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Roseacre Inquiry Week 2

Roseacre Inquiry Week 2Former Green Party National Leader Natalie Bennett addresses anti-fracking protestors outside the Public Inquiry that began at Blackpool Football Club last week and continues this week.

At present this page is just a placeholder for the reports we hope to file live from the Roseacre Inquiry at Blackpool FC.

Week 2 started at 10am on Tuesday 17th April


There is a webcast of the proceedings.

Follow this link for the web cast PROTOCOL

Follow this link for the Cuadrilla Webcast itself.


One of the members of the public at the inquiry clearly has artistic skills - and a sense of humour - because they produced a cartoon showing their impression if the Inquiry so far....

. What do you think of the show so far?

We asked if we could share it with our readers - and the answer was yes, so we're happy to spread the skill and the humour.


 LINKS TO CONTENT ON THIS PAGE 

DAY 5:   17 APRIL 2018

Day 6:   18 APRIL 2018

INTERESTED PARTIES SESSION Slot 1

INTERESTED PARTIES SESSION Slot 2

DAY 7:   19 APRIL 2018

INTERESTED PARTIES SESSION  Slot 3

INTERESTED PARTIES SESSION Slot 4

DAY 8:   20 APRIL 2018



 DAY 5     (17 APRIL 2018)

  Inspector's Remarks

There was a lot of information here. Ms Leiven for Cuadrilla put in two additional clarifications. The first was about how the data on vulnerable road users has been collected, and whether it was over one or two days.

The second was about how much the granting of an Environment Agency permit to discharge into a ditch or drain would save in vehicle movements. It will be very significant.

But the main information was that the two side's traffic experts had gone out on Sunday and spent the whole day looking at the positions of the lay-bys etc, and Cuadrilla had produced a new document about it at 9:58  this morning (the meeting opened at 10am). Mr Stevens was looking at it as she spoke, and Mr Evans for LCC hadn't even seen it yet.

The parties agreed to change the order of the inquiry and suspend the cross examination to propose and argue this new evidence. an adjournment of 3/4 hour was agreed.

The Inspector asked for a meeting with all the parties to review timings for the rest of the Inquiry. He  was concerned that a very large number of members of the public had registered to speak (85 so far), and even with a 5 minute limit for each, it would take a great deal of time. He definitely wants to finish on Wednesday next week (Room not available on Thursday, and not enough time for closing statements on Friday). They agreed to review timing over lunch today.

 Neil Stevens: New Evidence on Passing Places and subsequent cross examination etc

MR STEVENS' EVIDENCE
He said they had looked at hedge heights etc but mostly they looked at the line of sight from one passing place to the next, and especially where it was over third party land. They'd agreed to use a recommended eye-line height of 2.1m for an HGV, and 1.6m for an average pedestrian.

He then went through the Blue route passing places one at a time and said whether it had been agreed or not. The first was agreed.

The second was not satisfactory for visibility in his view, (because of hedges and trees) but there was enough room to construct the passing place within the highway at this point.

On the Red route , the first passing place was OK, but Mr Evans wanted to know whether they had considered this spot from both directions. It seemed to be the case that they had. The next one seemed to be OK for sightlines, but there was still an area where vehicles could not pass. Mr Stevens had to agree that according to whether you could see from one to the next, they were all OK but he still had concerns about other matters.

The Green  route had an issue with hedges which were now 3 to 3.5 m tall and this has an impact on visibility going round the corners. One passing plave seemed OK; another not.  Two more were OK, but the next was not because of trees and hedges. However, he had previously said this passing place could not be built within the highway, but now, after check measuring on site, he seemed to think it might be possible to physically put the passing place, but it was not really suitable to do so. And that said, this location was still not suitable because of the visibility issue.

In response to a question from the Inspector He raised the matter that it wasn't only direct visibility to the next passing place, but drivers also needed to be able to see further because they needed time to stop.

Overall, whilst there were still some places where direct line of sight to the next passing place would not work, and there remained a problem with the stopping time, all told, we felt Mr Stevens had to concede more than he would have wanted to do based on his earlier evidence.

CUADRILLA CROSS EXAMINE THE NEW EVIDENCE
Ms Leiven began by asking whether Mr Stevens had seen many horses on the routes when he had been on them. He said he had not.

Turning to the Hand and Dagger junction she invited Mt Stevens to agree that, for it to become a problem, there would have to be two HGVs, one turning out of Dagger Road and another approaching the Hand and Dagger both at exactly the same time. Mr Stevens saw the point but explained it was not that simple. She went through several of the junctions in a similar manner.

Turning to the visibility issues, Ms Leiven said on the Blue route, passing places. The first was OK, the second was still a problem, but she argued that the vehicle still had enough room to drive onto the verge didn't it?. Mr Stevens said yes but there were other reasons they should not expect to do so - such as the verge being a safe zone for vulnerable users (e.g. pedestrians, horses etc). He said she was looking in theory, not in practical terms.

There was huge confusion about some of the numbering of these passing places because the new evidence had changes the numbers! So we're not even going to try to number them. At one point the Inspector called for greater clarity and said

"If I can't understand the numbers, how is the Secretary of State ever going to be able to do so"

Ms Leiven continued using only the 'new' numbers and said there were now only three locations where there was a problem between her and Mr Stevens.

Ms Leiven moved on to the Green route and said this route had the most issues about visibility. She said that his first evidence had only been concerned with the direct visibility to the next passing place, but now he was talking about seeing further to allow for stopping times as well.

there was quite an argument about whether wing mirrors could or should be allowed to overhang hedges at some points. Another argument was about whether a document Mr Stevens had relied on was only for trunk roads and Motorways or whether it applied to rural roads as well.

Moving to the impact of protestors, she said with three routes they could avoid blockages more easily because they could use another route. Referring to a letter from the Police she said matters like obstruction of passing places by protestors could an would be dealt with the Police as per their letter.

Once again, Cuadrilla were relying on it being possible to put conditions in the Transport Management Plan without having set our the wording or even agreed such a plan. To us it sounded very much like what hey had said last time - 'well, we can do it so everything will be OK'

The previous Inspector didn't buy that approach and we hope the present one will see what's going on as well.

RE-EXAMINATION BY LCC
Mr Evans first made the point that the previous Inquiry had expected much less traffic movements, but practical operation had shown it to be much greater than had been estimated. He also appeared to argue that some examples presented to Mr Stevens were only with regard to one particular type of (Class 10) HGVs when there were other HGVs as well.

Turning to flooding and drainage issues at passing places, he asked if Mr Stevens had any experience of permeable asphalt. He had not. He said it was not something he had used because the pores in it would get clogged with silt and debris, and it would need specialist equipment to keep it clean where it was not subject to routine traffic coverage to 'suck' the debris out with the action of the tyres passing over it.

He cited a document called 'Permeable Asphalt Solutions Guide' which said that it had 3 layers that acted as a filter to trap silt and stop it reaching watercourses etc.

We thought that rather killed the 'permeable asphalt' argument.

There was one other significant point. Quoting from the National Planning Policy Framework, Mr Evans said it requires an assessment of 'safety and suitability of access' and he asked Mr Stevens to conform or otherwise, and whether he was asking the Inspector to take account of both safety (which everyone had agreed the inquiry was about)  AND about 'suitability' (which it was unclear as to whether it was within the Inspector's remit). Mr Stevens said he was.

Mr Evans also spoke of the police concern about protestors on narrow lanes, and no pavement in close proximity to the site entrance. This meant the protestors would have to make their legal protest from the highway itself.

And with a few other points of clarification that didn't seem to be earth-shattering to us, the re-examination ended.

INSPECTOR'S QUESTIONS
The first question was about passing places and the distance the driver needed to be able to see ahead.  Mr Stevens said he thought it should be the passing place you're approaching and the next one, if either of the drivers is not familiar with the location of the passing places.

The Inspector then asked about non-recorded accidents and how they might affect the use of the term 'severe' in relation to the impact the proposal would have.

He also asked about the hedges and whether the County had a policy about how close you could work to them or not for example when digging.

Finally he asked about whether the traffic lights could be moved elsewhere on Dagger Road to make the situation better. The answer was that they can not.

 Barbara Richardson - Evidence for RAG

After establishing Mrs Richardson's credentials he asked for an outline of her involvement to date. She said she was speaking on behalf of, and with the agreement of, the Parish Councils.

Her evidence included descriptions of the villages and the highway linkages between them, and the community facilities which served an area larger than a single village.

Some school buses pick some children up on the side of the road.

Another evidence document set out the businesses in the area, which included caravan and camping, farm shops, catering and so on. This included businesses that use the routes such as farm vehicles and business supplies and customers.

She spoke of Bonds ice cream parlour being visited by children on cycles. The Inspector said it had been there before so it had been considered at the previous inquiry. Mr Richardson explained that Bonds was affected mostly by the new routes (Green and Red).

Turning to a section in her evidence dealing with a survey she had arranged, she said together with the parish councils they had devised a standardised form to collect data on the activities they undertook, commuting, cycling, walking etc but the key issue was how often and when people used the routes.

Broadly, the results showed  over 90% of respondents were concerned about the traffic plans. She then gave a graded list of the sort of uses that people undertook using the roads.

She spoke of the towpath by the Hand and Dagger used by several organisations on the canal resulting in cars being parked. She spoke of children congregating on the route through Elswick to get the bus to school.

Elswick also had sheltered housing and some residents had scooters which were used on the road.

She then referred to the 'witness statements' in her evidence. Via local sources they has asked for people to write their use, concerns and experiences of using the roads. There was a guide dog training school on the route and the dogs were exercised every day on the Green route.

The Inspector must have been troubled about considering the content of these 'witness statements' from Mrs Richardson because (and this is an important point so we're doing it by quotes) he then said:

"Can I just interject.

Is it part of RAG's case, that, unlike the County Council, the Appelant's survey information about traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and horse movements on the rural network are incorrect?"

Mr De Feu replied

"The point I put to Mr Bird and I think he agreed with me on this is that, particularly with vulnerable road users, the way in which the survey's have been conducted under-represents - I think was the way he eventually came to agree it actually in response to one of your questions Sir - under-represents the level of usage in the area, yes, that is an important part of our case."

