Live updates from Day 3 of the reopened public inquiry 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 additional proposed lorry routes, 39 passing places and new traffic signals. 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
- 14,775 HGV movements expected at Roseacre Wood, assuming surface water is treated on site and not tankered off – 2,483 more movements than previously estimated
- Lancashire County Council says there have been 248 right-hand turn breaches of the traffic management plan at Preston New Road; Cuadrilla say there have been 8
- Environment Agency issues draft permit for water treatment at Preston New Road today, Cuadrilla says
- Convoys to Preston New Road are causing local alarm and fear, inquiry told
- Cuadrilla admits the Preston New Road programme overran and traffic numbers were underestimated
- Cuadrilla says protests were one – but not the only – factor behind the overrun at Preston New Road
- Cuadrilla confirms protests are one reason behind its new proposal for three lorry routes to the Roseacre Wood site
- Extra routes give flexibility, the company says
- The 2016 inspector was wrong to conclude the Hand and Dagger junction was unsafe for fracking lorries, says Cuadrilla’s traffic expert
- Large lorries need to drive on the wrong side of the road at key junctions and bends, says RAG
- Highways England not satisfied about use of A585 junction by Cuadrilla lorries, says RAG
- Cuadrilla dismisses Arup’s reasons for rejecting it proposed new re
- Most aggregates for fracking sites come from quarries or suppliers in the Lake District
- Cuadrilla’s technical director says anti-fracking protests will reduce when shale gas industry develops
Inspector, Melvyn Middleton, adjourns the hearing until 9.30am on Friday 13 April.
Council calls its traffic witness
Alan Evans, for Lancashire County Council, introduces his traffic witness, Neil Stevens, the strategic highways planning manager. The key issue is how Cuadrilla’s heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will navigate the proposed traffic routes, the passing places and traffic signals.
5.09pm Vehicles on the verge or footway
Mr Stevens is asked about heavy goods vehicles using the verge. He says vehicles should remain on the highway. They cause rutting on the verges. They pick up mud on to the road, which creates a hazard, Mr Stevens says.
If you cannot provide passing places, vehicles will have to reverse. Some of these vehicles are articulated lorries. Reversing creates a big safety issue, he says.
5.06pm Winter gritting
Mr Stevens the A585 is gritted by Highways England. The B5269 and the route from the A589 to the Hand and Dagger are primary routes and are gritted. All the rest are secondary routes and are gritted only after snow has continued for more after 24 hours and the resources are not needed elsewhere.
4.58pm Flooding in passing places
Mr Evans asks Mr Stevens about Cuadrilla’s approach that problems of flooding and drainage are a matter for detailed design.
Mr Stevens identifies proposed passing places in areas that are susceptible to flooding. Water collecting on the passing places could drain on to the highway, he says. There should be certainty that they could be delivered and that drainage can be achieved, Mr Stevens says. When you replace a grass verge with an impenetrable surface you are creating a bigger issue for flooding, Mr Stevens says.
I am not satisfied there are solutions in place to meet the problems, Mr Stevens says
4.48pm Creating passing places
We have to be certain there is sufficient width, Mr Stevens says.
On one location, Mr Stevens says there is no more space. You have to think about the practicalities of getting a digger to remove the verge when there are hedges in the way, he says. We are within 100mm of the boundary, assuming the plan is accurate.
At another location, Mr Stevens says the proposed passing place is so close to the highway boundary that the wing mirrors of heavy goods vehicles would be beyond the boundary.
4.42pm Operation of passing places
Mr Evans asks about how precise would drivers need to be in using passing places for them to work.
Mr Stevens gives an example of a passing place where, he says, Cuadrilla’s swept path analysis suggests a vehicle could not get into a passing place. The road is very acute. The HGV needs to go onto the wrong side of the road to allow other vehicles to pass. Wing mirrors of the opposing vehicles would clip, Mr Stevens says. Cuadrilla makes a “sweeping assumption that this location could be delivered”, Mr Stevens says.
Passing places have to be visible, Mr Stevens says. Drivers coming from one direction would not be aware of the location, he says. The safety audit proposed reflective bollards. But at this location there is no space to do this.
At many passing places, drivers will have to cross the carriageway. to reach them.
4.35pm Location of passing places
Mr Evans asks Mr Stevens to explain his view on how the passing places would work.
Mr Stevens says he looks at passing places from a driver perspective, rather than a theoretical approach.
