Regulation

Live news updates: Day 2 of inquiry into Ineos shale gas plans at Woodsetts

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Location of Ineos proposed shale gas site at Woodsetts. Source: Ineos application

This post has live news updates from the second day of the public inquiry into Ineos Upstream’s shale gas plans in the South Yorkshire village of Woodsetts.

Today, the inquiry will hear cross-examination of the Woodsetts Against Fracking transport witness, Gerald Kells, followed by transport evidence from Ineos.

Ineos is seeking permission to drill a shale gas well and carry out a transient pressure test. It is not currently applying to frack the well. Rotherham Borough Council turned down the application twice in 2018.

The inquiry, in Rotherham, is expected to last eight days. The inspector, Katie Peerless, will also evidence on noise and impacts on landscape and public rights of way.

Our Woodsetts inquiry page  has background, headlines and links to daily reports. Our Woodsetts timeline page has links to articles about the site. Report from Day 1

These are news updates reported live and are not an official or verbatim record of the inquiry sessions. Please let us know if you spot mistakes or feel we have misrepresented the evidence.


Reporting at this inquiry has been made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers


Key points

We’ll be adding headlines from this session here throughout the day.

  • Woodsetts Against Fracking (WAF) transport witness disagrees with the council that the site access is safe and suitable access
  •  WAF’s transport witness says a road width of 6m is required for two HGVs to pass safely
  • Inquiry hears 6 out of 70 measurements of road width on the lorry route were under 6m
  • Shared access road to the proposed Ineos site is a concern, inquiry told
  • Ineos says the route to the site is safe and suitable
  • Ineos transport witness says it is not necessary to consider predicted traffic flows during school drop-off and pick-up times
  • Convoys could be used for heavy goods vehicles but the size has not been decided, Ineos tells the inquiry
  • Peak lorry movements would double on Dinnington Road, inquiry told. 
  • Ineos says this would be for a short period of time
  • Ineos transport witness declines to say where lorry staging areas would be because it is commercially-confidential information
  • Ineos has not considered pedestrian movements on the lorry route because the shale gas site would not change pedestrian movements

5.30pm Inquiry adjourns

The inquiry resumes at 9.30am on Thursday 13 June 2019.

Members of the public can put questions to Kevin Martin, the Ineos transport witness, at the start of the session, the inspector says.

The inquiry will also hear from Ineos witnesses, Tom Pickering and Andrew Buroni.


3.25pm Public statements

Adrian Knight, opponent

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Mr Knight, who lives in Woodsetts, urges the inspector not to allow planning permission.

He says there is a deed on the proposed site. Why is Ineos trying to ride roughshod over a deed?, Mr Knight asks. Why isn’t Ineos asking to use the land?, he asks.

The inquiry hears that the land is owned by the Hollingsworth family. They have entered into a deed to allow Scholey’s Farm Ltd to use the track without causing an obstruction.

Mr Knight says there are restrictions on the use of the land. Gordon Steele, the Ineos barrister, says nothing unlawful has been done at the Woodsetts site.

Mr Knight asks why Ineos has not gained permission from both parties to the deed: the Hollingsworth family and Scholey’s Farm. He also asks whether the company would modify the easement or to have the easement expelled.

The inspector, Katie Peerless, says planning permission can be sought even if the land is not owned or controlled. She questions whether Scholey’s Farm needs to be approached.

Kevin Wyndle

Mr Wyndle lives at the closest property to the proposed access track in Woodsetts. He says he moved into the house 10 weeks ago, assuming that the application would not be allowed.

He says was born with a collapsed lung and has regular breathing problems. He is worried about the impact of traffic emissions and noise. The drilling rig will be in a direct line. He is concerned about the impact of noise and light will have on his sleep. He says he has to sleep with the window open because of his breaching problems.

The five year project could be the rest of the life of the residents in Berne Square, next to the access track.

Mr Wyndle says he is horrified by a proposed 3m fence next to the right of way.

Had I known about the fence, he would not have bought the property. He wants to know why there have been no details about the fence. Mr Wyndle says he worked for 19 years as a prison officer. The fence would feel like he was in a prison again.

Christine Timmons

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Mrs Timmons uses the track that would be shared with Ineos vehicles several times a day to her home. This is the only vehicle access to her home. She says they have a right of access written into their deeds.

She opposes to the application because of noise and impact on views. But she says her main worry is having to share access to the site with Ineos HGVs.