Inspector:

"He under-represents? What did you say?"

Mr De Feu

"The level of usage by vulnerable road users. You will recall, I think there was this conversation as to whether his surveys under-estimated or under-represented. He said he didn't like the expression under-estimated because they were not estimate, but he did accept that they under-represented them, and"

At this point Ms Leiven intervened saying

"I'm sorry, he did not accept that."

Mr De Feu

"OK we can check our notes on that subject. The point that was being put to him at the time was the fact that the camera locations are outside the areas where the most vulnerable....."

Inspector

"I got that point, that they don't necessarily represent some of the people walking  short distances within the settlements. What I said was, are you actually questioning the survey information before the Inquiry about, on the rural roads by different users?"

Mr De Feu

"In terms of the positions in which the cameras were located, we do not say that those cameras somehow missed pedestrians, or horse riders or cyclists that walked past those cameras. It is the locations at which the surveys took place that we do have serious concerns with and I explored those concerns at some length with Mr Bird. There are sections which simply aren't captured, a good example is between Roseacre and Elswick, where there was no camera. So the point that we make is that you can't say, you can't extrapolate from what Mr Bird has done, what the usage of that section is, and you need to look elsewhere, and where we say you should look is our evidence on that."

Inspector

"OK, is it the intention of your transport witnesses to supplement what you've been saying?"

Mr De Feu

"Well this is,.... it is Mrs Richardson who is able to give evidence on usage and she relies on local evidence to do so."

There was a long pause here as the complexity of this situation sank in with the Inspector.

We thought he had given the impression of being ready to more or less not take too seriously  (at least this part of) the contents of Mrs Richardson's Proof of Evidence, but now he was being asked to accept it in place of the absence of what he seemed to regard as 'official' evidence from a professional.

But if he did that, he might have to accept the other evidence presented by Mrs Richardson as well and we thought that would cause him a whole lot of trouble.

We don't think Mrs Richardson or Mr de Feu was being difficult or duplicitous here, she was simply trying to provide local information for the inspector based on statements from local people. That's exactly what a Rule 6 Party with expert local knowledge should do better than anyone else.

And patently if there was no camera use on this road, the 'official' record could not have recorded any users. But Mrs Richardson's evidence had.

The Inspector broke the silence by saying

"So, I'm not sure what you're expecting me to do, in terms of, I mean, if not,  you can't really,  from me being,  [he seemed to be struggling to know how to phrase the point he wanted to make] even if I'd read every letter, start making an assessment of the actual numbers of people who would be walking, walking dogs, would be cycling on these roads, can you?

Mr De Feu

"Sir, you will recall the approach that the Inspector took at the last Inquiry,..."

Interjection by the Inspector

"No I don't"

To us, this seemed  a rather petulant outburst by the Inspector. Mr De Feu continued as though the interruption had not happened....

 "...which was to look at the local evidence available, and indeed an approach the Secretary of State agreed with, and conclude from that that there was an appreciable level by pedestrians and equestrian users, and it was submitted - and I'll be corrected if I'm wrong - a significant amount of use, by cyclists.

The evidence as I understand it, that led to those conclusions was similar to that which is now being presented, but it was in respect of the Blue route, what we're now doing is present it in respect of all three routes.

Inspector

"Except last time, if I remember from what I've read, there wasn't a comprehensive survey."

Mr De Feu

"Well Sir, I'll have to make submissions on whether this survey is comprehensive, and I think that's a point between us as to whether this is comprehensive. Certainly we say it isn't.

Ms Leiven

"The position last time Sir was that the survey was done in a completely different way,...."

Inspector

"Right"

 "...so it wasn't cameras at fixed locations, it was cameras on cars, if you go back..."

Inspector

"Ah,  Yeah Yeah Yeah"

Ms Leiven

"....And if you go back to the Inspector's reasons, it was because she thought they weren't taking in the full usage on that whole period of the survey. It was a totally different kind of survey."

Inspector

"OK, sorry, carry on"

We're not sure who he was addressing with his last remark, but perhaps fortunately, Mrs Richardson interrupted to give some personal experiences of travelling from Roseacre to Elswick. and said these were the movements that hadn't been recorded.

Mrs Richardson continued her evidence about cyclists, equestrian, and other road users. She said there were about 99 different equestrian uses, one of which was in the middle of the traffic light section of Dagger Road. She gave examples of other locations as well.

She said requests for equestrian information by Cuadrilla had not been responded to by all the establishments they had written to, but RAG had made personal contact, and were thus able to say that horses did use the routes, and Mrs Richardson quoted from the Elswick Equestrian Centre and Riding School owner who gave details of an accident she had when children spooked her horse which collided with a car an several examples of those who regularly use the roads.

Asked about accident data, she spoke of recent incidents she had seen herself including a jeep turning over in Inskip last week. She had produced a list from LCC data and from the RAG 'witness statements' to show several accidents or near misses that had taken place.

In concluding her evidence she said RAG and all of the parish councils had come together because they all knew that the routes were unsafe.

 Barbara Richardson: Cross examination by Cuadrilla

Ms Leiven said last June RAG was sent  a letter about how the survey was to be conducted but they hadn't made comment on it. But if they had been concerned about it they could have asked for changes. Mrs Richardson said their understanding was that it was something that had already been agreed with LCC and it was a 'fait accompli'

She added that at that time the routes had not even been announced and were not published until much later in December, so they did not know the Green or Red routes would exist, let alone where the cameras on them would be located.

Ms Leiven said the only vulnerable user counts the Inspector can consider are those by Cuadrilla, and RAG could have done their own if they disagreed. Mrs Richardson said they did not have the resources to do that and the timescales did not allow it once they knew what the new routes were.

Ms Leiven spent some time using specific examples from the 'witness statements' to try to damage the evidence Mrs Richardson had provided about use of the canal by canoeists at the Hand and Dagger (and later in other areas) - it's her job to do that for Cuadrilla of course - but she was up against someone with clear detailed personal local knowledge and although Ms Leiven made it sound convincing, we're sure the Inspector will have seen through it (as did we) and of course if he's worried, Mr De Feu can pick it up under re-examination as well.

There was another tricky moment when Ms Leiven tried to get Mrs Richardson to agree that if Cuadrilla were to repair all the potholes and crumbling edges of the road it would be a good thing.

Mrs Richardson said not if it meant cyclists having more HGVs on the road.

Mr Evans for LCC chimed in and said he had not heard that offer before, only that Cuadrilla would do what was necessary to fix the drainage and flooding.

Ms Leiven said it was a hypothetical question put to Mrs Richardson but  she seemed to also say it was an offer Cuadrilla would make if necessary.

Quite where that leaves us we're not sure.

We thought Mrs Richardson gave a lucid and well organised  presentation of her evidence and an even stronger demonstration of her grasp of local knowledge under cross examination.

The Inspector would do well to recognise this, but even if he does not, we're sure he will not be left in any doubt after the public speaking sessions.

 Barbara Richardson: Re-examination

There was none.

 Barbara Richardson: Inspector's questions

The Inspector asked her about the location of a  bus stop used by schoolchildren that she had referred to in her evidence.

He also asked about her view as to what constituted a 'severe' accident. We were  bit puzzled by this because it sounded as though he was using the same term ('severe') in the case of accidents, in the same context as 'severe' in terms of the impact of the proposals in planning terms.

By now it was 6pm and we broke for the day


 DAY 6     (18 APRIL 2018)

   Inspector's Remarks

The Inspector had called a private meeting of the parties for 9:30 today (nothing sinister, just trying to agree what conditions would be necessary and acceptable in the event that there was a decision by the Secretary of State to approve the appeal) and the Inquiry itself was due to resume at 10, but  the pre-meeting overran and it was about 10:30 when we began with an apology from the Inspector who said a lot more work needed to be done on the conditions.

Ms Leiven raised the issue from yesterday about Mr Stevens saying you needed to be able to see not just the next passing place but the one after that and some stopping distance as well.

She said this was not set out in his evidence and she said she needed to know what he is saying in writing and with a plan to show it. Mr Evans agreed that Mr Stevens had undertaken to produce further information yesterday, and they were presently trying to contact him. They all agreed that it should be provided by 8pm tomorrow night.

Mr De Feu raised the matter of the Statement of Common Ground which the inspector had criticised RAG for not agreeing to hardly anything in it. He said it was normal for all parties to input into the wording of the SOCG, but RAG had only been allowed to say yes or no to the wording Cuadrilla had devised, and whilst some was factual, that might be agreed, the statements proposed by Cuadrilla  also contained conclusions and consequential matters which they could not.

However, he was endeavouring to separate them for the Inspector.

 Gerald Kells - Evidence for RAG

Mr De Feu introduced Mr Kells and gave his credentials - which included 20 years experience in Sustainable Transport Policy.

Introducing his evidence, he said:

"You cannot create a safe road which is unsuitable.

it has to be safe for people to go about their normal business, and the absence of personal Injury accidents does not indicated they are safe roads"

He was asked about whether horse riders could find alternative routes as Ms Leiven has asserted yesterday at Elswick.

He said Paragraph 32 of the NPPF required the routes to be safe and suitable and a requirement to use other routes served only to demonstrate the fact that the proposed routes were not safe and suitable as per the NPPF.

He was then invited to consider how the accident record should be treated. He said he agreed with the way the previous Inspector has treated it. He was then taken to Para 96 of the Previous Inspector's report where the Secretary of State (who will take the actual decision on this inquiry) had said he agreed with the previous Inspector's approach to this matter.

He then spoke of two very large HGVs passing on a narrow road and the need to create a safe and suitable route, adding that this was not only for the HGVs themselves, but for vulnerable road users who had the right to be there as well. Speaking of the route from Roseacre to Elswick, he said:

"Clearly the route is unsuitable by having to put in this sort of mitigation, so the assumption must be that it is not suitable for OGV 10s"

He then took the situation where the road had been widened and there was no longer a verge.