He says drivers need to make a decision about whether to stop, what is the length the road to the next passing place and whether you will meet someone coming in the opposite direction. You have to assume that vehicle will be travelling at the same speed and that you can reach the passing place without risk. You also have to consider other types of vehicles and blind spots, Mr Stevens says,
David Bird, Cuadrilla’s traffic expert, has a different approach, Mr Stevens says. Drivers in reality do not take time to reflect or pause, as Mr Bird suggests, Mr Stevens says. You have to consider the passing place and the risk beyond that. If you can’t see the next passing place the risk heightens.
Mr Evans asks whether his criteria are met by Cuadrilla’s proposals. Mr Stevens says they are not for most of the passing place. You will not necessarily be able to see the next passing place or know where it will be. There will be a difference for people who know the route and those who don’t, Mr Stevens says.
Nathalie Lieven, for Cuadrilla, raises issues with the company’s technical director, Mark Lappin.
4.24pm Preston New Road traffic plan breaches
Ms Lieven asks Mr Lappin about the 248 drivers taking a right-hand turn into Preston New Road, in breach of the traffic management plan. Mr Lappin quoted eight breaches, one of these included a convoy of 27 vehicles.
Ms Lieven says under the traffic management plan, Cuadrilla will consult the police to deviate from the plan. This has happened, Mr Lappin confirms. Cuadrilla does not consider them to be breaches of the TMP, Mr Lappin confirms.
Ms Lieven asks whether the council raised concerns about breaches of the TMP. Mr Lappin says this has not happened. Mr Lappin says he does not recognise the 248 number. Ms Lieven says this number does not make sense to us.
4.23pm Driver education
Ms Lieven asks Mr Lappin how driver education is carried out by Cuadrilla. Mr Lappin says all drivers talk to the site within an hour of reaching the site. They are told what to do and about circumstances on the ground.
Ms Lieven says there will be analysis of the number of contractors to assess how possible driver education will be for Roseacre Wood.
More residents’ questions
Richard Nulty, of Greenhalgh with Thistleton Parish Council, asks questions of Cuadrilla’s technical director, Mark Lappin
Mr Nulty estimates there are about 20 minutes for an HGV to get from the A-road network to the Roseacre Wood site. Action could be taken in that time that would block access. Where would Cuadrilla wait in those circumstances, he asks.
Mr Lappin says it is hard for protesters to block something without the company knowing and turning the lorry round.
Mr Nulty says protesters could deflate tyres. This would block the network. If the vehicle turned round, where would this happen. There are not many places where a vehicle would turn round.
Mr Lappin says there are plenty of places to turn round. People in the audience laugh at this answer. I am not pretending those things will not happen. But we have many things in place so that they will be highly uncommon. Mr Nulty says he cannot thing of many places in his parish unless it went off the route network. Mr Lappin says lorries would not go off the route. Mr Lappin says there is space and time to turn round.
The inquiry resumes at 4.15pm
Residents question Cuadrilla’s technical director
Ben Du Feu, for Roseacre Awareness Group, (RAG) cross-examines Cuadrilla’s technical director, Mark Lappin
3.57pm Inskip defence facility
Mr Du Feu asks whether work on the Inskip site is needed and have those vehicles been accounted for. Mr Lappins says he does not know about work needed on the Inskip site.
Mr Du Feu says improvement of the internal access road on the Inskip site is part of the proposed conditions. Mr Lappin says he does not know about road changes there. Nathalie Lieven says the Ministry of Defence plans to upgrade the roads. These scheme has not been mapped out yet, she says. The traffic generated has not been included in Cuadrilla’s figures, she says.
3.50pm Types of HGV
Mr Du Feu says 80% of the construction and restoration phases will be 3-4 axle rigid heavy goods vehicles. During the rest of the project most of the HGVs will be articulated lorries, he says. Mr Lappin agrees.
3.38pm Heavy goods vehicles
Mr Du Feu tells the inquiry the revised numbers of HGVs generated by the construction phase. He tells the inquiry the figures are:
- Construction phase: 2,277 (previously 1,400). Mr Lappin agrees.
- Rig mobilisation: 221
- Drilling: 2,238 or 1,736 (assumes no surface water tankers)
- Fracking: 1,772 (wells 1/2) and 2,175 (wells 3/4)
- Pipe installation: 946
- Extended flow test: minimal
- Restoration: 3,410
Total: 14,775 HGV movements
The total assumes the surface water will be treated on site. The last inquiry heard there would be 12,292. This means the increase is 2,483 more lorry movements.
Nathalie Lieven tells the Environment Agency has issued a draft permit for treatment of surface water at Preston New Road.
Mr Du Feu says there’s no reason why a permit would be granted for Roseacre Wood. Mr Lappin says it is a planning assumption.
