Anti-fracking campaigners have welcomed moves to impose a temporary speed limit on the road near a Fylde fracking site.
Lancashire County Council is cutting the road speed on Preston New Road to improve safety for drivers, police, protesters, and vehicles accessing the site.
The 50mph limit will drop to 20mph in the immediate vicinity of the Little Plumpton site, with a 30mph zone 600m either side of it.
Yesterday, temporary signs were put up to indicate an advisory 30mph limit on the approach to the site ahead of a fully-designed scheme with an enforceable 20mph limit at the site.
County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “There is currently a lot of activity near this site and the police have raised concerns about the safety of the public, motorists, and their officers, in such a busy location.
“I visited the site last week and it’s clear that reducing the speed limit would help to minimise the risks.
“Initially we will bring in an advisory 30mph limit using temporary signs, but as soon as possible afterwards we will introduce a 20mph limit. We can’t do this immediately as it will take a short while to design a scheme, manufacture the signs, and prepare the legal order needed to change the speed limit and ensure it’s enforceable.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and I would ask people to respect the changes to the speed limit and drive with extra caution in this area.””
Claire Stephenson, from the Preston New Road Action Group, said: “We welcome Lancashire County Council finally acting upon the increasing risks on this dangerous stretch of road.
“Since Cuadrilla arrived in our community, we have seen nothing but dangerous actions, including HGV drivers who have not been briefed correctly, carrying out manoeuvres that jeopardise all other road users and road closures to facilitate Cuadrilla’s large-scale machinery entering the site.”
A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “We understand Lancashire County Council’s decision and their intent to minimise the danger posed by the behaviour of some activists in the vicinity of our exploration site on Preston New Road.”See also: Major road closed in fracking protest