He said whilst this may accommodate HGVs it would also be used by, for example, domestic cars, and because they would expect to use the widened blacktop carriageway with impunity this left nowhere for pedestrians to go, and it created a changes level of safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

He said this situation was not only at the one location he had been speaking of earlier, but it occurred at 10 or 11  locations between Roseacre and Elswick.

He said it was not possible to assume that matters can be solved by road engineering changes, adding that whilst they had good data about use of the network by cyclists, the appellant had produced no evidence at all about how many people walk from Roseacre to Elswick where there were a lot of attractions and businesses.

He posed posed the wider question

"Should we be making this road one that pedestrian and cyclists cannot use safely?"

Mr De Feu then asked him about using Mrs Richardson's evidence on the Roseacre-Elswick route, and he said her evidence had been submitted for the current Inspector to consider, but Cuadrilla had provided no evidence on this road.

Mr De Feu asked him to comment on what the *previous* inspector had said about the use of local evidence as an approach to considering these matters. Mr Kells read out what the previous inspector had said (which, he said, supported Mrs Richardson's approach).

 He then said he doubted the value of fixed cameras to record traffic. They might be fine for vehicles, but they had failed to take account of the road use between the cameras and the village centres, and within village centres, for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

Mr De Feu then turned attention to Ms Leiven's criticism of RAG for not doing their own survey and not commenting or seeking changes in Cuadrilla's proposed survey before it began, (as had been set out in the letter RAG had received). He asked Mr Kells' opinion about it.

Mr Kells said the letter was addressed to 'To Whom it May Concern' and he further criticised it for giving the impression that everything had agreed between the two main parties, and the fact that the letter said the enclosed  document was 'for information only' . It had also said the survey would be done by independent contractors to accepted industry standards.

Mr Kells said in his opinion,  excepting for a letter marked 'Do Not Reply' at the top of it, he could not think of a letter that discouraged a response more than this one did, adding that it was Cuadrilla's responsibility to provide the evidence necessary, and at least on the Roseacre-Elswick route they had not produced any evidence.

The Inspector asked about whether RAG had or could have agreed with the locations of the cameras. Mr Kells explained that the letter said the survey specification details were 'enclosed for information' and that did not invite any reply, nor did it suggest the opportunity to do so.

He also spoke about how much traffic may or may not use each of the alternate routes and what would happen if access via the military site was not to be available for  example for reasons of flooding or military expediency, and whether in such circumstances Cuadrilla would do as they said and simply not use the alternative routes and deliveries would stop. He said that may be the case, but equally they could simply direct everything along the green route.

With a number of other issues addressed as well, his evidence ended.

We're warming to Mr De Feu. His manner is logical, and in some ways gentle in approach, but he's not afraid to say he disagrees when he does.

We thought Mr Kells was a terrific expert witness. He was credible, clear, authoritative and really seemed to have aimed his evidence very much to helping the Inspector's understanding.

We thought he made some really good technical points, particularly in relation to the requirements of the NPPF.

Asked to sum up his evidence he said the routes were:

"Not safe and suitable, inherently not safe and suitable, and the mitigation proposed, especially for vulnerable road users will inevitably make matters worse in many cases...... I do not believe these are safe and suitable routes"

 Gerald Kells: Cross examination by Cuadrilla

Ms Leiven began by asking Mr Kells to agree that he was not a highway engineer but a transport policy expert. He did so.

She went on to say that the NPPF says that the Secretary of State may only refuse permission if the impact of the proposal is 'severe' and he also has to assess the cumulative impact.

There followed a long argument that was like dancing on a pinhead about whether the route had to be just 'safe' or 'safe and suitable'

Mr Kells was saying that in his interpretation, the wording of the NPPF said it had to be both safe and suitable and one situation without the other meant the test was not met.

Ms Leiven on the other hand was arguing that the wording of he Inspector's remit only addressed safety.

Mr Kells said that was a matter that had troubled him given that the NPPF said 'safe and suitable'. He thought it was a matter that the Inspector would need to address, as indeed would the Secretary of State.

As we expected, Ms Leiven also pursued the matter that RAG had not responded to or complained about the methodology that Cuadrilla had used. Mr Kells provided thoughtful and cautious answers where he was not certain of the question he had been asked.

Me Leiven tried several times to persuade Mr Kells to agree with her view of things rather than his own, and in one notable exchange she began by saying that any child waiting for  bus on their on on Roseacre Road must have the basics of highway safety, mustn't they? Their parents must think that they are OK to be out on the road to allow them out on their own.

Mr Kells wasn't being caught with this and responded in effect to say that whilst Ms Leiven could pick apart specific narrow hypothetical examples and show that provided everyone behaves as they should, and there were no bad parents and no disobedient or excitable children and so in then in a perfect world what she was saying was right, but equally, it wasn't going to be the case in reality.

This is just what we (and the previous Inspector) have picked up before. A theoretical construct of circumstances can easily be shown to work, but reality is different. We hope this Inspector sees it as well'

 Gerald Kells: Re-exmination

There was none

 Gerald Kells: Inspector's Questions

No questions


 Interested Person Sessions (3:30 to 5pm and 6:30 to 9:00pm)

STARTING AT 3:30PM

The Inspector warned about relating it to highway safety and said they had "an exceptionally large number of public speakers' and he ran through various housekeeping matters.

 101 Gillian Cookson

Parish Councillor, use all the lanes around Roseacre. also rides cycles and frequently and gave examples of last week where she met 13 other cyclists and only 3 other vehicles. She said the route forms part of the Lancashire Cycle Route. She said she didn't think what Cuadrilla were proposing would solve the problem and the plans to remove the verge in places would make it less safe for cyclists.

 102 Barry Warner

Lives in Roseacre. retired Health and Safety Manager. He said he had a professional interest in what had been Cuadrilla's approach to risk and health and safety and he said it was poor.

He said Mr Hastey's plan was the most widely acceptable as an industry standard approach to risk assessment, and he said the results were superior.

He thought if a proper risk assessment had been carried out it would have given the results Mt Hastey had found, and that would have been inconvenient.

He criticised what Mr Bird's work, saying the conclusions don't follow the facts, they pass assertion off as fact, they ignore reality and were based on an idealised world.

 103 Elizabeth Warner

Mrs Warner  spoke of a serious accident involving a child at her schools, went to hospital with her, and attended her funeral

She said this plan fits like the glass slipper on an ugly sister. Using irony she said Drivers would all behave perfectly.

She then concluded that the proposals had established the unsuitability of all the routes because of the number of ameliorations needed, and on the balance of probabilities the proposals will fail.

She said the burden o proof lay with the appellant and it had not been met.

 104 Barbara Hurton

Mrs Hurton is a regular walker along the local lanes. It horrifies her to think of big HGVs using these roads that were never designed for such use. The HGVs are legally allowed to go up to 50mph, but Mr Bird says they will not do this.

She said 15 public rights of way intersect the routes risking making them unpopular. She spoke of Dagger Road having a number of properties, including an agricultural contracting business having access to the traffic light controlled section without knowing what state the lights were in.

 105 Roger Hurton

Resident of Wharles for 25 years. Spoke about the use of the military site. The track on the MOD site is of doubtful ability to carry the HGV weights envisaged. He said the MOD had said they would do whatever work was needed, but he questioned whether the MOD contractors maintaining the track would fall within the ambit of Cuadrilla's transport management arrangements as they had said. He contradicted some evidence given during the morning about using a route but not being recorded on the camera. He said all levels of local councils had said the routes were not safe.

The Inspector asked Miss Leiven about the maintenance of the track on the MOD land. She said there was no contract on the MOD land at present so she couldn't answer it, but it was envisage that Cuadrilla would do it.

 106 Christopher Noad

Retired chartered engineer. He said the proposals will change their rural lanes forever. Verges were to set to disappear and they would thus lose the  refuges used by people now. He said the size and bulk of the large commercial vehicles would intimidate people on the roadside, especially children, even on pavements in villages.

He said the practicalities of the proposals for Dagger Road were utterly ludicrous. He said modern agriculture used much more more powerful and significantly larger equipment. Tractors were up to 2.5m in width, and said a 16 year old can drive a tractor of  2.4m (we think that's what he said he said) and that was both in a field and on road. He said the Tractor driving test is quite basic and doesn't take account of the sort of traffic envisaged in the proposals, and he suggested that these days, the weather and other commercial factors produced time constraints for agricultural contractors.

 107 Jill H Walton

Is a resident if Inskip. she said she couldn't believe anyone would think them suitable for this use. She spoke with detailed local knowledgey about the Red route through Inskip. She included that two HGVs were committed to the wrong side of the road as they approached the junction, and one would have to reverse.

She spoke of accidents taking out a telegraph pole and demolishing a green house, a wall and so on. None of these would be reported to the police, but they were important to note.

 108 Chris Wyatt

Resident of Freckleton. loves the Fylde, doesn't want it industrialised and doesn't want HGVs thundering along the country lanes. Has had experience of Preston New Road and said that has had to have a 30mph statutory speed limit and an advisory 20 mph limit.

He gave details of his experience of traffic entering and leaving the site at Preston New Road, and of the actions of protestors there.

He spoke of the drivers Cuadrilla used. It had no slip road to reduce speed, and he said the traffic management plan there is in a state of flux, depending who was in command at the policing and so on, and he didn't think they could do that effectively at Roseacre.

 109 John Ballie

A resident of Poulton le Fylde. Said re-engineering of rural lanes has to be undertaken and gave percentages of the road to be altered. he contended that the extent of this work would damage verges and hedges and would blight the countryside. Cuadrilla admit that increasing the number of routs will necessarily will impact more people.

he spoke of the junction from the A585 to Thistleton Road which was a very hazardous turn.

 110 Maureen Mills

Resident of West Lancashire. Said this inquiry would set a precedent. Whatever happens at Roseacre wood will set a precedent for rural communities throughput the UK She said the Secretary of State had given the Inspector an unenviable task of great responsibility.

She spoke of her own experience of Cuadrilla drivers at Preston New Road  and contrasted the human condition with perfection. She said what Cuadrilla said, and what they did, are not the same thing.