Will we be prevented from using the track?, she asks. What happens if they are held up? The drawings show the gate for residents on the wrong side of the lane. What happens on dark winter evenings, she says.

The proposed 3m high fence terrifies me, she says. This will be like driving into a prison,she says. Will the security gate be locked. Will I have to wait for an Ineos security guard to let me in or out. Is this lawful, she asks.

If there is a solid fence blocking my view, I won’t be able to see other vehicles.

Protesters might gather at two points. It will be already being intimidating but it will be even more so if there are protesters. Visitors to her home will be deterred from visiting.

This has been going for two years but no one from Ineos has come to talk to her about my plans. I have had to find out for myself.

She says the arrangement is unsafe and should be refused.

Gordon Steele, for Ineos, asks whether the existing gate on the track is padlocked at night. No, says Mrs Timmons. Mr Steele says the first section of track would not be shared.

Mrs Timmons says there will be problems driving off the main road and leaving the site.  Mr Steele there will be staff on duty at all times on the gate on Dinnington Road. How is he going to let me know it is safe to me to join the track from my home?, Mrs Timmons asks.

Jack Parker, the barrister for Woodsetts Against Fracking, complains that Mr Steele is giving evidence on management of the entrance that his group is not aware of.

Mr Steele asks why Mrs Timmons cannot drive from her home onto the road next to it. Mrs Timmons says there is no vehicle right of access onto the road. You might want to take some legal advice, Mr Steele says.

Diane Kerrigan

The inquiry hears from another user of the track who owns a field. No one from Ineos has bothered to see me about gates and shared use of the track.

People who will come to my property may be intimidated, she says

No one has explained whether I will be stopped by security.

She has been told by Defra to control weeds on her field. She is concerned about the effect of the development on people who spray the weeds.

Will her sons gain access at night?, she asks. No one from Ineos has asked about use of the track.

Susan Wood

Mrs Wood has lived in Woodsetts for 27 years. She says footpaths and bridle paths are an integral part of village life. The paths affected by the Ineos scheme are widely used, she says. They are essential for physical and mental wellbeing.

It will transform the field into a noisy industrial setting, she says. This is not village life, she says. We should preserve the paths for future use.

Resident of Berne Square

Mr Harrison tells the inquiry he has been ill most of his life. He has had strokes, a brain hemorrhage and has a brain tumour. He also suffers from PTSD.

I like to get out into the garden, he says. I don’t want a 3m fence put outside my property.

People don’t want to see a field with a rig in it, with lorries coming through the village, he says.

He is concerned about dust from lorries on the track. Let’s not have this. Let them go somewhere else where there isn’t a village, he says.

Mike Hill

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Mr Hill says he has lived in Woodsetts for 40 years. His wife taught at the village primary school.

He is a retired construction manager. He worked on varied projects, including Nottingham Magistrates Court.

He says Ineos has misled people and the council.

A picture provided by Ineos during the consultation compared the rig with a wind turbine or a pylon tower. There are no pylon towers in Woodsetts and no wind turbines visible, he says. There are no turbines as high as those shown by Woodsetts.

The drilling rig would be 60m tall – but what the company did not state was that it would be on land higher than the village.  A more accurate comparison would be a local church tower that dominates the landscape.

Mr Hill asks why a 60m rig was needed. He says this would insert casing more quickly and penetrate the aquifer without risk. It would also allow directional drilling, he says. Why did not Ineos say this at the beginning, without misleading Woodsetts.

Ineos compared the Woodsetts scheme with one in Harthill. Mr Hill says the schemes are very different and the impact would be greater in Woodsetts residents.

On site selection, Mr Hill questions whether Ineos had selected the site based on the lowest impact on the environment. He says the drilling site is 800m from the school and 500m from the doctors. The Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Malton, says drilling should be 1km from villages. Don’t Ineos listen, Mr Hill asks. Mr Hill says wing mirrors of two bigger vehicles touch each other when travelling in opposite directions.

Ineos has a duty of care to the village, Mr Hill says. The company has not selected a site with minimum impacts, he says.

Questions and concerns about access

Mr Hill talks about other short-comings with the application, including:

  • No apparent provision for removal of top soil from the access track
  • Wheelwash facilities are quite some distance from the Dinnington Road
  • No turning areas for the largest articulated lorries
  • No account in vehicle movements of road sweeper
  • The vehicle delivering concrete shown in the application is not allowed on roads in the UK

Mr Hill says Ineos’s estimated number of lorry movements would be exceeded because of the need to level the site. He says granular fill only would require 9 vehicle movements an hour.

