Roseacre Wood inquiry April 2018

180410 RW inq 5

Outside the Roseacre Wood inquiry, 10 April 2018. Photo: Friends of the Earth

This page has links (in red) to the DrillOrDrop reports from the 2018 Roseacre Wood inquiry.

This is a reopened inquiry following hearings in February-March 2016. See DrillOrDrop page.

The inquiry is considering only highway safety issues identified at the previous hearings into Cuadrilla’s plans to drill and frack at Roseacre Wood near Blackpool. The inspector in 2016 had recommended refusal but the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, ordered the inquiry to reopen to give Cuadrilla another opportunity to prove it could operate the site without a severe impact on highway safety.

Preview of the inquiry: Monday 9 April 2018

Live updates from Day 1: Tuesday 10 April 2018

Picture post: Anti-fracking opponents rally outside Roseacre Wood inquiry

Key points from Day 1 – opening statements and Cuadrilla’s traffic expert

  • Cuadrilla says it won’t route lorries through Wharles, except in emergencies
  • Overnight convoys could be used at Roseacre Wood
  • Lancashire County Council says revised traffic plans don’t achieve safe access to Roseacre Wood
  • Two new routes had previously been rejected by the Cuadrilla – Cuadrilla say they have “excellent accident record”
  • Cuadrilla says new traffic data shows low numbers of pedestrians and horse riders on proposed routes
  • Cuadrilla to consider matting, rather than stone, as a surface material

Live updates from Day 2: Wednesday 11 April 2018

Key points from Day 2 – more from Cuadrilla’s traffic expert

  • Number plate recognition cameras to monitor whether Cuadrilla lorries use correct route to the site
  • On 55 weeks, there will be more than 25 daily lorry movements to the site
  • Cuadrilla traffic consultant says HGV can navigate the Hand and Dagger junction safely and signals on Dagger Road will prevent two HGVs meeting
  • Side roads entering traffic control zone creates “risky situation”, says county council
  • Cuadrilla didn’t survey vulnerable road users in villages and RAG says its counts are under-estimates
  • 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

Live updates from Day 3: Thursday 12 April 2018

Key points from Day 3 – evidence from the county council’s traffic expert

  • 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 – partly because of protests – and traffic numbers were underestimated

Live updates from Day 4: Friday 13 April 2018

Key points from Day 3 – questioning of the county council’s traffic expert

  • Cuadrilla challenges the council on its objections to the company’s highway scheme
  • Council’s traffic witness casts doubt on effectiveness and safety of proposed traffic signals and convex mirror
  • Cuadrilla will bear the cost of road widening and passing places

Live updates from Day 5: Tuesday 17 April 2018

Key points from Day 3 – questioning of the county council’s traffic expert and evidence from Roseacre Awareness Group

  • Weeks of peak traffic flow to Roseacre Wood scheme have risen from 12 to 18 weeks since the 2016 inquiry
  • Roads around Roseacre Wood are not suitable for Cuadrilla heavy goods vehicles, Lancashire’s traffic expert says
  • 90% of respondents to a Roseacre Awareness Group survey were concerned about Cuadrilla’s plans
  • Lancashire County Council says proposed driving training for Cuadrilla lorry drivers could make things worse
  • Lancashire County Council concedes some passing places have enough visibility but maintains its position that some are inadequate
  • Cuadrilla says many roads on the lorry routes are wide enough for HGVs to pass if they use the verge
  • Lancashire County Council says the use of verges should not be promoted – they are for drainage and refuges for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Cuadrilla says the inquiry is about highway safety only. Lancashire’s traffic witness says it is also about suitability of the route
  • Lancashire County Council’s traffic witness says he has never seen horse riders on any of the three proposed routes
  • Roseacre Awareness Group says Cuadrilla under-represented vulnerable road users in its traffic counts

Live updates from Day 6: Wednesday 18 April 2018

Evidence from Roseacre Awareness Group  highways expert

  • The absence of personal accidents does not mean a route is safe or suitable
  • Proposed traffic routes are ” inherently not safe and suitable”
  • Proposed passing places and traffic signals will make things worse for pedestrians and cyclists
  • No guarantee that Cuadrilla will use all three traffic routes
  • Good driver behaviour or education can’t be relied on
  • Cuadrilla is responsible for collecting traffic data – not RAG