She says these routes cannot be mitigated and she was sure he would see that as well.

 111 Nick Danby

Described himself as a 'receptor' because the route trundles past his door. he had hoped they would have been refused  before now, and he had spoken at the previous inquiry. He asked "when would our voices be heard?"

She said he had been at the Cuadrilla PNR site form hundreds of days. The security guards can decide what constitutes an exceptional circumstances and said the Transport plan was changed out of all recognition because its content had been so varied so much and now almost nothing could be regarded as a breach. He said in effect Cuadrilla can and will do very much as they please because there is very little sanction.

He said this whole sorry business constitutes an assault on the democratic process.

 112 Heather Speak

Borough and Parish Councillor. Lives a quarter of a mile from the entrance to the site. The two farms are owned by the Pickervance family who also own the Proposed Cuadrilla site. She said the Inspector had not been given sufficient details of the agricultural use of the area, with animal feed being transported for a herd of hundreds of cows. There were also 64 days of silaging when the weather was right.

She said Sandersons agricultural contractors worked on local farms and accessed the road network onto Dagger Lane. She said Roseacre was a working farming community. She said it would affect the farmers and their businesses if protestors came, and using instant communications the protestors would know when vehicles will arrive and would block the lanes for everyone.

 113 Malcolm Barron

Conservative County Councillor from West Lancashire, but a member of LCCs Planning Committee. The Committee had seen all the lanes, and they have a similar problem in West Lancashire with large agricultural HGVs using their country roads there. He spoke of what had happened in (West Lancs Tarleton Hesketh Bank and Banks).

He spoke of road construction being inadequate for HGV's of this size (cobbles tarmacked over)and how they had to introduce areas of road-widening, but when the HGVs ran onto the narrow sections of road widening the road sometimes gave way, and several lorries had ended up tipping over into the ditch.


STARTING AT 6:30PM

 201 Peter Collins

Member of Newton with Clifton PC and Fylde BC. Acting as spokesman for the Parish Council. Spoke about the Preston Westerly By-Pass. It runs more or less parallel to the Blue Route and is necessary for additional development. LCC had concerns about additional construction traffic using Clifton village.

He said this construction traffic would be concurrent with, and would impact on, the proposal but Cuadrilla had made no mention of this and had taken no account of it in their poposals.

He said the NPPF required such matters to be taken into account and in particular the cumulative impact of other developments to be considered, he said this has not been done and he invited the Inspector to dismiss the appeal.

Ms Leiven said the LCC had not raised it as a matter with them, and in any event the section 106 had not yet been signed so it was not formally a planning permission.

The Inspector asked where it was and he wanted a plan.

The Inspector didn't help matters very much when he said to Ms Leiven (albeit in an attempt at humor) "They're halfway to building you a new road!)

 202 John Hannan

Said none of the roads were designed to be used by 44 tonne juggernauts. He worried about the children's play area in Clifton village and other matters.

 203 Chris Salmon

From Clifton. Spoke of danger of the main A583 Preston Road which had just had average speed cameras fitted because it was one of the eight most important for serious accidents. Also spoke of the Lodge Lane junction which had a fixed camera in addition. He argued that Cuadrilla's additional traffic  made the probability of accidents worse.

 204 Sally Livesey

Lives two miles from the proposed site and spoke about the route through Inskip. She said any other application for this number of vehicles would be laughed out of the planning office.

She said she had had her own planning applications turned down because of the additional traffic it would generate. Said she owned a livery yard and hacking wasn't just a weekend activity it was done in all sorts of weathers and on no particular days. Spoke about a number of issues, including a vehicle that hit a pothole and flipped over onto its roof last week.

 205 Paul Houghton

Chair of the Governors at St Paul's School Inskip. Said the school was on the route and the additional traffic would have a negative impact on the school and its users, especially at pickup times. He knew Cuadrilla had planned to avoid the school run, but he gave practical examples of activities the school organises outside the start and finish times, including walking the children down the road to the church on occasions, coaches parking for swimming trips, and some early evening activities as well.

Ms Leiven somewhat allayed his concern by saying that Cuadrilla would not run vehicles before 8am and after 3pm.

 206 Carol Berry

Representing Inskip with Sowerby Parish Council. Said the sharp bend in Inskip was perfectly safe and there was a gravel area. She said the gravel area was not highway and therefore not available for risk mitigation by Cuadrilla.

She spoke of the problems at the junction itself and she tells her children to stay on the pavement because the pavement  is supposed to be the safe area for pedestrians but the HGVs are at real risk of their trailers cutting the corner and mounting the pavements.

The PC think the proposals for mitigation are poor.

 207 Cheryl Gilbertson

Lives on Roseacre Road. Expressed disbelief at the proposals. worried about meeting HGVs on the routes and other more general delays on the roads. Uses the roads for cycling and walking. Said the proposal was ludicrous and the extent of the mitigation proposed proved the routes were not suitable.

 208 Roy Harrison

Lives in Wharles. Spoke about the damage that would be done to the structure of the road  and the resultant damage would make safety on the highways worse.

Spoke of the need to avoid crumbling edges and flooding making vulnerable users move toward the middle of the road.

He described the routes as his gym.

 209 Ruth Turner

Lives in Roseacre and walks, runs, and cycles on a daily basis. She said these options had not been captured by the cameras. Concerned about the loss of verges and the safety they provide for pedestrians and so on.

She was incredulous that the survey showed so few dog-walkers. And she challenged the findings that the camera only picked up one dog walker. Her neighbour had passed it several times on that day.

She said she had no confidence in the findings of this survey, and was very firm in her view about this.

To a suggestion from Ms Leiven that she could access some of the roads for walking simply by avoiding the routes Cuadrilla was using, she said in a particular clear and firm tone - So do we have to alter our lifestyle to accommodate your proposals?

We thought that was  a particularly good example of what Mr Kells had said this morning about the SUITABILITY of the proposals in allowing people to go about their normal daily lives.

 210 Anne Broughton

Said she was appalled at the safety measures proposed by Cuadrilla. She had a particular concern about HGV wing mirrors overhanging the verge or pavements.

She said none of the routes was safe nor were they suitable and the mitigation measures were inadequate.

  212 Edward Cook

Spoke for his cycling friends. They cycle about 3 times a week around the roads that are the subject of this inquiry. He said then increasing traffic found on a class roads have made them move to B class roads.

He said the pleasant routes across the Fylde would be damaged by the plans.

 213 Jane Barnes

Lives in Roseacre and has a horse. She said lanes and roads are important for horse riders, and she spoke of the different needs of horse users.

She said she noticed the camera on the road one day when she was with a pony, but it is not recorded in Cuadrilla's statistics.

She said a convoy of vehicles with a police escort as she had seen at Preston New Road who were reluctant to stop to prevent lorry-surfers from mounting them would cause untold problems on the rural roads

 214 John Howson

Lives in Inskip and is a commuter cyclist using these routes with others from all over Fylde - for example to get to work at Warton.

He also uses what he calls the 'Fylde Flats' for recreation and leisure cycling and was concerned about the additional traffic.

On a personal basis he said he commutes to work every day of the year.

 

 DAY 6 - Continued   (18 APRIL 2018)

 211 Tina Rothery

On the list we had seen, Ms Rothery had been scheduled to speak at slot eleven of fourteen speakers, but she was not called until all the other public speakers had spoken.

As the end of a long day approached, but  before Ms Rothery actually spoke, we had begun to draft  couple of paragraphs to conclude this session. They began:

"Maybe it was the lateness of the hour and  the fact that (as the Inspector himself said), he had not had his dinner yet. And perhaps he didn't intend to give the impression we were forming, but we couldn't help coming to the view that he was politely putting up with having to listen to all the public speakers.

He left us with the impression that this was something that had to be gone through, but not something he gave a lot of weight to. That perception can also engender the impression that he's already made up his mind to recommend the Secretary of State to allow the appeal of course.

We don't think that is the case, (and we certainly hope it's not), but his manner; his phrasing; and his body language has left us with the impression that he only really wants to hear the evidence from the professional technical experts - and anything else is more or less superfluous, (as can be deduced from the exchange with Mr De Feu for RAG which we  reported yesterday)."

As we said, that was before Ms Rothery spoke.

Her contribution raised his ire and we report it verbatim now.


Inspector:

"Tina Rothery?"

Ms Rothery

"Thank you very much for the opportunity. My name's Tina Rothery and although I live locally I'm here as a nationwide campaigner against fracking and have been for seven years...."

Inspector (interjecting)

"I don't want to hear anything about fracking. As far as I'm concerned..."

Ms Rothery (interjecting)

"I was telling you my role and why I was here, sorry, OK.

We're addressing the highway safety for when Cuadrilla comes to Roseacre if they do, and the impact of the traffic. I'm here to address the impact of the protestors if Cuadrilla comes. We'll also also arrive along with that traffic

I've seen communities throughout the seven years, from Balcombe to Barton Moss, Horse Hill and everywhere in between, rise up when there is a threat they consider to their homes, their families and their children.

People you wouldn't ordinarily assume would become protestors, and although the territory about them is familiar, the actual role they fulfil within that becomes very dangerous for the traffic.

Trucks don't always appear as 'Trax' does, and I can speak of this from how we see Cuadrilla operate at PNR. The trucks [indistinct word - there?] look to us like something bringing harm to our children, and so therefore our response to them will be very different.

Hundreds of groups of residents have formed throughout the country, and there's no reason to expect that Roseacre won't do the same.

I think as you can see from the Inquiry that there are very many more against, and I've not yet seen anybody who is for.

The message also that I would think be received by Cuadrilla and this Inquiry is that over the last 15 months, approximately 480 days, protestors have been at Preston New Road site where Cuadrilla is currently developing, and have not desisted or left, and I understand that Cuadrilla was trying to put across the point that Roseacre will not see the same level of protest, and I come with a message from everybody on the four camps over at Preston New Road, that we absolutely fully intend on being in Roseacre, and objecting there was we've objected to Cuadrilla in Balcolmbe and Blackpool.