Mr Du Feu asks about planned overlaps between different operations to drill and frack up to four wells at the Roseacre Wood site. Mr Lappin concedes there may also be unplanned overlaps. Mr Du Feu asks whether Cuadrilla’s evidence on lorry movements include the overlaps. The company says it will check.
Council questions Cuadrilla’s technical director
Alan Evans, for Lancashire County Council, cross-examines Cuadrilla’s technical director, Mark Lappin.
Mr Evans asks Mr Lappin how he know whether the education programme at Preston New Road has been successful.
The level of compliance has been very high, Mr Lappin says.
Mr Evans asks if there has been compliance with the traffic management plan. Mr Lappin says yes there has.
Mr Evans says the original TMP says no right hand turns to the site. My instructions are that the traffic management plan was subject to a very significant number of breaches to the left-in-left out . I cannot accept number of breaches, Mr Lappin says. There have been breaches, Mr Lappin acknowledges.
Mr Evans says from 9 January 2017 to 30 March 2018 figures compiled by the county council show there have been 248 right-hand turn breaches out of 5,065 HGV deliveries.
This doesn’t fit with my figures, Mr Lappin says. He says in consultation with the police there may be right-hand turns. This would not be a breach.
Mr Evans says if the traffic management plan says no right turns then if there are right hand turns it would be a breach.
Mr Lappin gives his figures for traffic management plan breaches: 1 in Q1, 3 i Q2, 1 in Q3 and 3 in Q4.
3.15pm Driver education
Mr Evans says the draft traffic management plan will be geared towards the protection of vulnerable road users. Mr Lappin agrees.
Mr Evans suggests third party suppliers deliver equipment – Cuadrilla relies on others and does not employ a fleet of HGV drivers. Correct, says Mr Lappin.
There will be different suppliers at different phases of the project, Mr Evans suggests. Mr Lappin says there are common constant hauliers throughout the project, like diesel or water suppliers. But he agrees there will be a different cohort of suppliers. Mr Evans asks how many suppliers there are at Preston New Road. Mr Lappin says he doesn’t know.
Mr Evans asks whether protests have influenced the availability of contractors. Mr Lappin agrees. Mr Evans says suppliers have not been prepared to supply because of protest. That has happened, Mr Lappin says.
There is a fluctuating body of different drivers over the life of project, Mr Evans suggest. Mr Lappin agrees. Even with a common supplier you will not get the same driver, Mr Evans suggests. Mr Lappin agrees.
Mr Evans says it would be up to the supplier who would educate their own drivers to a specification set by Cuadrilla. Mr Lappin says some education will be between the drivers and Cuadrilla’s logistics team and some will be passed on by contractors to employees.
3.08pm Highway protests
Mr Evans suggests that protests will seek to cause maximum disruption. Mr Lappin says there is a spectrum. Some people do not seek to disrupt while others who do.
Mr Evans suggests that people who want to disrupt will focus on highway access. This is why the police are concerned about Roseacre Wood, he says.
Mr Lappin says the police have not necessarily covered this in a letter to Lancashire County Council. Mr Evans says it is stated in the letter – country lanes without pavements.
Mr Evans says protests may force Cuadrilla to focus on one or two routes, while one is subject to protest activity. That may happen, Mr Lappin says.
This may prevent Cuadrilla’s suppliers using the Inskip defence route, Mr Evans suggests. Mr Lappin says it could. This would mean drivers would have to use the Green route, Mr Evans says. That doesn’t follow, Mr Lappin says. He says there are other options. Such as, Mr Evans asks. “Waiting”, Mr Lappin says.
Mr Lappin says: “We don’t work to deliver things on “just in time basis”.
“I’m not saying we wouldn’t choose another route. But we could choose to stop.”
He adds equipment is there well in advance. It has been extremely rare in the drilling phase that equipment had to be delivered at a set time. During the construction phase, the company was learning how to deal with deliveries. We did get held up during the construction phase, he says, but during then and beyond we have had little down time because of protests because of the method of using the North Sea model.
Mr Evans asks about the North Sea model.
Mr Lappin says drill rigs need expensive equipment and materials and the cost of the drill rig is the same whether it is working or not so the model is to make sure it is not delayed. Deliveries could be delayed so to make sure you never have expensive equipment waiting you have a different approach. We have adopted this onshore. The equivalent of weather delay in the North Sea is protests.
3.05pm Designated protest area
Mr Evans says the proposed designated area at Preston New Road is not at the site entrance. Mr Lappin says it is at a location where the operation can be viewed.
It has been very little used, Mr Evans says. Mr Lappin agrees. In terms of directing protests to a safe area that hasn’t happened, Mr Evans says. Mr Lappin says corralling is the wrong word. It hasn’t been used, Mr Evans says. That’s accurate, Mr Lappin replies.
