Leith Hill Action Group Newsletter 50
17 June 2017
Stop the Leith Hill oil drilling!
Hello to all our supporters.
Who’d have thought we’d reach fifty newsletters about this drilling application? For thousands of members of the public, it seems obvious that it is totally inappropriate as well as being entirely impractical to go ahead with it. But here we are, and it’s up to me to pass on the latest important development: information about the traffic management plan, or “TMP”.
Europa tried and failed to present a workable TMP at the Public Inquiry. In fact, the Inspector made an explicit point during the Inquiry of criticizing Surrey Highways for not doing an adequate job of reviewing the TMP that had been included as part of the application. In his decision letter, the Inspector set as Condition 19 that Europa must create and have approved a workable TMP in order to be allowed to continue with the drilling.
Well, we now have Europa’s latest attempt at a TMP, including associated traffic survey. You can find them below (click on the “attachments” tab):
The TMP and its associated survey are tremendously important for all of us. There are between 700 and 1100+ HGV movements planned if the drilling goes ahead. This TMP is what will decide the resulting effect on all our lives – both in terms of access to Coldharbour, Leith Hill and the wider Surrey Hills but also because if the TMP fails, you can expect traffic to back up into Dorking and the A24, with utter traffic chaos the result.
Our approach with other applications in the past has been to suggest areas you might like to object about. However, we at LHAG have a firm belief that your collective knowledge of Dorking’s road system is too valuable for us to second guess. The devil really is in the details of a TMP. Do you actually think this one stacks up? Where, in your view, does it fail?
As a reminder, the TMP includes some of the following key elements:
- Affected roads are A24, Flint Hill, Knoll Road and Coldharbour Lane. But problems will quickly escalate to traffic flows across Dorking, which struggles to handle existing volumes. The disruption is likely to also cause increased use of other back roads such as Logmore Lane and Anstie Lane, resulting in secondary damage there also.
- The HGV convoy holding bay is in Knoll Road – a residential road and main school route.
- A further HGV holding bay is in Ryka's car park at Box Hill. This feeds the Knoll Road holding bay via the A24 and Flint Hill.
- Coldharbour Lane is an historic sunken lane currently signposted as unsuitable for HGVs. It will have 60 tonne crane carriers, 50 tonne drilling rig transporters and flatbeds carrying earth-moving machinery.
- Europa's own traffic survey admits there is a high risk to cyclists of a serious accident on Coldharbour Lane on Saturday mornings. However, they play down the risks at other times. The survey also says there is zero risk to horse riders or walkers south of Knoll Road, because they say there aren’t any, whilst risk to walkers across the junction of Knoll Road is dismissed as “negligible”.
- Road closures and delays in Dorking traffic are likely to endanger any residents who need emergency services.
You may wish to concentrate on areas that really affect you, out of all these issues:
- Maybe you live in Dorking and understand just how quickly the town becomes gridlocked if there is any issue.
- Or maybe you are a cyclist (particularly during the week) and are concerned for your safety if you use Coldharbour Lane.
- You might be a walker or horse rider and take issue with Europa’s claim that nobody uses Coldharbour Lane for these activities.
- If you live in Knoll Road or have a child in Powell Corderoy or The Priory schools, you will be very concerned at the potential dangers and impacts of having HGVs use Knoll Road as a parking bay.
Whoever you are, this TMP is bound to affect you. So please do take the small amount of time needed to actually read it and form your own opinions on where it is flawed.
As per usual, write to Surrey County Council planning team with your findings. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and please do include your full name and address. The consultation for the TMP officially ends on 21 June – please try your best to meet this deadline (although SCC are likely to continue to hear public objections up until the point that the application is heard by the planning committee, so it is still worth making your voice heard).
Thanks for any effort you can make to read and respond to the TMP.