station Road, are quite well used on weekdays, “Yes”, says Mr Bird. He adds “It is highly likely that most of those cyclists are in groups.”
Mr Evans suggests that the cycling groups are more likely at weekends. Mr Bird says most of the cyclists in the area are serious leisure cyclists in groups of two or three. Mr Evans says these groups are deserving of consideration as much as individual cyclists.
Mr Evans says there is more cycling on some routes in the week day than at the weekend. On Roseacre Road, there were 88 on a weekday compared with 74; Dagger Road: 38 on a weekday and 24 on a Saturday morning.
Mr Bird says “The facts are the facts”. He adds: “What we don’t know is the nature of the cyclists. At the weekend you would expect more family cyclists.”
Mr Evans says the width suggested by Mr Bird needed for a lorry to overtake a cyclist was intended for construction of new roads. On local roads, damage to the side of the road would force cyclists into the centre of the road. Mr Bird says he is a leisure cyclist. There is a protocol for cyclists to move into the road. An HGV driver would not overtake at this point.
Mr Evans says that there needs to be caution applying standards to these roads. Mr Bird accepts that cyclists may need to be further into the centre of the road.
Mr Evans says some sections of the route will be at 30-40mph. Mr Bird says HGV drivers would adjust their speeds. Mr Evans says this depends on the carriageway and the standard of the driver. Mr Bird says most HGV drivers will be sensible and adjust their speed to the conditions. That is clearly what happens at the moment given the accident record, he says.
11.54am Saturday deliveries
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird that the removal of Saturday deliveries was to reduce the impact of the project on vulnerable road users who use the roads for leisure. This accepts there is some level of impact is accepted, Mr Evans says. Mr Bird says Cuadrilla accepts this is a correct conclusion.
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird that this was presented by Cuadrilla as a real benefit. The potential effect of site-generated HGV traffic interacting with vulnerable road users would be a real disbenefit, Mr Evans said. Mr Bird says it was seen as a benefit to the community when there would be higher use at the weekend.
Cuadrilla’s own evidence shows there would have been fairly limited traffic at weekends, Mr Evans says. Mr Bird accepts this.
Based on Preston New Road data, there have been 108 two-way HGV movements over nine months of the drilling phase, Mr Evans says. Mr Bird says the weekend deliveries at Roseacre will not necessarily be the same as Preston New Road.
You’re telling us that Preston New Road is a good illustration, Mr Evans says.
Mr Bird says there is always a possibility that Saturday mornings could have been used if the programme at Roseacre Wood had slipped.
11.53am Data on vulnerable road users
Alan Evans, for Lancashire County Council, puts it to Mr Bird that data was collected on three days on vulnerable road users. On Lodge Lane and Preston Road the data was collected on a single day in September 2017.
Mr Bird says he can check on this. Mr Evans ask for a confirmation.
11.48am Data on the red route
Alan Evans, for Lancashire County Council asks David Bird about the collection of data for Preston Road and Lodge Lane. Mr Evans puts it to Mr Bird last summer these road were not considered as candidate routes for assessing the site.
Mr Bird says this is not the case. He says some data was not properly collected and there was a second wave of data collection. He says other routes, beyond the three chosen routes, had been consider and data was collected on it. Mr Evans says “Was there a reason why data was not collected initially on what became the red route”
Mr Bird says it was an evolutionary process on how Cuadrilla got a long list of routes and then final three routes. We did not reject the red route and then reinstate it, he says.
Mr Evans repeats:
“What was the reason for not collecting data on what became the red route”
Mr Bird says
“We hadn’t come to a conclusion at that stage not to include the red route and then chosen to include it.”
The inquiry resumes at 11.45am
Cuadrilla’s first witness on highway safety and vulnerable road users
11.23am Impact on vulnerable road users
David Bird, Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant, says ideally a lorry should give 4.6m space if it overtakes a cyclists. This would require 9.2m width if the lorry was to avoid crossing onto the other side of the road.
Mr Bird says is there are only two sections of the proposed lorry routes where there is not 4.6m to allow HGVs to pass cyclists.
11.16am Traffic management plan and highway safety
David Bird, Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant, comments on the previous inspector’s concerns that the traffic routes would have a severe and unacceptable impact on highway safety.
