Shale gas exploration firm Cuadrilla has revealed its revised road routes to its Roseacre Wood site which it hopes will persuade a planning inspector to allow fracking to go ahead.
In the previous planning inquiry, inspector Wendy McKay rejected the company’s bid to drill and frack at the rural field saying the roads and lanes were narrow and used by cyclists, walkers and horse riders. The government ordered a new inquiry with a new inspector, Melvyn Middleton, saying if traffic concerns could be overcome it would allow fracking to go ahead.
Now Cuadrilla has put its proposals out for consultation and has suggested using three routes some would have passing places constructed to allow traffic flow when HGVs are using it.
Up to 50 vehicle movements in and out of the site are predicted each day. The firm’s Green Route would run from A585 to the Site via B5269 Thistleton Road, Elswick High Street and Roseacre Road. The Red Route from A585 to the Site via B5269 Thistleton Road, Elswick High Street, Lodge Lane, Preston Road, and Higham Side Road and through the Ministry of Defence’s Inskip site. The Blue Route runs from A583 to the site via Clifton Lane, Station Road, Dagger Road, Salwick Road, and Inskip Road and through the DHFCS facility. This route would have temporary traffic lights to allow passing at certain places.
But the plans have been criticised by residents in the area.
Jim Nisbet, chairman of the Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “Cuadrilla’s new proposals to mitigate highway safety matters now appear to be impacting even more of the rural road network and more communities than their previous proposal that was thrown out by Wendy McKay. Looking at the detail they are looking to create a significant number of passing places across the area, all of this will create inconvenience to the travelling public.
“Their traffic management plan now calls for a set of traffic lights on one part of the network, it all smacks of desperation. The roads being targeted for the two additional routes are no more suitable than their original preferred route.”
But Cuadrilla’s chief executive Francis Egan said: “We believe that the proposed new route strategy and associated traffic management plan will meet the Secretary of State’s requirement to address outstanding highway safety questions. We will review feedback from the public consultation and look forward to presenting our proposals at the public inquiry next April.”