Campaigners have welcomed an objection from Wyre’s Conservative MP to transport plans linked to a proposed fracking site.
Ben Wallace has written to Lancashire County Council to oppose energy company Cuadrilla’s revised route for trucks to service a test site at Roseacre.
The firm is awaiting a key planning decision on two fracking bids, one at Roseacre and one at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
Planning officers had recommended refusal of the bids on grounds of noise and traffic worries on the country roads around Roseacre. As a result, Cuadrilla revised its applications to cut the number of trucks per day by sending them via Broughton, and Woodplumpton and using MoD land at Inskip.
But now Mr Wallace, in a letter to County Hall’s Development Control Committee, which is due to give a decision at the end of April, has said: “I am surprised that Cuadrilla has identified this route as an alternative, especially taking into account it was considered and rejected by them previously.
“I don’t have to tell residents or road users in the area about the significant congestion in and around Broughton or about the narrow bridge and minor roads which are on the route.
“I am particularly concerned however about the complete disregard for the fact that this route passes both schools and nurseries in the area.
“This alternative route looks to be a knee jerk reaction from the applicant which has not been thought through. I believe that if this route was used it would have a detrimental effect on road safety in the area, which is unacceptable.”
Barbara Richardson, from the Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “While we welcome Ben Wallace’s objection to the alternate route, Rose-acre Awareness Group would like to point out that the very location of the site, right in the heart of rural Fylde, means there are actually no suitable or safe routes into or out of the proposed Roseacre Wood site.
“These country lanes are used by hundreds, if not thousands, of people for various leisure pursuits, especially popular for cycling, running, horse riding and walking.
“The area also attracts many interested in wildlife, especially bird spotters. HGVs carrying industrial equipment and disposing of hazardous waste would pose a real safety threat to vulnerable road users.”
A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “The one-way (inbound to site HGV traffic) route through Broughton is an alternative proposal to our preferred two-way routing as submitted with our Planning Application. A two-way route through Broughton was assessed as one of the options in the Transport Assessment of our Environmental Statement. It was not rejected and was in fact considered a feasible option, but was not our preferred option.
“That remains the case. A comprehensive and independent safety audit of the one-way Broughton route (including consideration of schools along the route) has determined that it is safe and suitable for the modest level of additional HGV traffic we are suggesting.”