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Anti-frackers gear up for April Public Inquiry. 'The Bentley Effect' at Dukes next week

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The three routes proposed by Cuadrilla. Click to enlarge
The three routes proposed by Cuadrilla. Click to enlarge
Author: 
Chris Satori

As fracking continues to dominate the agenda, planners and local residents are gearing up for the Roseacre Public Inquiry, which is due to start in April,  on whether to allow Cuadrilla to carry out test fracking there, with a view to commercial extraction. Cuadrilla submitted their new traffic management plan in November, and Fylde planning committee meets about it next Thursday, and on Tuesday and Wednesday Lancaster Fights Fracking will be screening 'The Bentley Effect' at the Dukes Gallery (see all event details below).

Three routes to be colonised for Cuadrilla-priority vehicles

Fylde and Lancashire County Council's planners will be considering and making recommendations on the three routes (see map) that Cuadrilla proposes to share its heavy freight traffic across. 

The bad news is that all these routes use narrow, winding country lanes. One of them would require regular passage through a secure Ministry of Defence facility. A wide range of hauliers are used, and few of their drivers would have the level of clearance required for regular access through a secure MOD site.  And from what we have seen from the existing site at Preston New Road, on- and off-site traffic volume is very heavy, with frequent exceptionally large vehicles.  The size of the vehicles has regularly led to the main A683 being closed to allow their passage.

The narrowness of the lanes around the new site at Roseacre would make them particularly easy to blockade, and would require a huge number of police across the three routes, in addition to the very high numbers already being deployed around the existing sites. The lanes and their feed-in roads, the A585, the B2569 and the Inskip Road, most of which are also narrow, with some very tight bends, would require closure from all directions on an almost daily basis to allow safe priority passage to Cuadrilla's vehicles. Roseacre Wood is an infinitely less accessible location that the existing Preston New Road site, which is adjacent to the main A583 route from Preston to Blackpool - yet even that has caused enormous daily problems and delays for traffic. Now one of the main alternative routes is also under threat. 

However the site is located in Lancashire, and it's difficult to predict whether the Secretary of State will be able to seriously consider the welfare of communties and commuters so far away from London, when balanced against the interests of a company that, despite its obsolete technology and poor record, is so very well-connected in the government he deals with daily and in person. In the past Cuadrilla has won his support and his government's very generous subsidies, and serving its convenience seems to be a greater priority than the perfect storm of chaos being prepared for the Fylde. 

The good news for Roseacre residents is that Fylde's Planning Committee are being recommended to object to the new routes. Fylde's meeting is next Thursday, (18th January 2018) at the Kirkham Community Centre, Mill Street, Kirkham, PR4 2AN, starting at 2:00pm. We advise readers who want to attend to get there early, it's likely to be busy.

You can find out more about the public inquiry and its related documents at http://programmeofficers.co.uk/lancashire/.

The Bentley Effect

Also next week, local group Lancaster Fights Fracking will be screening 'The Bentley Effect' at the Dukes Gallery on Tuesday 16 and January 17 at 7.30pm. 

"When the coal seam gas industry staked a claim on the Northern Rivers shire of Australia people from all walks of life organised themselves against it. The final battle lines were drawn in the peaceful farming valley of Bentley. This timely story of a community’s heroic stand shows how strategic direct action and peaceful protest from a committed community can overcome industrial might and political short-sightedness."

It's a fascinating documentary about how a diverse community finds in itself the common will to defend their land, resources and heritage. Entry is free and donations are welcome. 

 

 

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