2.59pm Focus of protests
Mr Evans says the focus of protests at Preston New Road have been at the site entrance. He puts it to Mr Lappin that this is also likely to happen at Roseacre Wood on Roseacre Road. Mr Lappin says “when circumstances change all things change and people adapt”.
Mr Evans says Lancashire Police is concerned about” the safety implications of protests on narrow country lanes with no pavement”. This matches the site entrance on Roseacre Road, Mr Evans suggests. Mr Lappin agrees.
Mr Evans questions Mr Lappin on his expectation that protests will dissipate when the shale gas develops. The shale gas industry has not progressed to winning people over, Mr Evans asks. This is a longer term prognosis, Mr Evans suggests. Other industries have had protests that have died down, Mr Lappin says.
Mr Evans says there is no evidence to suggest that people will be won round and that the protests like Preston New Road won’t be repeated at Roseacre Wood. Mr Lappin says the industry will show that shale can be extracted safely.
Mr Evans says:
“Let’s be realistic about this. Similar issues are going to arrive [Roseacre Wood].
Mr Lappin says “I sincerely disagree.”
2.56pm Police comment on Roseacre Wood
Mr Evans says Lancashire Police are working on the assumption that there will be protests and has outlined concerns about the safety implications.
Mr Lappin says the police are saying they are planning for the eventuality of protests.
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Lappin that there has been a very significant level of protest activity.
Mr Lappin says there have been times of active protest and at other times not much at all. He says he agrees generally. He agrees it is continuing now.
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Lappin that the protests are one factor that influenced the revision of the programme. Mr Lappin says protest activity is one but not the only or the biggest factor.
Mr Evans says Cuadrilla would rely on the police to balance rights to protest and rights of the company to do its work. Mr Lappin agrees.
Mr Evans says there is likely to be similar levels of protest at Roseacre Wood. Mr Lappin says likely is not the right word.
Mr Evans puts it to Mr Lappin that it is essentially the same operation and there are large numbers of people opposed to hydraulic fracturing. Mr Lappin there are numbers opposed. Mr Evans says large numbers are willing to protest. Mr Lappin says this is right but he says protest is spectrum of activities.
Mr Evans says it has had a disruptive effect at Preston New Road. Mr Lappin agrees. Mr Evans says this has been taken into account in the programme and traffic management plan. There are exceptional circumstances which would allow out-of-hours deliveries if there are protests during the day. Mr Lappin.
Mr Evans says protests may be a reason behind the route strategy and the additional two routes. Mr Lappin agrees.
Cuadrilla’s technical director gives evidence
Nathalie Lieven QC, for Cuadrilla, questions the company’s technical director, Mark Lappin. Mr Lappin has been with Cuadrilla since 2017. He previously worked for Centrica, Cuadrilla’s partner in Lancashire.
2.45pm Traffic generation
Ms Lieven admits Cuadrilla under-estimated the level of traffic needed at Preston New Road. She asks how Cuadrilla knows it has got the estimate right for Roseacre Wood.
Mr Lappin says the company has learned from data at Preston New Road which can be applied to Roseacre Wood.
2.43pm Roseacre Wood programme
Ms Lieven says the Preston New Road programme overran. She asks why Roseacre Wood will not overrun. Mr Lappin says Cuadrilla now has the data from Preston New Road. Ms Lieven asks how accurate is the forecast on the fracking period. Mr Lappin says the time set aside for fracking at Roseacre Wood is generous. It is a conservative estimate, he says.
2.43pm Traffic management plan
Mr Lappin says the company has not hesitated to issue warnings or more training to suppliers who do not comply with the traffic management plan.
2.37pm Flowback fluid
Mr Lappin says the volume of flowback fluid was considered by the 2016 inquiries. The level of flowback at Preese Hall is not relevant to the horizontal wells planned at Roseacre Wood, he says. Lower levels of flowback fluid are expected at Roseacre Wood because of new technical developments, he says.
2.33pm Protest activity
Mr Lappin talks about protests outside Preston New Road. He says that when shale gas is developed throughout the country, protests will lessen.
If there is a substantial level of protest at a Roseacre Wood site, the police would be responsible for facilitating peaceful protest and keeping roads open.
Cuadrilla will designate a viewing area close to the site. This will provide people to conduct peaceful and lawful protest. It will be similar to one at Preston New Road, he says, though he acknowledges this has not been used.
The inquiry resumes at 2.30pm
Richard Nulty, of Greenhalgh with Thistleton Parish Council, asks a questions of David Bird. Mr Nulty says his parish includes the proposed Green and Red route.