So it was just to correct them on their assumption and we don't consider that just because we don't live in Roseacre, that we're not locals. Air and water - I know you don't want to consider fracking - but air and water do travel outside the area.

Currently we're experiencing on Preston new Road which I can use as the only example we have at the moment, police who are overstretched, over tires and on overtime costing a great deal of money....."

Inspector (interjecting)

"I don't really think this is appropriate. It's not relevant to highway safety. We already know that you're intending to protest there. I'm not sure where that take the Secretary of State's decision. So thank you for appearing but I'd like you to go."

Ms Rothery's microphone was off at this point and it was hard to hear her response bit we think she said

"If there's a company vehicle in a 20 mph road over 45 mph....."

Inspector (interjecting)

"I dont.... That may be so...."

Ms Rothery

"The impact of traffic and our safety on those roads..."

Inspector

"Well..."

Ms Rothery

"Indistinct words but sounded like - Why can't I speak? )

Inspector

"We are aware of, of, I've been told that you are...."

He stopped short of concluding this sentence and we have to say some possible unspoken endings that led from it from it troubled us.

Ms Rothery tried to make progress to explain herself but with her microphone not working we could not hear what she said clearly enough to quite verbatim.

Inspector

"You've obviously not been here listening to what the scope of this inquiry is, or you wouldn't be here talking in the way that you are. OK? So as far as I'm...."

Ms Rothery

"The inquiry involves the impact [and? or?] the safety as regards the traffic...."

Inspector (forcefully, and with even more increasing forcefulness toward the end)

"The Inquiry is about the appellant's mitigation measures to improve highway safety. If You've got things to say on those then say it. If you don't have things to say on those then I'll be very grateful if you'd leave."

Again we couldn't exactly hear what Ms Rothery was saying here but she seemed to be trying to speak about how Cuadrilla would deal with the safety of people who were protesting on the highway and a number of other items.

Inspector

"I don't think it's a matter for me. I don't intend to go there. So as far as I'm concerned, you're taking the case nowhere. OK?

All You're doing is annoying me, which is not going to, well, if you like, my, my consideration of the whole experience tonight, and a lot of people have come here to express very real concerns about the impact of the appellant's mitigation proposals. OK? Which is what I want to take away and think about."

There was a brief inaudible few words from Ms Rothery which sounded like "In the interest of Roseacre I will step down"  before the Inspector said

"Good"

Ms Rothery left the stand and the inspector said

"That's the end of my list of people wishing to speak, I don't think I've missed anyone have I? No. In that case I will adjourn the Inquiry until one o'clock tomorrow. Thank you very much for coming along


It was not an edifying exchange. The Inspector must have been tired, it was 8pm after a full day, but we're not sure that justified the tone he used.

Ms Rothery told us as she left that she had wanted to address the matter of Cuadrilla's plans to ensure the safety of highway protestors, saying that the Inquiry had given regard to the safety to dogs and horses on the road, but seemed not to want to consider the safety of those who were protesting on the road.

To be honest we thought the Inspector had been foolish in his handling of this matter. A wiser inspector might simply have put his pen down, listened in silence until she finished, said thank you, and, if he felt inclined, not included any irrelevant aspects in his report.

Seeking to effectively publicly censor what Ms Rothery  could say at the Inquiry was unhelpful, and we thought it was damaging to the credibility of the Planning Inspectorate as a body,  especially when he has the power to determine what goes into his report.

Perhaps a fresh day will improve things.


 DAY 7     (19 APRIL 2018)

   Inspector's Remarks

Ms Leiven handed in two documents (essentially clearer or updated plans).

Mr Evans said there was a plan of the Preston Western Distributor Road in the Inquiry documents, but LCC had confirmed they saw no issue about the road itself or the construction traffic for it conflicting with the Cuadrilla proposals.

There was another issue raised by the Inspector about other documents he was expecting, but no documents provided at this stage.

 Interested Person Sessions (1:30 to 5pm and 6:30 to 8:30pm)

STARTING AT 1:30PM

 301 Richard Nulty

Speaking for Greenhalgh with Thistleton Parish Council. He said he lived there for 50 years. He refuted Mr Bird's statement that his parishes were not on the route. He said they were, the parish has no facilities of its own so people travelled to other village centres. Spoke of overloading on A585.

Spoke of Thistleton junction saying Thistleton is a conservation area. Green and red routes pass through the conservation area. There are also horse riders and cyclists.

Principal concern of parish residents is that some additional traffic will use the south access to Thistleton village rather than the main northern one opposite the end of mile straight.

Spoke of capacity problems at Junction 3 on M55 and traffic lights  fitted a few years back have not solved it. Also spoke of people walking south of the Motorway junction and the worst air quality except for the engine testing area at British Aerospace in Warton.

Spoke of hedges and said they tried to pressure landowners with threats of reporting to LCC but in his experience there is no provision in the relevant Act to restrict the planting of trees or crops or bushes. He specifically mentioned a maize crop which grows 6 or 7 feet high. He said there could be no certainty about visibility across third party land.

He spoke of the mirror at Inskip because he has one at his own house and criticised the use of it at Inskip mentioned the need to clean it (ladders coned off areas etc), the unsuitability when it's raining and so on.

He spoke of the experience of problems of traffic and policing at Preston New Road and said they did assemble as convoys on the hard shoulder and the motorway roundabout because he had seen it himself.

He said the experience of police traffic and protestor traffic was a problem at Preston New Road which in terms of traffic was more or less ideal, but at Roseacre there was the prospect of mayhem.

The inspector asked for plans of the conservation area. He also asked for Mr Evans to give a definitive legal position on the Highway Act with regard to crops. Ms Leiven said she agreed with Mr Evans and she didn't think crops were covered by the act.

Mr Nulty then spoke of environmental planting areas using corners of fields for trees and wildlife,  for which farmers receive set-aside payments. He said corner planting was popular with farmers because of mechanisation making corner access more difficult for crops, and he did not believe farmer could be denied this use of their land

There was also some detailed discussion about stopping vehicles turning into the south route to Thistleton, and Cuadrilla indicated a willingness to put a camera there to regulate and enforce. Mr Evans sounded a note of caution saying that whilst LCC supported the use of ANPR cameras, it had to be demonstrated that the use of the data collected was lawful.

 302 Linda Nulty

Speaking for Wesham Parish Council she said they could not believe such roads were even being considered. Said it was a youthful population and much of the housing was along the main road with terraced properties.

Also spoke of the recent football stadium and distribution warehouse which had further increased traffic on the A585 and Foxes biscuits which had a lot of HGVs as well. She also spoke of farm diversity programmes with poor access onto the road.

The picture she painted was one of a lot of traffic already and said the additional Cuadrilla traffic would exacerbate the problems and safety further. She gave details of vehicle numbers and what the peak times were, adding that existing holdups caused frustration and increased risk and safety.

She spoke of the issue of air quality and its effect on residents, but the inspector intervened and said it was not a relevant matter for this inquiry.

We were surprised at this. It is a matter of the safety of people who may be more likely to suffer premature death than be killed in a road accident. This is to do with the narrowness of the interpretation he is applying to his remit, and we suspect this may become an issue in the future.

 303 Miranda Cox

Spoke for Kirkham Town Council who said they object to all the proposed routes, and no mitigation could make them safe and suitable.

She explained that Kirkham was a local centre for many villages and although the routes don't pass through the town people don't simply appear in Kirkham, they have to travel on the routes to reach Kirkham.

She gave details of accidents on the roads the Cuadrilla would use and worried that additional traffic, especially in convoys.

One point she made as a Kirkham resident that struck us especially was about it being sunny in Kirkham, but once in the rural area there was mist and fog. We suspect that might cause problems for the passing places and sightline visibility.

She spoke of the problems with the creation of convoys for deliveries. She said if the lead vehicle has to stop then other vehicles attempt to pass it.

She said the deliveries to Preston New Road could not be made without the police being present and the additional police vehicles, welfare units and operational support units increased the traffic still further.

She spoke of contractors who failed to comply with the traffic requirements and said she had seen some drivers nudging people out of the way to get through protestors at Preston New Road.

 304 Elaine Silverwood

Speaking about A585 and A583 which the Inspector asked her to keep brief because he wasn't at all sure he could consider these roads at all.

She spoke of it taking 4 minutes to turn left onto the A585 and how people wanting to turn right would actually have to turn left and go to and round the roundabout  because they can't

She spoke of convoys coming through Kirkham and it was causing chaos when they did. She gave personal descriptions of being caught up in these convoys.

Asked to bring her statement to a conclusion by the inspector, she said the extent of the work required in mitigation proves the routes were unsuitable.

 305 Phil James

Lives in Inskip and was focusing on the B5269 which he knows, and 'Lodge Court' close to the School he drew attention to the 'disappearance' of accesses between one plan and another with photographs he had provided.

He said this was an omission in Cuadrilla's documentation and he wondered whether there may be others. He said there was a section of road missing on the plans.

The inspector said he would have a look tomorrow.

Ms Leiven said she could see it might be a problem but she asked whether there was a problem. Mr James said there was.

 306 Dennis Rowlandson

Did not attend

 307 Neive-Mari Rowlandson

Did not attend

 308 Brian Leighton

From Inskip. Said he was appalled at the proposals for an area he knows. Spoke of a near miss with a tanker and said the traffic proposals would blight at last four villages.

He said the said the independent survey conducted by Cuadrilla had been superficial at best, and gave examples of where he thought problems would arise, including buses that had to use the opposite carriageway.

He gave counts of cycles and pedestrians he had seen only last night and this morning and said he had no confidence in the survey produced by Cuadrilla.

 309 Neil Lewis

From Inskip. Lived here for 35 years and is connected with a church there, with a congregation of 80 to 100, and the church did not only work on Sundays and he gave examples of several, saying people came to the church from areas as far as Lancaster, St Annes, Garstang, Goosnargh, Poulton, Singleton and even Bolton, adding that Cuadrilla's flawed assumption about the probability of route users being local people  knowing local roads was clearly shown to be wrong.