He asks how the foundations for the rig would be removed from the site at decommissioning and how would dust be controlled.

Mr Hill says it is upsetting when Woodsetts people pointed out deficiencies in the application they were ignored by Ineos.

Mr Hill says school pick up/drop off occurs at three times a day, five days a week. The company should also consider refuse collection days when the villages comes almost to a standstill, he says.

On shared access, Mr Hill questions how this will work. The second set of gates will not accommodate some of the vehicles and plant proposed by Ineos, he says. The largest equipment would require a rolling road closure, which would generate traffic movements, he says.

There is no apparent surface water run off plan from the surface track, Mr Hill says.

Mr Hill says there is a requirement of an access track at least 5m wide. It is half a mile long. Trucks would have to reverse down the track, he says.

Mr Hill also complains about the lack of traffic management plan.

He says:

In my opinion, Ineos should be made to clarify their traffic movements against the programme before the inquiry goes any further.

This should be possible to produce very quickly, Mr Hill says, and would allow everyone to “sing from the same hymn sheet”.

He says the proposal document does not accord with the drawings in the application. He suggests that the proposal is a generic document.

Gordon Steele, for Ineos, asks whether Mr Hill is a member of Woodsetts Against Fracking. No, says Mr Hill. I sent in my evidence independently.

Mr Steele asks whether Mr Hill attended the inquiry during the traffic evidence. For part of the time, says Mr Hill. You could have asked questions of Kevin Martin, the Ineos witness, says Mr Steele. I came as a member of the public, Mr Hill says. I didn’t know I could ask questions, Mr Hill says.

Mr Hill says Ineos needs a logistics expert to meet the programme dates.

Mr Hill says the company has not presented a management plan for traffic entering the site. Mr Steele says this will be a condition of any permission. Mr Hill says this will not satisfy the requirements of the programme.

The inspector says she said people could ask questions of the witnesses.

No one heard you say that, a member of the public gallery says.

The inspector, Katie Peerless, suggests that people put questions in writing to the Ineos witness. She invites Ineos to respond in writing to Mr Hill’s concerns. Any questions to Kevin Martin should be submitted in writing to the inspector.

Ms Peerless suggests that Mr Hill read Ineos proofs of evidence to check that question have not been answered. Mr Steele says it is not acceptable that Mr Hill has come to an inquiry and criticised Ineos without having read the evidence.

Mr Hill says he wanted to know why Ineos has not explained to the community why it wanted such a tall rig. The inspector says the company has explained its reasoning in proofs of evidence.

The inspector is asked when people can ask questions of a witness after they have been examined or cross-examined. People can put questions through the inspector, she says.


3.06pm Break

The inquiry resumes at 3.25pm to hear speeches from local residents.


3.03pm Review of Ineos transport evidence

Gordon Steele, barrister for Ineos, puts further questions to the company’s transport witness, Kevin Martin.

Mr Martin defends his decision not to carry out pedestrian surveys. He says the previous Harthill inquiry inspector was satisfied with a similar decision.

Mr Martin says the traffic management plan would decide on the details about convoys and escorts.


2.01pm Cross-examination on Ineos transport witness continues

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Public inquiry into Ineos plans at Woodsetts, 12 June 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Jack Parker, barrister for Woodsetts Against Fracking (WAF), continues to cross-examine Kevin Martin, the transport witness for Ineos.

Maximum lorry movements

Mr Martin had said that 56 lorry movements would occur on one day. Mr Parker put it to Mr Martin that there were other days when the daily movements would be close to 56. He agrees.

Road safety

Mr Martin had said there were no road safety issues that would be exacerbated by the proposals.

Residual cumulative impact

Mr Martin says he has not taken into account in assessing the residual cumulative impact a housing and mix-used development on the lorry route.

Staging areas for lorries

Mr Martin says the staging area for lorries is commercially confidential information.

Road width and HGVs

Asked if 6m road width is needed for two HGVs to pass, Mr Martin says “maybe”.

His evidence says other issues need to be considered if two HGVs were to pass on a 6m road. He says these would include road curves and traffic composition, but not volume of traffic or parking.

Mr Parker asks whether two HGVs would be able to pass at 45mph on a section of the lorry route that is 5.5m wide. Mr Martin says he can’t answer that question.

Mr Martin says there are reasonable numbers of regular HGVs now. Mr Parker says guidelines for new road require a minimum width of 6.8m where regular HGV traffic is expected.