1.49pm Conditions ignored
Mr Nulty says conditions to prevent lorries using Thistleton are often ignored to cut a corner. He asks how this could be achieved for Roseacre Wood.wouldMr Bird says Cuadrilla would be keen to avoid this short cut.
Mr Nulty says convoys to Preston New Road are causing fear and alarm locally. They are escorted by police with “blues and twos” and driving at high speeds. They congregate on the motorway hard shoulder, Mr Nulty says.
Mr Bird says these issues relate to convoys at Preston New Road moving on the A-road system. The size of convoys to Roseacre Wood would be smaller and escorted more sensitively.
1.45pm Delivery speeds
Mr Nulty asks for assurances that locally-employed contractors would respect speeds through the contract arrangements. They are trying to get several deliveries into a day. This is causing local concern, he says. Mr Bird says this will be attempted through education and induction
1.42pm Source of materials
Mr Nulty suggests that deliveries later into the project are more likely to come from the midlands and south of the site. Mr Bird suggests this may be true.
1.36pm Junction with Thistleton Road
Mr Nulty says the cumulative effect on traffic on the junction with the B5269 Thistleton Road is restricting developments in Elswick and Inskip.
Mr Bird says he is not aware of Highways England has recommended refusal of applications. He says Cuadrilla sought to consider the cumulative effect of developments and had put forward mitigation. He repeats that the accidents are on the other arm of the junction, not on the Thistleton Road side.
Mr Nulty says accidents are caused by drivers becoming frustrated by delays and taking risks.
1.34pm Junction capacity, accidents and closures
He asks Mr Bird about the capacity, accidents and closures on the A585. He asks what would happen if the A585 was closed.
Mr Bird says there are significant flows on the A585. The additional HGVs from Roseacre Wood on the A585 would be small. We do not consider that to be a relevant factor on the accident rate.
On road closures, Mr Bird says he expects these would be relatively short-lived. There would be flexibility to use the Blue route on this day. This wouldn’t happen that frequently, Mr Bird says
Inspector Melvyn Middleton puts questions to Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant, David Bird.
1.24pm Costs and routes
Mr Middleton asks if there has been a cost analysis of the new routes. Mr Bird says Cuadrilla is aware of the costs.
Mr Middleton asks why Cuadrilla has added two more routes. Mr Bird says his company, Vectos, did not agree with the reasons for rejecting the additional Green and Red routes. Cuadrilla saw the flexibility of having two extra routes, Mr Bird says. A lot of materials come from the north, he adds.
Mr Bird says most of the aggregate material comes from the quarries and suppliers in the Lake District.
Asked about driver behaviour, Mr Bird says the haulage contractors are required to train drivers. If drivers misbehave it is up to the contractor to deal with this problem. There are terms in the contracts.
Mr Middleton asks about communicating with drivers. Mr Bird says the lorries are tracked by GPS and Cuadrilla has contact with all the drivers. On monitoring with routes, Mr Bird says this would be done by automatic number plate recognition cameras. The cameras would log the route the lorries take, he says.
Re-examination of Cuadrilla traffic expert
Nathalie Lieven, for Cuadrilla, takes the company’s traffic consultant, David Bird over points raised by Lancashire County Council and Roseacre Awareness Group over the past two days.
Ms Lieven says a note on surveys of vulnerable users on the red route would be presented to the inquiry. This had been raised because it looked as if the survey had been carried out on one day.
1.19pm Highways England and A585 junction
The inquiry had heard that Highways England had recommended no right turn at the junction. But Ms Lieven says Highways England did not require this as a condition.
1.12pm Moss Lane East
Turning to the Blue route, Ms Lieven asks Mr Bird about traffic turning out of this lane into the traffic signal zone section of Dagger Road.
There was concern that people could turn from Moss Lane East into Dagger Road into the path of site HGVs released by the traffic lights.
Mr Bird says heavy goods vehicles, other than farm vehicles, are not likely to be using this junction. Vehicles turning north would be able to see HGVs coming towards you released by the traffic lights. Vehicles turning south would have good visibility, Mr Bird says. People in the audience indicate there is a bend and a dip.
Ms Lieven asks if there are places where you can pull in. Mr Bird says there farm entrances and pieces of verge.
1.11pm Inskip junction
Mr Derby says speeds at the junction in Inskip at the Derby pub are likely to be low.
1.07pm Precise driving
Ms Lieven says the opponents have suggested that Cuadrilla is relying on very precise driving. She asks Mr Bird what would be the approach of drivers now to narrow roads and limited visibility. He says “generally they proceed with caution”. Their caution is increased by the severity of the bends, he says.
