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Minorca Application lacks a through Traffic Assessment

Steve Leary | 21.09.2010 10:40 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Energy Crisis | Birmingham | Sheffield

As the Minorca Opencast Protest Group prepares to put it's case to Leicestershire County Council on why UK Coal's Minorca Surface Mine Application should be rejected it has begun to publish it's detailed objections. This Press Release out lines the first of these.


Objectors to the Minorca Surface Mine development being proposed by UK Coal plc claim that the proposal lacks a thorough new assessment of the expected impact that Heavy Goods Vehicles will have on local roads.

In the first part of their formal objections document published today, the Minorca Opencast Protest Group (MOPG) claim that the information on traffic contained in UK Coal’s submission documentation is out of date and misleading. Wardle Armstrong on behalf of UK Coal did carry out a traffic survey in 2008 and this information formed part of UK Coal’s first submission in July 2009. However MOPG then pointed out that this survey did not take account of the opening of the new Hanson Brickworks situated on the eastern fringe of Measham and using the same road network as the HGV’s would be using serving the proposed opencast mine. This is a brickworks capable of producing 100,000,000 bricks a year and is responsible for a significant increase in local HGV movements.

However, instead of undertaking a new traffic survey to correctly assess the effect of this new HGV traffic UK Coal’s new submission ‘modelled’ the impact based on data provided by Hanson’s to support their original application and the data collected for the 2008 survey. As the Traffic Assessment Objection states

“Although Gallows Lane is classified as an HGV route a large majority of the traffic using the road was, at least until the Hanson operation started, cars and light commercial vehicles; this is because Gallows Lane links Ashby to Atherstone and Nuneaton: all minor industrial centres. Apart from employees working at the sites all the increase in traffic on Gallows Lane will be very heavy lorries. Accordingly the simple statistics of numbers of traffic movements and projected numbers of traffic movements do not give a representative picture of the impact of the heavy industrial Traffic generated by the Minorca site and the simple numbers of traffic movements do not even take account of the Hanson traffic which comprises entirely eight-wheeler mineral lorries.”

The objection also points out that the Hanson Application’s prediction of an average of 10 HGV movements an hour during the working day does not seem to be supported by witnessing actual HGV movements which seem more that 10 HGV hourly movements, especially during the early morning rush hour.

A number of traffic related issues were raised by MOPG in its first set of objections to do with road safety and three local accident black spots at the junction of Gallows Lane and Measham Road, the sharp bend on Gallows Lane at the bottom of the hill near Fields Farm and lastly the staggered junction where Gallows Lane crosses Leicester / Swepstone Road just east of Measham. These issues have not been addressed in this second submission.
In conclusion the traffic objections state that

“UK Coal and their Agents have failed to collect adequate up to date data and therefore the conclusions from their projected computer modelling are unreliable.

UK Coal and their Agents have failed to address any of the further points which were raised in the traffic assessment section of the document “MOPG Response to Application by UK Coal Mining Ltd September 2009”

The Traffic Assessment part of our set of objections can be downloaded from:

Steve Leary for MOPG said

“There is no doubt that if this planning application goes ahead it will lead to a significant increase in local HGV movements to and from the Minorca site off Gallows Lane. If this application is approved, then when this site is working there will be an additional 22 HGV movements an hour on Gallows Lane compared to the situation in 2008. Hanson’s predicted 10 extra HGV movements an hour, though MOPG think this is an underestimate especially during the morning rush hour, coupled with the extra 12 HGV movements predicted by UK Coal plc.

The only modification to the road system suggested is to widen the western last 100 yards of Bosworth Road to enable two lines of traffic to exit north and south onto Gallows Lane. This proposed modification itself is unwelcome to many local residents who do not want changes made that destroy the rural nature of the local network.

In addition, what will become a major route for HGV’s uses, in part, one of the main bus routes taking local students to secondary schools outside of Measham. I know this is a major concern of local parents who fear the consequences of this major increase in local HGV traffic.

As already stated we consider that the Traffic Assessment as submitted is unreliable and does not deal with specific traffic risks issues and therefore we are submitting this as one reason why Leicestershire County Council should reject this application” .

A decision on this application is expected to be made by Leicestershire County Council on Friday October 15th.




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