Live updates from public statements on Day 6: Wednesday 18 April 2018

  • There will be protests outside the Roseacre Wood site
  • The increase in the biggest HGVs on Dagger Road could be 1,250%
  • Proposed lorry routes are well used by cyclists and horse riders during the week, as well as at weekends
  • “Mitigation measures do little to improve safety of other road users”
  • “Driver education proposals are extremely weak”
  • Questions over accuracy of Cuadrilla’s counts of pedestrians
  • Sowerby parish council opposes all proposed routes
  • “Lorry route would have a negative effect on Inskip primary school”
  • Roseacre Wood construction would coincide with building the Preston Western Distributor Road
  • “The inquiry inspector has not had a true picture of agricultural traffic on rural roads”
  • “Residents cannot trust Cuadrilla or a traffic management plan”
  • “The inquiry is an assault on the democratic process”
  • “Roseacre Wood will set a precedent for other villages around the country”
  • Proposed passing places total over 1km in length
  • “Revised traffic plans are an admission that Roseacre Wood is an unsuitable and unsafe location”
  • “HGV drivers at Preston New Road have shown a lack of diligence and care when entering the site”
  • The proposed HGV route has sections with no footway, bends and high hedges” and Dagger Road traffic signals are “ludicrous verging on suicidal”
  • “Cuadrilla HGVs will intimidate pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders”

Live updates from Day 7 – more public statements: Thursday 19 April

Key points from public statements given to the inquiry on Day 7

  • The A585/Thistleton Road junction – to be used by the Red and Green Routes – is already congested
  • The Inskip defence site – to be used by the Red and Blue Routes – has a height restriction which could block Cuadrilla lorries
  • Horse riders, who regularly use the proposed lorry routes in the absence of local bridleways, predict hazards and accidents
  • Roads around Roseacre Wood would be “challenging” in an emergency evacuation
  • Cuadrilla has made “an inappropriate assumption” that it will be able to dispose of surface water onsite
  • Local roads are inherently unsafe because they are narrow, winding, with high hedges, narrow verges, heavily used for leisure and in poor condition
  • Some proposed passing places are on private property or could block access to homes
  • The proposed use of verges would remove refuses for pedestrians and horse riders
  • There is uncertainty about the volume of flowback fluid and so uncertainty about the number of lorries
  • The proposed lorry routes appear to be “a theoretical exercise” that will inconvenience more people
  • Local roads see unpredictable weather conditions
  • Cuadrilla accused to unrepresentative survey of pedestrians and horse riders and of “a reckless disregard for public safety”
  • The large number of passing places “proves the routes are unacceptable”
  • The use of the proposed routes by Cuadrilla HGVs will affect nearby towns and villages
  • Representatives of three local councils reject all three routes

Live updates from Day 8 – Tuesday 24 April 2018

Key points from evidence from Roseacre Awareness Group traffic witness

  • Electric cables across the road on the MoD section of the route can be raised higher above the ground to accommodate large vehicles
  • Cuadrilla estimate 75% of deliveries will be made by regular drivers
  • An app will be provided for download to drivers’ phones, indicating routes and passing places
  • The Inspector suggests there were some orchestration during the site visit on Friday with, for example, more parked cars in Elswick than usual.  Ben Du Feu, for Roseacre Awareness Group, says they were not involved in any attempt to orchestrate the situation on the ground.
  • Transport witness for Rag, Tom Hastey, says the main problems for lorry drivers are breaking road edges, rutting caused on verges, vehicles swinging into oncoming traffic or overlapping pavements, and insufficient width for large vehicles with mirrors to pass safely

Live updates from Day 9 – more public statements: Tuesday 24 April 2018

Live updates from Day 9 – closing statements

  • Cuadrilla propose that the Blue Route may be suspended during harvest due to agricultural vehicles on Dagger Road
  • Parties agree that there is insufficient forward visibility at five passing places, three on the Green route and two on the Blue route
  • Cuadrilla have offered £100,000 for road maintenance and repair, and have mentioned a further fund to compensate landowners for any damage to hedges caused by road works
  • Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG) and Lancashire County Council (“the council”)  argue that the appeal should be rejected if any one of the routes is found to be unacceptable.  Cudrilla believe that the development could go ahead with two routes approved and one rejected.
  • The council and RAG agree that all the routes are unsafe and unsuitable
  • RAG claim there will need to be “inch perfect” maneouvres in some places for HGVs to pass each other safely
  • RAG describe the proposal to bring up to 9 convoys of vehicles in to the site overnight during its 6 year life as unacceptable
  • The Council claim that proposals for 39 passing places show the routes are unsuitable
  • The Council criticise proposals submitted in principle, rather than detailed technical information, with changes being made at a very late stage
  • The Council express concern that the Traffic Management Plan may be revised and not adhered to (as at Preston New Road)
  • Cuadrilla argue that the proposals should only be rejected if there was evidence that there was likely to be a large numeric increase in accidents involving personal injury, or in the likely severity of those accidents.
  • Cuadrilla dismisses evidence from RAG’s transport witness as “flawed”
  • Cuadrilla state that if the MoD site at Inskip becomes unavailable for more than 5 consecutive working days (thereby closing the blue and red routes), deliveries to the site will have to cease.
  • Cuadrilla believe there is no evidential basis for finding there is a severe impact on highway safety