Mr Martin says he accepts road width measurements taken by Woodsetts Against Fracking.

Accidents

Mr Parker puts it to Mr Martin that he found no accident clusters on the proposed lorry route because he has used a definition used for large projects such as HS2.

There are no clusters, trends or concerns, Mr Martin says.

Mr Parker says there have been a number of accidents on or near one section of the route. Mr Martin says in his professional judgement there is nothing in the Ineos scheme that would exacerbate the accident record.

Mr Parker says the 20-year accident record bears out concerns of the Woodsetts Against Fracking transport witness. Mr Martin says he’s never heard that 20-year accident records were used.

Safe and suitable access

The National Planning Policy Framework requires a development to have safe and suitable access.

Mr Martin says suitable access would be assessed by looking at the impact of the development on the environment. He agrees that an access would be unsuitable if people were deterred from using roads because of the impact of the development.

Mr Martin says he has not considered pedestrian movements on the affected route because there would be no change in pedestrian movements.

He adds that no pedestrian surveys were undertaken because there are pedestrian footways on both sides of the road. Nothing would change because of the development, he says. Mr Martin confirms he has not considered the width of the pavement.


2pm Inquiry resumes


1.03pm Break

The inquiry resumes at 2pm.


12.10am Cross-examination of Ineos transport witness

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Woodsetts Against Fracking (WAF) barrister, Jack Parker (left), cross-examines Kevin Martin, the Ineos transport witness.

Accident clusters

Mr Parker asks about the definition of accident cluster. Ineos has criticised the use of the word by WAF’s transport witness. Mr Martin says the definition he uses (nine injury accidents in 30m in three years) was one adopted by industry consultants for projects, such as HS2.

Temporary or permanent?

Mr Parker asks whether Institute of Environmental Assessment traffic guidelines would be applied differently for temporary or permanent developments. No says, Mr Martin. Do you apply the guidelines differently depending on location. Yes, says Mr Martin. Mr Martin accepts that uncertainty should also be taken into account when applying the guidelines. He says professional judgement would be used.

Averages or peaks?

Mr Parker puts it to Mr Martin that he would want to assess the worst-case scenario.

Mr Martin says average flows are standard practice. Mr Parker suggests that averages smooth out peaks.

Mr Parker puts it to Mr Martin that the proportion of heavy goods vehicles that are relevant to any predicted changes to traffic flows. Mr Martin agrees that the composition of increased traffic generated by the development. He says Ineos has done this in the Aecom review.

Mr Martin has not followed the IEA guidelines, Mr Parker suggests, because he has not considered the worst likely traffic flows. Mr Martin says industry standard apply the assessment with average traffic flows.

In your judgement, your assessment would not accord with the guidance because it is not applicable in these circumstances, Mr Parker asks.

Mr Martin says the IEA guidelines are more applicable to operational sites.

School pick-up and drop-off – times not considered

Mr Parker says Aecom has not considered peaks throughout the day. Mr Martin says there will be troughs as well as peaks.

Mr Parker says Aecom has not considered any particular sensitive times of day, such as school drop-off and pick-up times. Mr Martin says there is not a school on the access route. He says:

“I do not consider it is necessary to take account of something like that.”

Convoys – no decisions

Mr Parker asks Mr Martin how many vehicles would be in a convoy.

Mr Martin replies the traffic management plan is constantly evolving. Convoys may be used but there may not be. The size has not been decided, he says.

Mr Parker says Ineos has predicted three HGV movements in and out of the site per hour. Mr Martin says convoys reduce the number of events (lorry movements) in Woodsetts.

Mr Martin says the Rotherham planning board was told there would be a peak of 60 HGV movements a day (30 in and 30 out). This was described as relatively modest by the council’s transport officer, Mr Martin says.

Mr Parker puts it to Mr Martin the HGVs could be brought in by convoy, three in during the morning and three in the afternoon. Mr Martin says it is possible.

Number of HGVs – buses should be added, says Ineos

Mr Martin, the Ineos transport consultant, says the Woodsetts Against Fracking figures for current HGVs on the proposed lorry route do not include buses. He says they should include an extra 27 vehicles to the current totals. Mr Parker says Ineos evidence on current figures for HGVs don’t add up for one section of the lorry route.

Peak HGV movements

Mr Parker puts it to Mr Martin that maximum HGV movements would double on the Dinnington Road. This would be for a short period of time, Mr Martin says.

Mr Parker says there would be 60 peak daily HGV movements from the site, added to the 56 currently. This is an extreme assessment, Mr Martin replies.