1.04pm Hedges and visibility
Ms Lieven says there is an issue of relying on visibility across hedges growing on farmers’ land. There are legal rights where the county council can issue a notice requiring landowners to cut the hedges in 14 days, she says. The council can appeal to the magistrates court, if necessary.
12.57 Red route
Cuadrilla’s previous consultant, Arup, rejected the now proposed Red route for lorries, the inquiry has heard. Ms Lieven says Arup came to this decision because of accident between Elswick and Inskip, including an accident between a cyclist and an HVG on Lodge Lane. Mr Bird says a cycle went outside the coned area of the roadworks and was clipped by an agricultural vehicle. He says Cuadrilla’s operation has no impact on this accident record.
Arup also said there was a primary school on the route. Mr Bird says deliveries would avoid drop-off and pick-up times. He says there would be no impact of the Roseacre Wood project on the primary school.
Arup also rejected the route because of bends and junctions. Mr Bird says Arup had not done swept path analyses on these bends and junctions.
12.48 HGV generation
Ms Lieven asks Mr Bird about peak heavy goods vehicle movements. The previous 2016 inspector had said there would be a very significant increase of HGVs at peak periods.
Ms Lieven says it is “not entirely clear” what the inspector meant by peak periods. She asks Mr Bird what was the inspector referring to. Mr Bird says she was talking to 40-50 vehicles/day.
Cuadrilla has dropped deliveries on Saturdays to reduce the impact on cyclists. Lancashire County Council suggested the number of cyclists on Saturday were no greater than on some other days of the week. Mr Bird says the intensity of use by cyclists is less on Saturdays than during the week.
More cross-examination of Cuadrilla’s traffic expert
Ben Du Feu, representing Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG), resumes his cross-examination of David Bird, of Vectos, Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant.
12.43 Green route – Roseacre village and Roseacre Road bend
Mr Du Feu raises concerns about visibility and the impact of the traffic route on Roseacre village
12.39pm Green route – turn into Roseacre Road
The Green route takes heavy goods vehicles from the B5269 in Elswick, turning left (south) into Roseacre Road to the proposed site.
Mr Du Feu there are concerns about incoming and outgoing large HGVs coming into conflict with traffic in the opposite direction at the junction.
Mr Bird say this is currently one of the least trafficked sections of the bend.
12.37pm Green route – Elswick double bend
Mr Du Feu says heavy goods vehicles would need to use the wrong side of the road, putting it in conflict with other vehicles. Mr Bird agrees. Mr D Feu says there is also a problem of cars in Elswick. Mr Bird says HGVs would wait until there is an opening.
12.33pm Green route – Thistleton Road left turn
Mr Du Feu says there is a problem with parked cars for inbound heavy goods vehicles. They would have to swing out, he says. Mr Bird says an HGV could go onto another side of the carriageway..
12.18pm Green route – A585 junction
Cuadrilla’s Green route proposes to take vehicles from the A585 onto the B5269 Thistleton Road.
Highways England highlighted possible delays at the junction, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird dismisses this problem. He says there is “a very low level of use”.
Convoys could be using this junction, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird agrees but says convoys would not make the right turn from the south. Most of the materials come from the north, he says, and Cuadrilla would not want to get six vehicles across the carriageway in one go. Convoys would come in from the north and take the left turn into Thistleton Road, Mr Bird says.
Mr Du Feu asks how this would be dealt with. Mr Bird says it could be included in the traffic management plan.
Highways England concluded there were safety issues at the junction of traffic coming from side roads, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird says almost all the accidents are not on roads on the traffic route section at the junction.
Highways England recommended no right turns from the junction, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird says this isn’t necessary but the company would agree if required.
Mr Du Feu says Highways England also raised concerns about road damage. Mr Bird says Cuadrilla would pay for any damage.
Highways England is yet to be satisfied that the junction should be used, Mr Du Feu. Mr Bird says Highways England put forward conditions on any permission.
12.11pm Green Route
This is an additional route proposed by Cuadrilla. This runs from Roseacre Road, through Elswick to the A585.
This route would be used if the Inskip defence facility were not available, Mr Du Feu suggests. Mr Bird says “We don’t envisage a situation where this would occur”.
Mr Du Feu puts it to Mr Bird that two-way working of site HGVs is not appropriate on Roseacre Road on the Green Route. Mr Bird says this would not be unacceptable but could be useful.
Nathalie Lieven says a draft condition (8b) requires lorries to drive through the Inskip defence facility except from during the extended flow test phase.
Mr Du Feu asks what would happen if Inskip was not available (as allowed in the condition). Mr Bird says a one-way route would still apply to Roseacre Road.