He said Cuadrilla had admitted that the two primary reasons for expanding their plans from one to three routes were: 1. to make it easier for suppliers to access the proposed fracking site; and, 2. to cut down on the possibility of concerted protest. He said these were:

"Two very good, but selfish reasons. May I propose that in attempting to minimise their difficulty, they serve to maximise our distress"

Frankly, we wanted to cheer.

He noted that Cuadrilla said they wanted to be trusted because they were the professionals, but they displayed a great divide between promise and practice To exemplify this, he cited the 248 breaches or departures (whatever term is applied) as their failure to conform to the existing Transport plan, and the 17 alterations that had been made to the plan itself, which left it virtually unrecognisable from its original form

He concluded by saying

"Cuadrilla's traffic proposals present a very real danger for all rural road users, including our parishioners. They are flawed, sketchy and reactive at best. They engender risk in a cavalier fashion.

In the strongest possible terms I urge you to ensure that these haphazard proposals, cobbled together on the extensive use of road verges are summarily rejected."

 310 Keith Hulme

From Roseacre spoke from local experience about the 'appalling' changes that were needed to make the route acceptable.

He said the survey was totally useless because it missed a lot of people, and a maximum of three days data could not deliver representative information.

He spoke from personal experience about dog walkers and pedestrians needing to use the verges. He also spoke of the frequency of a pedestrian going to Elswick over  a 40 minute walk and how many Cuadrilla HGVs they would encounter. We think he said it would be between four and six HGV's on that journey.

 311 Jo Bignold

From Clifton and gave her opinions on what it will feel like form a dog walker's point of views and how it would change the life for many people.

She said some of the pavements were not wide enough to allow her to walk alongside her dog. She said she couldn't adequately explain how bad the fear and intimidation of HGV lorries actually was.

She also spoke of the loss of refuge areas when verges were removed or damaged.

 312 Jacqueline Sylvester

Is a Parish Councillor for Roseacre and long time resident there. She criticised Cuadrilla's traffic survey and said her extensive local knowledge knew it to be wrong.

She said planned expansions in agricultural operations at local farms would increase the use of slurry tankers and other very large agricultural vehicles which would conflict with Cuadrilla vehicles. 

She said she supported the survey of agricultural use presented by Roseacre Action Group.

She said the plans must have been conceived in a parallel universe. The routes are simply unsuitable.

 313 Jules Burton

From Roseacre. Incredulity at Cuadrilla's proposals. He said the true experts are the local residents who have done so for many years, He said he had 18 years experience of 20,000 uses of the roads.

He spoke of meeting dog owners on the routes and other experiences.

He criticised Cuadrilla's use of farm entrances and private dwellings and were not as they described 'existing passing places'  He also criticised the uncertainty of use of the MOD land.

He said Ms Leiven had said it was surely not beyond the wit of man to overcome these problems, and she was right all they had to so was construct a new road to the specification of the A585, that by-passed all the villages.

He added that would of course almost certainly contravene planning policy at Fylde and LCC.

He concluded the proposals were "unwise, unsafe, unworkable and indefensible."

The Inspector asked Ms Leiven about the conditions under which they would use the MOD land. She said they were not yet finalised. He hypothesised about  a different government banning fracking and refusing use of the MOD land. Ms Leiven said she did not think that would be lawful, but if it was, then they would simply have to stop the site. This turned into quite a long discussion.

The Inspector asked whether the agreement with the MOD would be put before the Inquiry. Ms Leiven said it was a confidential document and it would not be put before the Inquiry, but she would make further investigations.

Mr Burton had, perhaps inadvertently, raised what seemed to become quite an important issue for the Inspector.

 314 Rosemary Conlon

From Roseacre, and is Secretary to RAG. Also a horse rider. Spoke about horse behaviour being irrational by nature.

She spoke quickly to cover a lot of ground and said many people with dogs live in the village and use the routes. She also worried about danger of vehicle mirrors overhanging pavements and verges. She knew of a person elsewhere being killed after being hit with a wing mirror. Also spoke about flooding an drainage and damage to the roads.

 315 County Cllr Liz Oades

Represents several villages including Roseacre. She said Treales Roseacre and Wharles were the green heart of the Fylde. The Blue route had already been rejected.

She said the work seemed to be theoretical desktop exercises that bore little relationship to practical reality.

She said 5,000 live within 4 km of the site. She spoke of 527 horses in the immediate area and a number of other matters that would adversely affect her residents.

 316 Elaine Smith

From Roseacre. Said at present it was safe to walk there and has 17 years. She said it was  a three route network not three separate routes, and she used all of them.

she said it was a rare experience not to encounter a hazard of some sort - cyclists, lambs, big farm vehicles, floods, cars through hedges and in ditches.

Businesses are relevant to highway safety because they attract vulnerable road users to visit them and she said this was another aspect of road safety. She listed several that brought people to them and she didn't think Cuadrilla understood the situation.

She said 3 working days of survey seemed a very short period and wondered whether it was sufficient or not.

 317 Peter Rickson

Did not attend

 318 Claire Nash

Mother of three and said she couldn't understand how anyone could say these roads were suitable She gave examples from personal experience.

She also challenged the results of Cuadrilla's survey suggesting they were under representing reality, and criticise Cuadrilla's  proposal to limit vehicles to outside school drop off and pickup times as being insufficient.

 319 Jean Stringman

Said she was concerned about all the routes and spoke of personal experience of using them. she said as a retired person her use would coincide with Cuadrilla's use of them as well.

She said hedges could not legally be cut between 31 March and 31 August.

We had not heard that mentioned before.

 320 Polly Steiner (FOE)

Spoke about unacceptable risks, such as uncertainty about potentially higher flowback volumes and the additional  volume of traffic this would generate

Also spoke of Inconsistency with NPPF regarding safe and suitable access  to the works.

Said Cuadrilla had been unable to adhere to the Transport  Management Plan.

 322 John Iredale

Short term resident of Elswick but thought the idea was ludicrous.

Said he had had to mount the pavements twice in recent weeks to avoid collision with HGVs.

Spoke of a lot of parking and facilities like the play area and spoke of the bowling green which makes Roseacre Road impassable even for cars on match days.

Also gave his experience of the Blue route.

He said one of the passing places on Roseacre Road was owned by him and it would not be made available for a passing place.


STARTING AT 6:30PM

Introducing the session, Mr Middleton first did the housekeeping matters (fire alarm and such) then said he had "quite a limited remit" and he was really only interested in hearing comments about the changes that Cuadrilla proposed to make to the the existing roads to make them safe enough for their traffic to be able to use them.

We thought his introduction to this session gave a clearer insight into some of the inner workings of his mind than his previous introductions, so we've reproduced the words he chose to speak.

"Again, can I stress, I do keep stressing it, but it doesn't seem to sink in with lots of people, that, I have quite a tight remit as to what I'm supposed to do, and I'm not here to examine other matters that may well have been discussed at great length at the last public inquiry.

The Secretary of State has made his mind up about most, not all of those, and the only thing he came back on was the safety of what is now the Blue Route, and so if things like landscape, amenity, noise, economic activity etc are not really before me. And in that context its not really a great use of inquiry time, if people keep telling me about that. Also the Preston New Road site has got nothing whatever to do with me, although some people may feel that lessons have to be learned from that, which is fair enough, but  actually what's going on there is probably totally different given its nature and location to the Roseacre site and its certainly not for me to go commenting on what has and hasn't happened there.

Consequently, what I want people to do is to focus on highway safety issues, and preferably from  unique perspective. It's again not a great use of Inquiry time for me to hear the same point ten time over. Once I've heard the point, if it's a good point I can obviously have due regard to a considerable extent to it. If it's not a good point then I won't.

We have got a large number of people wanting to appear, and there is a time limit tonight. I haven't had anything to eat as far as this evening is concerned, and so we've scheduled to conclude at 8:30 and I don't want...., well, I am not staying long beyond 8:30 so I'd ask people people to adhere to the times.

Because of the number of people involved, we've had to limit times to five minutes approximately per individual, and up to fifteen minutes for people speaking on behalf of an organisation or on behalf of a group sp please bear that in mind when you're presenting your evidence. If people are straying significantly beyond the time allocated and we are about to run out of time then unfortunately I'll have to cut you off.

He then turned to more housekeeping matters about the webcam and about there being no need to disclose detailed personal information.


We've attended and reported a lot of public inquiries. We've also seen the inside track on them (having spoken at several), and we've also taken the leading role as a 'Rule 6' party opposing a large housing development. So we've seen a lot of different inspectors in action.

But this is the first we've ever been to where the Inspector seems to be more intent on trying to prevent people telling him things he does not want to hear, than he does on asking people to help him to understand the issues.

Because of this we are struggling to properly describe this as an 'Inquiry' (simply because Mr Middleton seems very keen to try to limit what people ought to say to him).

We think he is wrong in this, and we would argue his role ought to hear whatever it is people want to say, to record, then filter it, and to report what aspects of it he thinks is relevant, to the Secretary of State.

As far as we can see, he is not so much *inquiring* into matters, but acting more like a judge in a complicated trial, choosing what evidence is, an is not, admissible to be considered.

That's not our understanding of what an Inquiry ought to do, and to be honest, we're struggling to find affinity with his approach, and his manner of conducting this Inquiry, and his attitude to those participating - especially those who are not 'professionals'

But that's only our view of course. Others may see it differently.


Just before the Inspector called the first speaker, Ms Leiven did a 'mea culpa' on a matter raised by Mr James in the morning session when she admitted that Cuadrilla's plans for Inskip had indeed missed out a section of road and she was arranging for a plan to be drawn to cover the missing section.

The point Mr James had made was about the accuracy of Cuadrilla's work and about how much trust could be placed in what they had said

The first speaker was:

 401 Ian Speight

From Inskip. Keen cyclist with his wife. Currently roads are very quiet and area is flat. Has refreshment stops en route. Lot of cyclists from elsewhere do use the routes to get to the A6.

Gave a description of the area and his experience of using the roads. Said as a car driver as well, he finds it frustrating trying to pass groups of cyclists.

 402 David Rimmer

Mr Rimmer was scheduled to speak at the second slot this evening but was rescheduled as the last speaker. We don't know why.