Mr Parker says maximum daily HGV movements at each stage of the development would range from 43 (stage 2) to 51-56 in other stages. You are taking an extreme view, Mr Martin replies. He says some of these movements would be for just one day.

Limits on HGV movements

Mr Parker says there are no proposed conditions to limit daily movements. Mr Martin accepts that the daily movements could be higher.

Mr Parker asks Mr Martin whether he worked out the traffic generation estimates or whether they had been given to him. Mr Martin says the figures are very similar to those used at the Ineos proposed Bramleymoor Lane site.


11.50am Transport evidence from Ineos witness

Gordon Steele, Ineos’s barrister (above right), introduces the company’s transport witness, Kevin Martin, a director at the consultancy, Aecom (left).

Mr Martin makes corrections to three figures in a table in his written evidence.

Traffic impacts

Mr Martin says the impact of construction traffic was neutral. The impact would be temporary, he says.

Mr Martin says:

Highway officers have indicated that the proposed route can accommodate existing two-way vehicular flows and the predicted development traffic and that there is no evidence to suggest that incidents would be exacerbated by the development. I agree with the highway officers.

Independent transport consultants could not establish a sound evidential basis for maintaining an objection on traffic grounds at the inquiry, Mr Martin says.

He says:

“I have fully considered their position regarding highway safety and other transport matters and concluded that there is no sound material basis for their objection on transport grounds.”

He adds:

I conclude that safe and suitable access can be provided and that the mitigation proposed is appropriate and acceptable.

I have concluded that there is no unacceptable impact on highway safety and that there is no residual cumulative impact and the impact cannot be considered to be severe.

Mr Martin says the concerns of interested parties have been addressed.

“My evidence to this Inquiry is that there are no transport-related reasons that should prevent the proposed development from being approved at appeal.”

Asked whether Woodsetts Against Fracking’s transport position to be reasonable or unreasonable. Mr Martin says it is unreasonable.

Critique of Woodsetts Against Fracking evidence

Mr Martin, for Ineos, is invited to comment on evidence given to the inquiry by Gerald Kells, the witness for Woodsetts Against Fracking.

Mr Martin says Institute of Environmental Assessment guidelines, referred to by Mr Kells, have stood the test of time. Mr Kells had said they were not universally been used. Mr Martin says there are many recent projects in which they are used.

Mr Martin says Mr Kells did not appear to know the definition of a cluster of accidents. This means nine or more injury accidents in 30m in a three year period, Mr Martin says. Mr Kells’ use of the term does not apply to the Woodsetts traffic route.


11.47am Questions from inspector

Katie Peerless, the inspector, asks whether Woodsetts Against Fracking’s transport witness, Gerald Kells, has referred to local planning policies in his conclusion.

Mr Kells says the local policies were consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework, which he had used to reach his conclusion that the site did not have a safe or suitable access.


11.43am Re-examination

Jack Parker, the barrister for Woodsetts Against Fracking (WAF) reviews Mr Kells’ evidence.

Mr Parker says Rotherham Council’s transport officer define an HGV as 7.5 tonnes, the same weight used by Mr Kells.

Mr Kells tells the inquiry he was most concerned about additional vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes, rather than vehicles weighing 3.5t-7.5t, which the Department of Transport includes in the definition of HGV.


11.25am Cross-examination resumes

Mr Kells, the transport witness for Woodsetts Against Fracking, returns to the stand.

Mr Kells had previously said HGVs measured more than 7.5 tonnes. The Department of Transport defines them as 3.5 tonnes and above. Mr Kells tells the inquiry that Aecom, the transport consultant for Ineos, listed no HGVs with a weight from 3.5-7.5 tonnes.

Accidents

Mr Kells says there are a cluster of accidents on the proposed lorry route. He says the potential for accidents needs to be considered.

Safe and suitable access?

Mr Kells has argued that the Ineos proposed route is not safe or suitable.

Gordon Steele, the Ineos barrister, says the widths of the roads through Woodsetts are adequate.

Mr Kells says it is not just a matter of width. He says he has not seen an assessment of pedestrian movements in Woodsetts

Mr Steele puts it to Mr Kells, that with no qualifications, asks the inspector to accept his view, rather than the council’s experts, the councillors, and properly qualified expert transport consultants. Does it occur to you that you could be wrong, Mr Steele asks.

Mr Kells says he has set out how he reached his conclusion. I would hope it would be judged on its merits, he says.