12 noon Red Route – Highham Side Road junction
Mr Du Feu says inbound lorries turn off the B5269, right into Higham Side Road. When the vehicle turns here it is in conflict with all traffic, he says. The tractor and trailer of an articulated lorry will encroach on the pavement at the junction, he adds. Mr Bird says this does not need to happen but if a driver got the junction wrong it could happen. He says the speeds at the junction are very low because of poor visibility.
11.57am Red route – Crossmoor bends
Mr Du Feu says inbound heavy goods vehicles will substantially encroach on the wrong side of the road when they go through the bends, in conflict with all vehicles. Mr Bird says there is more room on the right-hand bend.
11.47am Red route – Preston Road/Lodge Lane junction
Mr Du Feu says inbound heavy goods vehicles turning right, even using a proposed passing places, overlaps the centre line of the road it is leaving. To get round the next bend, the driver has to position the vehicle into opposing carriageway, in conflict with all traffic coming towards it, Mr Du Feu says. At another left hand turn, an HGV again has to go into the opposite lane. It remains in the wrong lane for “a substantial amount of time”
Mr Bird says vehicles would be able to see each other and the lorries are soon back in the correct lane.
11.39am Red route – Lodge Lane bends in Elswick
Mr Du Feu says heavy goods vehicles in bound to the site would need to be on the opposite carriage ways to navigate two 90 degree bends on Lodge Lane. They require visibility through a hedge, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird says the hedges could be cut back. He says the chance of one of the HGVs having to reverse would would be low. 170 HGVs pass through this section of route every day. But Mr Du Feu says only about 30 of these are the biggest HGVs.
11.30am Red route – assessment
This route, introduced by Cuadrilla as an alternative route for heavy goods vehicles, goes from the A585, through Elswick and Inskip to Higham Side Road and then through the Inskip defence facility to join Roseacre Road.
Mr Du Feu says there are around 200 homes are on the route. Mr Bird says he does not have the number of properties in his head.
The inquiry resumes at 11.30am
Cross-examination of Cuadrilla traffic expert
Ben Du Feu, representing Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG), resumes his cross-examination of David Bird, of Vectos, Cuadrilla’s traffic consultant.
11.10am Blue route – A583 junction
Cuadrilla has amended its drawings of how larger heavy goods vehicles will navigate this junction. Mr Du Feu says there are concerns about whether this can be done safely. He says RAG says there is potential for a rear end swing out as an HGV inbound to the site turns right.
10.45am Blue route – Hand and Dagger junction
This is a dog-leg junction at the Hand and Dagger pub and is proposed to be used by heavy goods vehicles delivering to the Roseacre Wood site.
RAG is concerned that HGVs leaving the Roseacre Wood site would need to go on to the opposite side of the road to make a turn left out of Dagger Road into Treales Road. This puts them in conflict with oncoming traffic.
Mr Bird says “this would be pretty marginal”. He says the HGVs would not begin the movement from the right-hand traffic lane of Dagger Road.
Mr Du Feu says Cuadrilla’s analysis shows the HGV then need to go into the verge on the right hand side of Treales Road. He says the Treales Road has a 60mph speed limit. Mr Bird says the average speed is 46mph. Mr Bird adds there are thousands of left/right staggered junctions in the country.
Mr Du Feu says this section of the route has an adverse camber. Mr Bird says there is no greater risk of adverse camber to articulated lorries. He says there is “no shred of evidence” of overturning at this point. “This is highly unlikely”, Mr Bird adds. There is not a severe camber there, he says, as evidence by the “lack of accidents”.
The additional HGVs movements would be an “intensification” not a change in use of this section of road, Mr Bird adds. Mr Du Feu says there are currently 10 of the biggest articulated vehicles currently using Station Road and Dagger Road per day.
Mr Du Feu says RAG is concerned about incoming Cuadrilla HGVs coming into conflict with traffic at the junction.
Mr Bird says the conclusion by the inspection about this junction at the previous inquiry was wrong.
10.40am Blue route – visibility at the Inskip Road/Salwick Road junction
Mr Du Feu says RAG wants to check visibility of a passing place at the junction between Inskip Road and Salwick Road.
Mr Bird says RAG has not taken account of the mitigation proposed by Cuadrilla.
Mr Bird concedes that the largest heavy goods vehicles will need to go into the opposing carriageway to make the turn at the junction. He says is the key is whether that can be done safely.
Mr Du Feu says the junction is affected by flooding, partly because of the poor road condition on the inside of the bend. He says large HGVs would need to drive through flooded sections to turn at the junction.