He said he lives in Knott End and passed his professional credentials to the Inspector but they were not read out so we can't report them.

He said he represented  Chris Cannon and Karen Ditchfield (who were  present with him) who represent SAFE, an organisation from Singleton village and he wanted to express concerns about the A585 Thistleton junction in particular, but also about two other locations. He thus spoke on behalf of a group and was allowed 15 rather than 5 minutes.

And because it was so technically detailed, we've reported quite a lot of it, but not all of it.

He began by saying that the exit from Mile Straight could incur a wait of up to 20 minutes at peak times, and it was used by residents of Singleton, Weeton Army Camp, and Poulton Le Fylde and he said the proximity of this junction had not been assessed for the Inquiry although Highways England had noted that the main safety issue at this junction was vehicles pulling out in front of oncoming vehicles  when entering or leaving Mile Straight.

He then went into great technical detail about accident statistics at this type of junction, and measurements and positioning regarding the right turn into Thistleton that Cuadrilla's vehicles would be making. he said the standing lane is 3.050m wide, an is not wide enough for a HGV, bus, or coach with a body and  mirror width totalling  3.050 to stand safely. He said vehicles of the same width would be travelling at up to 50mph in the adjacent lanes.

He said if three HGVs of that size were at that point at the same time, in exactly the centre of each of their respective lanes, then the clearance between the vehicles is 175mm or seven inches in one lane and  275,, or ten inches in the other (because one is a slightly wider carriageway).

He also said that for two of the years of Cuadrilla's proposed operation, there will be major roadworks on the stretch from Skippool to Windy Harbour and this would mean more motorists would avoid the roadworks by going through Singleton village and using the staggered Mile Straight/A585/Thistleton to got onto the A585 making the risk of accident even greater.

He said both the red and green routes depend on the use of this junction and he said the reasons he had given (which we have not reported in their entirety here) all made the use of this junction unacceptable. he asked the Inspector to conclude that the junction was not fit for the purpose proposed.

He then turned his attention to the 'Hand and Dagger' junction and spoke specifically and in great technical detail about what he called the extremely adverse cambers and the possibility of rollovers of HGVs.

He gave a lot of measurements and angles and heights of the road surface he concluded that turning left at the Hand and Dagger before going up Dagger Road meant the angle of descent was 17.14 degrees. He said when turning, centrifugal forces came into play as well as the forward motion and when a critical point is reached a rollover occurs he said at this point road camber, and vehicle speed, and the need for braking at the junction all altered the dynamic of the suspension system, and once the centre of gravity exceeds the vehicle footprint a rollover is inevitable.

He said the critical angle for static lateral stability for an OGV2 vehicle was was 23 degrees, but for a moving, braking, or accelerating vehicle and things like suspension an tyres ands a number of other factors would change this. He said

"It is due to dynamic forces being input by both forward motion, and descending the incline of at least 17.41 degrees under braking, and then taking the acute left hand junction of 120 degrees, having slowed down to almost a stop or stopped completely at the junction. But whilst accelerating out of the junction, the trailer will exceed the threshold due to the acute angle of the turn, the included angles of the road surface, the dynamics of the load forward, together with the acceleration of the drawing vehicle at 90 degrees or more to the centre of gravity. There's  high probability of a wheel lift on the nearside wheels of the trailer.

There is no other outcome at that point than the total rollover into the middle of the road stroke adjoining field, induced by the trailer, which will overturn the drawing unit also.

He then went on to explain the opposite - a vehicle turning right at the Hand and dagger Down Station Road along the side of the Canal.

In as much (or even more) technical detail with measurements and road levels, but this time with the vehicle in a jackknife position he said the offside wheels will lift and the vehicle will rollover toward  the side of the canal and the parked cars.

He said this meant the routes proposed were fatally flawed for the size and type of the vehicles proposed and the inadequate road systems, and he said the evidence to be presented by Mr Hastey was valid in every respect.

He then turned to another situation altogether which was the section of the MOD land at Inskip from the perspective of highway safety.

He said the access through Inskip Camp had Health and Safety signs on both gates which give an overall height limit of 3.2m clearly defined for access to the site. He said

"OGV2 vehicles to be used by Cuadrilla will in all cases exceed this prescribed height limit."

He said the height of the Cuadrilla vehicles would be 3.681m He said due to the height restriction it was not feasible to operate the blue and red routes across the Inskip site and he went further to say they would not be permitted to access the site.

He also said that Cuadrilla had said they would/could not operate on one route alone, and if, as he believed, the vehicles would be too tall, these routes could not be used and the whole appeal must fail.

He said here were six separate warning signs referencing the danger of electrical radiation and high voltage cables both above and below ground, an one sign warmed of the danger of death due to electrical radiation.

He said modern vehicles have a high level of protection from electrical signals, but none are as strong as those for the Ministry of Defence

Again he went into great technical detail, and the heights of various vehicle makes and heights, but from what we could understand of it, there were actually two problems.

One appeared to us to  be the physical height of the vehicles and their proximity to high voltage cables.

The other was the risk of electro-magnetic interference which, on MOD sites used randomised frequencies to enhance their security, and these signals can be received by passing vehicles where the vehicle wiring acts and an antennae, and the electrical pulses either disable the control modules, or cause erratic malfunction output such as engine stopping, engines behaving in an uncontrolled manner, brake application or failure and so on.

The conclusion of Mr Rimmer's evidence drew short, mild but spontaneous applause from the public gallery and the Inspector said:

"How many times do I have to remind you that this isn't the Winter Gardens?"

He really does have an unfortunate manner when dealing with people.

These were people that had mostly not been to any of the previous sessions, they were the ones he had allocated to slot four on this day.. (Our comment about his manner pertains unless, of course, he was trying to be a comedian with this comment himself - in which case, he might be better suited to performing at the Winter Gardens).

He turned to Ms Leiven and asked her to start with the A585 Thistleton junction. She said that the same point was dealt with in Mr Bird's rebuttal evidence, and it was about the concern of Highway England. The Inspector said

"I thought Highway England had basically signed it off?"

Ms Leiven said they had. She added that the Inspector had had the letter from Highway England and he had Mr Bird's rebuttal on it, and he had Mr Bird's oral evidence.

She then said the second point about the Hand and Dagger junction was a matter that would be dealt with by Mr Hastey on Tuesday.

Mr Rimmer intervened to say he had supported what Mr Hastey would say on Tuesday with the dimensions and calculations he had placed before the Inquiry in his evidence today. (We thought that was quite a clever move and will have taken some of the wind out of Ms Leiven's sails for Tuesday)

Ms Leiven said she would ask Mr Bird to look at the numbers, and if necessary put in  further note on it.

At this point the Inspector turned back to Mr Rimmer and said

"OK, so historically, I mean, you're local to the area, yes"

Mr Rimmer had said he lived in Knott End (which most people would not call local to the Hand and Dagger of course). The Inspector continued

"OK, so historically, how many HGVs have turned over on that junction. I mean, if it's being used by HGV's now, what's the   [unclear word 'saving?'  'saying?'] [other unclear word 'tens'?]   but it must have been used."

Mr Rimmer said he was not aware of any and had looked at the geometry of the junction and considered the risk. The Inspector said:

"But the geometry presumably hasn't changed"

Mr Rimmer

"No but the vehicles will change....."

The Inspector (interrupting) said:

"Well there's been arguments about the geometry, which I've got on the list to look at tomorrow"

Mr Rimmer said

"Well, I've an issue with the geometry because I [unclear words 'got the LVs off'?] some of the Vectos drawings. That's what I've used as my reference. But they're...because of it being the scale of the drawings that vary on the print, I'd to look at five drawings to get the [unclear word 'LV's'?], now you'll [unclear word 'not'?] see on your visit tomorrow or invited to look at tomorrow, where the road [unclear word] in the last four or five metres drops fairly sharply.

Now, I could have [unclear word 'add'? 'had' that [unclear word 'measurement'?] but I thought I'll stick with the figures that are on the paperwork in front of us. So you will observe to one of the last 10 metres that it comes down steady, it does dip sharp, that's where the difficulty comes in, but you'll see that for yourself tomorrow sir."

Inspector

"So you've got no recollection of there being any vehicles overturning doing that manoeuvre? "

Mr Rimmer

Not on that road. I've had on the 585 but not on that particular one. I just looked at the calculations and the included angles when that manoeuvre is being undertaken.

Inspector

"Yeah, but calculations have presumably got a robust element of safety in them"

Mr Rimmer

Sorry? The which?

Inspector

"Calculations have presumably got a robust element of safety built into them"

Mr Rimmer

"The fact is, the [unclear word] is coming down the hill like..."

Inspctor (interrupting and speaking over Mr Rimmer)

"Yeah Yeah, I have looked at it [unclear word] I'm going again tomorrow. OK? I know what you're talking about "

Mr Rimmer obviously didn't think he did know, and he said

"As he turns, the [unclear word cupping? coupling?] of the eight degrees, three degrees and so on, so the whole angle's changed. The trailer's coming round to right, its a slight bend in it because all the...."

Inspector

"Going back to my question, you don't know of any accidents, historically?"

Mr Rimmer

"I personally don't, No."

Inspector

"And no one else has put any forward in the inquiry either?"

Mr Rimmer tried to explain the accident rate he had referred to was elsewhere, but was again interrupted by the Inspector who said

"Surely if there was..., if this camber is so bad, and given that HGVs have been using it, at some point, something would have happened. Yes?"

Mr Rimmer

"Very likely"

Inspector

"Right. Thank You"

Pausing here for a moment, we think our readers, like us, will find this exchange very unsatisfactory.

We find it really difficult to come to a view that this was an Inspector who was inquiring into, and searching for, the information this witness could contribute to the Inquiry to help him come to a decision in this matter.

This  had all the hallmarks of an Inspector hectoring and bullying a witness in order to convince the witness that what the inspector already had in his mind was right , and the witness was wrong.

That's absolutely not how an Inquiry should be conducted, and we think it is a really bad sign for the outcome of this Inquiry.