11.15am Break

The inquiry resumes at 11.25am.


9.39am Cross-examination of Woodsetts Against Fracking transport witness

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Gerald Kells, transport witness for Woodsetts Against Fracking, 12 June 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The Ineos barrister, Gordon Steele QC, cross-examines the Woodsetts Against Fracking transport witness, Gerald Kells.

Qualifications

Mr Steele puts it to Mr Kells that he is a campaign adviser on fracking. Mr Kells says this is not correct.

Mr Steele asks whether Mr Kells has traffic, landscape, hydrogeology or planning qualifications or accreditation. Mr Kells says he does not.

Rotherham Council transport recommendation

Mr Steele puts it to Mr Kells that Rotherham Council traffic unit staff are qualified in traffic issues. Mr Kells agrees they are. The unit concluded that the access to the site could be safe and suitable. Mr Kells says he does not agree with the conclusions.

Mr Kells asks to expand on his answer. He says his conclusion is based on his analysis of the swept path analysis. The Rotherham Council unit came to a different conclusion, Mr Kells says.

Council withdrawal of transport objection

Rotherham Council invited external consultants to represent it at the inquiry on transport issues. Mr Steele put it to Mr Kells that the officers and the consultants  recommended the traffic objection to the scheme should be dropped at the inquiry.

Mr Kells says an FOI request showed that the council contacted six consultants. Five consultants were unable to represent the council for a variety of reasons, the FOI revealed. Mr Kells says the contact between the council and the consultants was limited to a phone call and an email reply.

The sixth consultant was willing to do the work but said there was insufficient information, Mr Kells says.

Mr Steele asked whether Mr Kells believed the council would not have given sufficient information. Mr Kells said I don’t know what level of information the consultants had but when the consultants were asked they responded that they could not take on information because of workload or not defensible position.

Mr Kells agreed two of the consultants were leading transport agencies. He said they provided swept path analysis at the Roseacre fracking site inquiry.

Mr Kells accepts that the council did withdraw the transport objection at the inquiry. He says he disagrees with the council conclusion that a safe and suitable access was possible.

Harthill and Woodsetts

The Ineos traffic expert says many of the issues at Woodsetts are similar to those examined at inquiries into the company’s schemes at Harthill and Marsh Lane.

Mr Kells says he disagrees that traffic issues at Woodsetts are different to those at Harthill.

Gordon Steele, barrister for Ineos, says Woodsetts Against Fracking has submitted a historic document for Harthill that did not form a part of the decision.

Mr Kells maintains the Harthill traffic issues are different to those at Woodsetts.

At the Bramleymoor Lane inquiry, the inspector concluded that the widths of the lorry route had under-estimated the width off the road at three selected pinch points by 1m.

Mr Kells says the inspector at that inquiry was not saying that 5.5m was adequate for two lorries to pass.

Roseacre

Mr Kells agrees he relies partly on the decision of the Roseacre inquiry into Cuadrilla’s fracking scheme.

Two inspector rejected the Roseacre scheme on traffic grounds.

Mr Kells maintains there are some significant differences between the Roseacre traffic route and the one proposed for Woodsetts.

The Roseacre inspectors were concerned about two HGVs being able to pass safely, Mr Kells agrees.

Guidelines

Mr Kells, for Woodsetts Against Fracking, says he believes there are limitations with Institute of Environmental Assessment guidelines.

Mr Steele, for Ineos, says these are the most up to date guidelines and are used universally.

Mr Kells says Cuadrilla did not rely on the IEA guidelines at the first Roseacre inquiry.

Definition of a heavy goods vehicle (HGV)

Mr Kells says he used 7.5 tonnes and above as his definition of an HGV.

Mr Steele puts it to Mr Kells that the Department of Transport consider HGVs to be 3.5 tonnes and above.

Mr Steels says:

“You are wrong. You don’t event know what an HGV is.”

Mr Kells says there was correspondence between the council and Ineos about the weight of an HGV and that others use 7.5 tonnes.

Required road width

Mr Kells has argued that a minimum of 6m is needed for two HGVs to pass safely.

He says he would like to see a wider road at the Butcher’s Arms junction in Woodsetts where there were higher pedestrian numbers.

Woodsetts Against Fracking (WAF) has measured road widths. Mr Kells says six out of 70 measurements are below 6m.

Mr Steele asks whether WAF had measured the width at Grange Avenue, inside Woodsetts. No, says Mr Kells. The measurement there is 7.2m, Mr Steele says.