10.30am Blue route – bend on Inskip Road
Mr Du Feu says Cuadrilla’s swept path analysis appears to smooth out the bend on Inskip Road coming up to the junction with Salwick Road.
Mr Bird says:
“I have no idea what you are saying here. There is no smoothing out of anything.”
Mr Du Feu says the bend is not shown accurately in Cuadrilla’s plans. Mr Bird says it is based on OS data. Mr Du Feu says the OS data is wrong. This affects the visibility at the junction, he says.
The inspector, Melvyn Middleton, says the inquiry needs to decide what the problem is.
10.20am Blue route – entrance to Inskip defence facility
Cuadrilla proposes to take vehicles through the Inskip facility to avoid one section of the public road. Mr Du Feu says RAG is concerned that outbound heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) would swing out into opposing lines of traffic when leaving the Inskip site. Traffic on Inskip Road would not be able to tell that the HGV would be on their side of the road, he says.
Mr Bird says different drivers will do the manoeuvre in different ways. There is good visibility, he says.
Mr Du Feu says traffic on Inskip Road may be confused about which side of the road the HGV is on. Mr Bird does not accept this. He says a technical analysis is needed to show the extent of the swing. Mr Du Feu says the speed limit is 60mph. Mr Bird says they are not travelling at that speed. Mr Du Feu says the average speed is 56mph – the fastest road on the proposed routes. Mr Bird says this speed was not recorded at the junction.
10.13am Blue route – “unacceptable”
At the previous inquiry, the inspector concluded that the original route – now called the blue route – was unacceptable and demonstrable harm had not been eliminated. Safe and suitable access had not been achieved, the previous inspector had said.
Mr Bird says this conclusion was based on the mitigation proposed at the time.
10.06am Banksmen at site entrances
Mr Du Feu asks Mr Bird about access to the proposed Roseacre Wood site and a route through the Inskip defence facility.
Mr Bird says there will be a facility to use banksmen to control access to the sites. Mr Du Feu asks whether a banksman will be used for the larger heavy goods vehicles. Mr Bird says he can’t say whether this will happen over the life of the Roseacre Wood development because he will not be there. This will be worked out on site, in conjunction with the country council, Mr Bird says.
Mr Du Feu says this response is more nuanced than Mr Bird said in his witness statement. The inspector, Melvyn Middleton, asks how the operation in conjunction with the council would work. Mr Bird says there have been discussions with the council over the Preston New Road site and there has been no disagreement between the council and Cuadrilla.
Mr Middleton says:
“The intention is there will be no belt and braces condition.”
Mr Bird replies:
“This is not something I have discussed with my clients.”
Nathalie Lieven, for Cuadrilla, says banksmen would be dealt with by the traffic management plan, which would be required as a condition.
9.33am Disagreements over risk assessments
The inquiry hears that the RAG traffic consultant, Tom Hastey, has done a risk assessment of junctions and key points on Cuadrilla’s proposed traffic route. Mr Bird, for Cuadrilla, has disagreed with Mr Hastey’s approach to carrying out risk assessments.
Mr Bird tells the inquiry he would use the desktop analysis, using the Track software programme, to assess how vehicles would pass each other at these points. He says he would then visit the site to take a view on the locations. It is a combination of desktop analysis and professional judgement, he says.
Mr Du Feu, for RAG, puts it to Mr Bird that Mr Hastey’s views are worth taking into account because he has experience of driving heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Mr Bird says this has to be tested by the inquiry.
Mr Du Feu says Mr Hastey has looked at severity of accident and likelihood of it occurring. That produces a matrix of scores, which identifies places where accidents would be likely or severe. Mr Bird dismisses this methodology.
Mr Du Feu points to a guideline risk assessment methodology which includes severity and potential for accidents. This is what Mr Hastey did, Mr Du Feu says. Mr Bird says there is no numerical assessment in Mr Hastey’s method.
Mr Du Feu says this method is carried out across the health and safety industry. Mr Bird says he has no problem with assessing risk. He says he disagrees with what he calls a subjective matrix that has no link to a database of accidents or what happens on the ground. He criticises what he describes as the “arbitrary assignment” of a number to a risk. “It is purely subjective”, Mr Bird says of Mr Hastey’s scoring. Mr Du Feu says the risk assessment approach has been used by Lancashire County Council, Highways England and Transport for London.
Mr Bird says he doesn’t want the inspector to think he does not agree with assessment of risk. He says he doesn’t agree with what he calls the “arbitrary” assignment of a number t the risk. He agrees that “experience should count for something”.
Mr Du Feu says the 2016 inspector gave consideration to Mr Hastey’s risk assessment.
9.30am Hearing begins
Inspector Melvyn Middleton opens the third day of the inquiry
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