Turning back to Ms Leiven the Inspector said

"Right, you've got the last junction now, not a junction....."

Ms Leiven (interrupting) said:

"On that point you've rather stolen my thunder Sir. (laughter from the Inspector). We do have the accident data. I think over almost 17 years from RAG and for the last 5 years from us, and I don't see any accidents at all at that junction, but more importantly for these purposes, none with HGVs"

Mr Rimmer tried to explain he had not produced evidence of an accident rate. Ms Leiven said she understood that.

She then said

"As far as the last point is concerned Sir, the one about heights on the MOD site, that's a completely new point. I'm not going to say a word about it, save that I will take instructions and come back to you either in writing or orally on Tuesday."

Mr Rimmer tried to help her to understand the points he had made, but Ms Leiven said she had the document and would have a response to it by Tuesday and she couldn't do any more.

The Inspector said

"OK. No, I understand. Yeah. I mean you really ought to have submitted this before"

There ensued a brief melee of competing voices which ended with Ms Leiven saying it was something she didn't know and was not going to give an answer.

Mr Rimmer then said he had just been told about a milk tanker that had overturned at the Hand and Dagger junction. He volunteered to find out more about it.

 405 Sean Smith

Lives in Wharles. He does not feel that Cuadrilla have taken account of the need for emergency services being able to deal with an emergency situation. The capillary routes could not cope with the need to deal with a major emergency if one were to arise at or near the site.

 406 Gordon Smith

Resident of Treales Roseacre an Wharles. Said the appeal was for a heavy industrial activity in designated countryside and 44 tonne vehicles using an acknowledged already inadequate rural road network.

He said the local plans of Blackpool Fylde and Wyre did make provision for industrial activity and made the point that traffic etc to these areas was already catered for and because the capacity to drill laterally existed it should be possible to reach the shale rock from some of them without damaging the countryside and rural roads.

Changing tack slightly and turning to effective or otherwise operation of regulatory bodies he said

If the pollution control regulator was not operating effectively however, say, because the regulators were actually trying to enact a government imperative - essentially to make shale gas happen - rather than protecting communities and the environment, then we would have a conflict wit the National Planning Policy Framework.

NPPF paragraph 1.2.2 says that planning should - not must - assume that the planning control regime is operating effectively. It is not specific, but of course national planning authorities who grant permissions and issue conditions are intrinsically part of that.

If there was evidence that the independence of regulators was being compromised, then the regimes could not operate effectively.

To that end, I would like to bring to your attention a letter published by the Telegraph Media Group and attached to this Paper.

It is signed by Cabinet Ministers of the three principal departments with regulatory functions relating to shale gas exploration, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

It has only recently been realised the significance of this in matters before us.

In my experience of safety control regulation, I do not consider the departments party to this statement can operate effectively for pollution control because their leadership has set out a conflicting commitment to implement that which they are supposed to be regulating.

I've highlighted a number of notable shale implementation statements in this letter"

And he went on to give those quotations.  We will return to this matter at the end of the Inquiry because we regard it as being important for the future.

He concluded that the letter appears to be prepared to us any means to achieve shale gas development, and this was in conflict with an effective pollution control regime, including protection of highway safety. He concluded:

"With this evidence before you, I would therefore ask that you now satisfy yourself that subsequent to this letter, that suitable corrective action must be implemented to remove this conflict of interests, an impediment to the effective operation of a pollution control regime.

Without such assurance I can only assume that you must conclude that the development can not proceed because the process controls for highway safety on this intrinsically inadequate rural road network cannot be secured as safe, suitable, below levels of severe, and the appeal should be dismissed

Thank you for listening."

This was a really clever contribution (and to be honest, we were surprised that the Inspector let him continue given how tight he had been with other speakers).

What Mr Smith had done was to effectively challenge not just the Inspector, but the process by which the whole Inquiry had been established. If he is right, this could turn out to be a brilliant move by those opposing the process.

there was silence for a moment the n the Inspector said

"Interesting"

And turning to Ms Leiven he asked if she wanted to ask questions of Mr Smith. She said

"I certainly don't want to ask any questions, but in my submission, everything from paragraph eight on this is entirely irrelevant to you."

Inspector

"Well I was just going to say shouldn't you be at the Old Bailey rather than here?

Ms Leiven chimed in with

"Well certainly in the Royal Courts of Justice.... It's wholly irrelevant. Whatever the merits or demerits, it's wholly irrelevant"

We think her reference to the Royal Courts of justice suggests this would be something to be considered within a Judicial Review.

To be honest, we think we've already seen a number of grounds that could justify undertaking a Judicial Review if this decision goes against the wishes of RAG, the Parish, Borough and County Councils, and our own MP as well.

The Inspector said

"What I think about this doesn't matter, I'm not here to do, I'm here to judge the appellants highway schemes and the ramifications of those for highway safety. That's the job I've been appointed to do, that's what I'm being paid for. I'm not here to tell the Secretary of State how to do his job. OK?"

Mr Smith didn't seem to think that was Ok because he stood very firm and said

"I couldn't live with myself if someone died because of this so..."

Inspector (Interrupting)

"If someone died because of this then I probably couldn't either, so you can rest assured that from the point of view of highway safety I will look at it, but you know, what the Minister and his colleagues, what the Secretary of State and his colleagues are saying to one another and other parts of Government is a matter for them It's not for me"

We seem to have heard that line about I'm only doing my job being used (unsuccessfully) as a defence shield somewhere before.

Mr Smith said

"I think that's the point sir, I think the fact that pollution control requires an INDEPENDENCE that actually the Secretary of State, in the letters that are written, - they're supposed to be the regulatory authority - but actually they've colluded, in writing."

Inspector

"I don't think there's any evidence that the Environment Agency doesn't act independently...."

Like Ms Rothery the night before, this was about to develop into a row and several voices spoke all at the same time.

Ms Leiven's best 'PitBull' voice (which we've not heard at this enquiry up to now) rose stentorianly above the melee and said

"Can I very very strongly urge you not to get involved in that debate, It's wholly inappropriate to this forum and I don't think you can sit and listen to allegations of collusion between ministers or regulatory agencies and be seen to be [indistinct words]"

We can't help thinking there may be more to come on this matter.

 407 Angela Livesey

Live in centre of Roseacre and directly opposite a passing place. It has already has a severe impact on our lives. It will be a logistical nightmare

There is no fundamental change by Cuadrilla who are spreading the problems over three routes rather than one. The roads are unsuitable for this type of activity.

She said she used the area and has had an accident cause by a young driver in the recent past.

She said she sincerely knew that the volumes of traffic, pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists, dog walkers and agricultural traffic volumes identified by the traffic management plan were just not accurate. She drove on the roads daily and walked on them regularly.

She said she had had the misfortune to be in an accident on Roseacre Road in the last 3 years when a fast young driver coming down Elswick High Street with nowhere to go, spun in the middle of the road. It was a truly terrifying experience and she said she was an experienced driver.

She said all the routes have the same issues and dispersing the traffic would only increase the risk, not mitigate against it, ad no amount of paper-driven management plan would change that.

 408 Carole Worthington

From Treales but has  family in Roseacre. Uses the roads regularly and gave her description of the area and her personal experiences.

Said the land was low lying and often flooded. Sometimes cars get stuck in floods across the road and cause obstruction.

 409 Chris Maguire

Resident of property 200m North of the proposed site.

Spoke of a bench on the verge and also service meters for his property which are damaged when vehicles use the verge.

Has a child who cycles on the road. He did a count of cycles today for an hour and saw 11.

Spoke of sheep wandering between fields all the time. animals on the road is normal in this environment.

Given his location he said he expected lots of protestors and lots of traffic problems for local residents.

His argument was essential that more traffic and HGV's would make it all worse.

 410 Robert Sanderson

Dairy farmer from Kirkham with 1,000 head of cattle. Farming used to have a more relaxed pace. Today there are fewer farmers under much more pressure and to cope with that pressure, the agricultural  vehicles have vastly increased in size. They can be in excess of 3.1m and that doesn't compare with the horse and cart transport for which these roads were designed.

He said the idea of using more HGVs would only make matters worse.

He was right, but sadly, the Inspector was not going to take much of what he said

 411 Dr Duncan Coppersthwaite

Lives in Kirkham. Spoke of the number of HGV and water tanker numbers. Said they were grossly underestimated at PNR because Cuadrilla had not expected to have to tanker away rainwater despite knowing this is a high rainfall area.

He then said the planning application for this inquiry had no consent to discharge water from the Roseacre site and he argued that Cuadrilla were trying to hoodwink the inquiry by asking the Inspector to accept that this would happen and there would be a lot less tanker journeys.

He said there was no extant permission to discharge at Roseacre. The prospect of there being one could not be relied upon, and the Inspector should not accept it or the reduced number of tanker journeys that Cuadrilla was proposing.

 412 Stephen Hunter

Lives in Great Eccleston Commutes to Preston and has long experience of using them. Gave his personal experiences and spoke of agricultural vehicle use and cows and sheep.

 413 Nick Caunt

From Freckleton. Said these plans were worse than those rejected by the previous Inspector. Keen walker needs verges for refuge purposes. His professional background used risk evaluation so he had some experience of risk.

Worried about verges being lost, poor state of roads because of existing HGVs and safety of protestors, also damage to hedges. Spoke of potentially contaminated water which eventually flows into the River Wyre. He argued this change of plan was too late to be considered by this Inquiry because there had been no public consultation on it.

Said we were told to trust the familiarity and training of Cuadrilla's drivers, but evidence from PNR proves this to be a totally invalid assumption.

 414 Vicky Cookson

Horse owner herself with 20 others and said Dagger Road formed a key hacking route. She was dismayed to see Dagger road used for this purpose.

Equestrians need daily use, not just at weekends. HGVs are extremely intimidating to a horse let alone their riders.

And with increased HGV use of these routes, other traffic will move to other roads making it worse for horse riders as well. She asked whether the HGV drivers would be asked to pull into a passing place and turn off their engines.

And at that point today's session ended.


 DAY NOT NUMBERED     (20 APRIL 2018)

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Dated:  17 April 2018

 

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