Mr Kells agrees that WAF did not measure at Warren Close, where the road is 7.2m.

He says the narrow point of the route  coincides with other safety issues. In Woodsetts village, the roads are above 6m and are adequate, barring parked cars, he says.

Mr Steele says the Manual for the Streets guidelines say HGVs can pass on a road width of 5.5m. Mr Kells says on an urban road it would be possible but not desirable. It would be a right manoeuvre, Mr Kells says.

Site access

Mr Kells accepts the visibility splays are appropriate at the site access.

He says there is potential for conflict at the site access but he concedes he has not measured the road width.

Mr Kells says he has concerns about the shared access.

He says the revised plans for security gates, which have been moved further down the access road, should alleviate concerns about lorries queuing on the road to get into the site.

Mr Steele and Mr Kells disagree on Mr Kells’ conclusions about potential congestion on the proposed lorry route. “This is a well-trafficked road. It carries a significant amount of HGVs”, Mr Kells says.


9.30am Inquiry resumes

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Inquiry inspector, Katie Peerless, 12 June 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The inspector, Katie Peerless, opens the second session of the inquiry.

Gordon Steele, barrister for Ineos, says experts are continuing to discuss the noise impacts on residents in nearby sheltered housing.

The inspector schedules the site visit for Friday morning.


Reporting at this inquiry has been made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers

Categories: Regulation

15 replies »

  1. The most important issue regarding any attempts to expand the fossil fuel extraction and combustion industries relate to Climate Destruction and Environmental Destruction.
    Obviously reducing ‘greenhouse gas emissions’ to virtually nil in order to prevent Climate Destruction and Environmental Destruction is a prerequisite of human survival.
    Accordingly NO attempts to expand this industry should be considered.

    What is wrong with these people apart from greed and lack of a conscience?

    • I really don’t see why producing our own hydrocarbons will lead to us releasing more GHGs to the atmosphere. Taken as a whole, the pro-frackers seem far more concerned about the environment than the antis. Most of us are very keen to get to a zero carbon economy ASAP. We do however know that we will need to use gas for a long time to come – even if it’s only to produce hydrogen – so it just comes down to whether one wants to employ Qataris to get it out the ground or whether we do it ourselves. With the massive balance of payments deficit, I really don’t know how you think we can afford to buy gas from overseas. You’re not still a believer in Jeremy’s little money tree are you?

      • ‘I really don’t know how you think we can afford to buy gas from overseas.’

        China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) -> Kerogen -> AJ Lucas -> Cuadrilla

        China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) -> Nexen -> Igas

        If you support these companies…….

        shame on you!!

        Still seen no evidence that pro frackers are lobbying the Government to stop exporting as much home grown North sea gas as we import in LNG from places like Qatar.

        It would appear that pro frackers think it is a good idea to swap onshore shale gas for LNG but don’t want to swap North sea gas for LNG even though the infrastructure for North sea gas is in place, the skilled workforce is available and the energy experts tell us that North sea gas is far cheaper than fracked onshore shale gas could ever be.

        With the massive balance of payments deficit, I really don’t know how pro frackers think we could have afforded to buy UK shale gas.

        • To continue to argue that the UK exports significant amounts of the gas that it produces from the North Sea is simply untrue. Small amounts are exported the in cases where a field in UK waters can be connected to infrastructure going to Norway or Holland – which makes total sense and works both ways. There may also be a certain amount exported in cases where there is over production from tight sandstones during summer – again this makes sense because it is impossible to turn off the gas coming from these reservoirs and we have limited storage capacity. Either way one only needs to look at the balance of production to use in the UK to realise that we need to import nearly £10 billion of gas per year. To keep whining about uks exports either highlights your ignorance of the gas markets or suggests you’re purposefully trying to mislead the gullible- which one is it John

          • Well, John did produce the classic of ” plenty of cheap gas and oil sloshing around the world” just as the Beast from the East hit, so that would point in one direction. However, to be so careless subsequently with reality would point in the other, Judith.

            A bit of both may be the answer. It is not that uncommon within the anti scripts.

          • ‘To continue to argue that the UK exports significant amounts of the gas that it produces from the North Sea is simply untrue. Small amounts are exported’

            You mean like the ‘small amounts’ of imported LNG.

            In 2018 48.97 TWH were exported to Belgium.

            ‘The decrease in exports to 83 TWh in 2018 was caused by a substantial contraction in exports to Belgium (down 44 per cent) and a smaller contraction in exports to the Netherlands. Despite this, Belgium remains the largest export market for UK gas, comprising 59 per cent of total gas exports.’