Mr Bird says the chance of two HGVs meeting on the highway network was small. He says for 88% of the duration of the project there would be 12 HGV movements on each route, six in each direction. HGVs will be managed to ensure they do not meet, except for one section of the routes. Six per day, less than one an hour, will reduce the chances of Cuadrilla HGVs meeting a non-Cuadrilla HGV.
If two HGVs meet on a tight bend, for example Preston Road in Inskip, the speed of approach would be very low. The likely of an injury accident would be very low, Mr Bird says.
If an HGV missed a passing place and met another HGV on a section where it could not pass, the most likely scenario is they would use the verges. This has been happening for the past many years, Mr Bird says. Verge protection is a key point for the inquiry, he says, not highway safety. They could alternatively reverse into the passing place.This is less likely, he says. The chance of this leading to a severe highway safety accident is “pretty low”, he says.
“Even if everything fails, the chance of an injury accident is relatively low”
11.12am Effectiveness of the traffic management plan
Cuadrilla no longer proposes to marshal heavy goods vehicles on the A583, Ms Lieven tells the inquiry. This had been questioned by the previous inspector.
David Bird, Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant, says ANPR [automatic number place recognition] cameras will be on the site exit and along the route. Companies would disciplined if heavy goods vehicles that did not use the correct route. This was used by other sites.
Cuadrilla will consider getting drivers to cycle the route to see how they should accommodate cyclists.
11.10am Accident data
The 2016 inspector was sceptical about accidents not happening in the future, even though they had not happened in the past.
Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant, David Bird, says the area has an excellent safety record. “This is the best evidence we have”, he says. If the area had evidence of many accidents this would be a major concern. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be applied to a good accident record, he says.
“Very significant weight should be given to that accident record”
11.09am Vulnerable road users
The inspector at the 2016 inquiry questions the accuracy of Cuadrilla’s figures on vulnerable road users.
Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant, David Bird, says there is new data on cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.
Cuadrilla’s first witness on the “blue” HGV route
Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant, David Bird, begins to give evidence about the company’s proposed blue route for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). This was the route considered by the previous 2016 inquiry. Cuadrilla has made some changes to its proposals to improve safety on this route.
10.59am Salwick Road/Inskip Road junction
The inspector at the 2016 inquiry had been concerned about this junction. The company had used Ordnance Survey data and it did not correspond with the situation on the ground, she had pointed out.
Mr Bird says Cuadrilla has carried out a topographical survey. He concedes that a vehicle would have to cross the centre line to navigate the junction. HGVs travelling in opposite directions would be able to see each other and take “appropriate action”, he says.
Speeds on Inskip Road were below 60 mph, Mr Bird says, so HGVs would not be turning onto a fast road.
10.50am Dagger Road
The previous inquiry had considered passing places along Dagger Road. The current inquiry is looking at a different proposal for traffic signals on Dagger Road.
Mr Bird says passing places with visibility would be difficult to achieve. The proposed signals would provide a safe solution, Mr Bird says.
The signals will come into operation only when two HGVs approach in opposite directions. We don’t expect this to happen very often, he says. Mr Bird says the signals will decide which traffic stream to stop, based on speed and number of vehicles.
Nathalie Lieven, for Cuadrilla, says opponents have raised the issue of delay to the HGVs and other traffic. Mr Bird says it would take about 1 minute 20 seconds to pass through traffic signal zone. “That is not an excessive wait time”, he says.
Ms Lieven asks what would happen if there was an agricultural vehicle leaving fields on Dagger Road. Mr Bird says the signals would account for this. There is good visibility, he says, and there is a “hugely small likelihood” that an agricultural vehicle would leave a field at the same time as an HGV arrives on the road. Mr Bird adds that this route could be avoided by Cuadrilla if there was agricultural work underway in the neighbouring fields.
10.27am Hand and Dagger junction
The previous inspector, Wendy McKay, had been concerned about this junction of Dagger Road, Treales Road and Station Road. She said it would require an extremely dangerous manoeuvre for a heavy goods vehicle to go through the junction. She also identified an adverse camber on toad at the junction, which would require extremely dangerous manoeuvre.