            In 2018 45 TWH (approx. See page 32) of LNG was imported from Qatar.

            The total LNG imported was 85 TWH (approx.See page 32)

            https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/789481/Gas_March_2019.pdf

            83 is a similar number to 85 wouldn’t you agree?

            To keep whining about LNG imports either highlights your ignorance of the gas markets or suggests you’re purposefully trying to mislead the gullible.

            Which one is it?

            • Contract with Belgium has ended John – but you know this. Dutch exports down because the fields which can ONLY export to Netherlands are depleting. Why not look at the latest publish data for 2018 Q4? To remind you:

              The latest figures appear to be for Q4-2018;

              UK imported 152,945 GWhrs gas
              UK exported 9,603 GWhrs gas (6% of imports, a much smaller % of consumption)

              Of the exports 1,957 GWhrs was to the Netherlands. These are direct exports from the Chiswick, Grove, Kew, Markham, Minke, Orca, Stamford, Windermere and Wingate offshore gas fields. These fields not appear to have pipelines to the UK. Would you like to shut them in to stop exports?
              7,067 GWhrs went to Ireland as they don’t produce enough of their own gas and don’t have an LNG facility or pipeline to any other country. Would you like to cut Ireland off the gas grid?
              371 GWhrs to Isle of Man – ditto above.
              208 GWhrs to Belgium – insignificant and probably the contract end.

              Please let us know how you propose to divert the Den Helder UK gas to the UK? New pipeline into Bacton?

  2. Seems some would prefer to attempt to climb along the flimsy branch rather than gather the low hanging fruit, Judith.

    Well, we all know what that brings. It will bring a disconnect with the tax payer and absolutely zero chance of real progress.

    The antis are their own worst enemies. Rather than show the public how easy small steps can be made and get them on side they are more focused on their own utopia and failure to achieve that at any acceptable cost will turn the clock back rather than forward. Progress will not come from virtue signalling but small steps shown as achievable and achieved.

    If you were setting out a programme to achieve public acceptance the antis are doing the opposite. Perhaps, they will only be happy if they still have something to whinge about in 10 years time?

  3. Looking at the number of empty chairs on Day 2 it looks as if Day 1 was a bit of a false representation!

    Just noticed that the Sky poll today shows a MAJORITY against any tax increase to pay for carbon net zero by 2050-and that is even before the magnitude of the tax rise is outlined! And three quarters said they would not want to see cuts in public services to achieve it!

    Never mind, as someone put it today there are only 4 Chinas, 4 Indias and 4 Africas to also deal with before 2050 (that takes account of rising population and rising levels of consumption).

    Yet, the usual suspects are already saying it is not enough, or quick enough!

  4. Well, Mr. Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, seems to have grasped the reality!

    Turn gas into hydrogen and convert gas boilers to run on hydrogen. So, lots of gas required for a lot of years.

    (But, if all that hydrogen is going to be sloshing around why do we need electric cars? I thought there were already hydrogen fuelled cars that would run for around 700 kilometers on one tank, with a refill time the same as petrol/diesel?))

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world will follow the priority to eliminate world poverty and hunger (the first two of the UN sustainable goals) which will include 700 new coal-fired power stations built under the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” alone. The UK emissions reductions will continue to be undone more than 100 times over. (Prof. Michael J Kelly, Emeritus Prince Philip Professor of Technology, University of Cambridge.)

    Professor McKay seemed about right when he stated that “humanity really does need to pay attention to arithmetic and the laws of physics.

  5. “Two tankers evacuated in Gulf of Oman after reported attacks

    US and Iranian navies respond to distress calls from stricken vessels reportedly hit by explosions.”

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/uk-maritime-group-warns-incident-gulf-oman-190613054602630.html

    This reminds me of the late 1980’s when I lived in Dubai when we had a rig attacked by the Revolutionary Guard. The US sent a destroyer and obliterated the island the gun boats were based on. Hopefully it won’t escalate to that.

    But a good reason for not being dependent on oil and gas (and LNG) shipped from the Gulf. I’m sure you will agree JP. Let’s produce more UK gas, on and offshore.

  6. Looking at the comments from Mr. Stark, and some previous ones I saw from Oxford and Cambridge, if gas/oil was decarbonised surely rather than bury the carbon it could be converted to something useful and valuable? Graphene is carbon for example.

    A bit beyond my physics grade, but I am sure such alternatives could be examined.

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