Mr Bird says the vehicles will stop at the stop line on the roads approaching the junction. He says a heavy goods vehicle approaching from the south would have to cross the centre lane. But there is visibility for a south-bound HGV. The evidence shows that two HGVs can go through the junction safely, he says.
Mr Bird says
“I don’t believe there is any evidence that it a difficult manoeuvre”.
He says there have been no HGV accidents on this section of route proposed to be used by Cuadrilla. There have been 10,000 HGVs making that manoeuvre over the past five years without accident or concern, Mr Bird says.
He says there have been concerns about vehicles coming along Station Road and turning left to go into Dagger Road. To suggest there is a severe adverse camber on the road is incorrect, Mr Bird says. It is a pretty normal road layout, he says. The HGV track remains on the more level piece of road. Technically “adverse camber” is going in the wrong direction, he says. Technically the description by the previous inspector was wrong, he says.
Inspector Melvyn Middleton says it can’t be seen from a photograph shown to the inquiry and will have to wait until the site visit.
He says concerns about fluid tankers over-turning are unfounded. He says the liquid would not slosh around. All the tankers would be totally filled, he says. He then concedes:
“You might have one tanker at the end of one day that would not be fully filled”.
“This is getting beyond my area of knowledge”
He repeats that the camber is not severe and would not be a problem.
Ms Lieven, for Cuadrilla, asks Mr Bird about the speeds of vehicles through the junction. Mr Bird HGVs in area were travelling west of the junction at about 28 miles per hour. Vehicles approaching the junction would be lower, he says.
Visibility north of the junction, up Dagger Road, rely on HGV drivers being able to see above hedges. This was raised by the inspector at the previous inquiry.
Mr Bird says the hedges are well-maintained at a level to allow HGVs to see over the top. There is no reason why that is suddenly going to change in the future, he says. If this happened, there are powers under the Highways Act to allow the county council to require the hedge to be trimmed. Mr Bird says:
“I don’t think that eventuality will occur”
The inspector at the 2016 inquiry also said HGVs coming in opposite directions at the junction could cause confusion to other trafficwhile they wait for each other. Mr Bird says two of the larger HGVs approach each other would be unlikely. If a driver behind the HGV got frustrated, they could overtake the HGV and attempt to cross it. This is highly unlikely and not advisable but technically they could take that risk, Mr Bird says.
Asked by Ms Lieven if this would cause highway safety issues, Mr Bird says: “NO I don’t think so”.
10.18am Road approaching the Hand and Dagger junction
Mr Bird raises the section of road coming up to the junction at the Hand and Dagger pub. He says he thinks heavy goods vehicles would be able to pass at the junction. But he says there are concerns about the embankment to the canal on one side of the road. If two HGVs did meet there is some verge available, he says. It is a straight piece of road so HGVs can see approaching vehicles.
10.05am Non-highway impacts
Nathalie Lieven, for Cuadrilla, raises non-highway impact that arise from two new routes proposed by Cuadrilla are potentially material impacts that should be considered. This was a concern for Roseacre Awareness Group yesterday. Mr Middleton, the inspector, had said this was outside his remit for the inquiry.
Ms Lieven says this issue should be dealt with in writing to the Secretary of State because these were not dealt with at the previous inquiry.
Ben Du Feu, for Roseacre Awareness Group, says in order to understand the impacts of highway safety you need to understand the communities on the new routes. More communities are affected with the new routes and they are affected differently. It is a material consideration. Presenting evidence at the inquiry would have allowed it to be tested. Mr Du Feu says the inspector needs to look at the communities to understand highway safety. If the inspector does not consider this, Mr Du Feu says RAG will have to write to the Secretary of State.
Ms Lieven says issues such as schools, playgrounds and footways should be considered. How this going to be dealt with has to be decided now – not until the decision is made.
Mervyn Middleton says he has no remit to report on the effect on local businesses. He says people should have asked the Secretary of State to widen the remit. If the parties are concerned that the impacts on the two new routes will be different they need to write to Secretary of State now.
Nathalie Lieven repeats that people should write about these issues to the Secretary of State.
10.03am Inquiry opens for the day
Inspector Melvyn Middleton opens the second day of the inquiry
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