In December 2014, Third Energy circulated a Residents’ Brochure to people living near their Kirby Misperton well-site, outlining their plans to frack at their KM8 well.
In February 2015, Third Energy held four Public Consultations at Malton, Pickering, Kirby Misperton and Great Habton. At this event they handed out a Public Consultation Booklet.
On 29th July, Third Energy finally had their planning application validated by the NYCC. (application No: NY/2015/0233/ENV). The information regarding traffic movements is in the Traffic Management Plan, and also included in the Planning Statement – Chapter 6 – Development which you can find on p4 of the ‘Documents’ tab in the Planning Application.
We have looked at the traffic movements estimated in the Planning Statement for each of the five phases of the application, and compared them to what was said in the Residents’ Brochure and Public Consultation Booklet. This is what we discovered …
1 Preparation and Pre-stimulation Workover (two weeks, 24/7)
The Residents’ Brochure and the Public Consultation Booklet both stated there would be ‘about 100’ HGV movements during the preparation/pre-stimulation stage. There was no mention of any LGV or car movements associated with the work.
However, the Planning Statement (Chapter 6) contains the following traffic movements:
*The noise attenuation barrier is to be built around the wellsite to reduce noise levels, and is made up of 33 large shipping containers (33 x 12m) and 9 medium shipping containers (9 x 6m), stacked on top of one another. These containers will need to be brought on site, put in place by crane, and then removed from the site.
2 Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation/Well Test (six weeks, 24/7)
The Residents’ Brochure and the Public Consultation Booklet stated there would be 165 or 166 HGV movements during the Fracturing stage. Again, there was no mention of any LGV or car movements associated with the work.
However, the Planning Statement contains the following traffic movements:
*This probably includes tankering out the contaminated waste water, which they said in the Residents’ Brochure that they would be removing by underground pipeline. It would also include removal of the solid waste from the well.
SUMMARY OF TRAFFIC MOVEMENTS IN THE FIRST EIGHT WEEKS
HGV traffic movements included in the Residents’ Brochure and the Public Consultation Booklet (for initial eight-week period) = 266 HGV movements.
Total number of traffic movements included in the Planning Statement (for initial eight-week period) = 910 HGV Movements + 504 LGV/car movements.
Which makes 1,414 traffic movements in total, according the Planning Statement – a huge increase on the figures they gave the public during the public consultation.
3 Production Test
The Planning Statement says that there will be 4 LGV/car movements per day, and 1 HGV movement every two or three days. However, it also says “If formation water is produced with the natural gas, it will be separated on site via the existing production separator and removed from site via road tanker.” There is no estimate of how much traffic this could generate.
There is no estimate of traffic movements for this phase in the Residents’ Brochure or Public Consultation Booklet.
Again, there is no estimate of traffic movements in the Residents’ Brochure or Public Consultation Booklet.
The Planning Statement states that “HGV movements during the production phase will be limited to … four single HGV movements. There will also be 4 LGV/Car movements per day. (Table 6.17)
However, this is not taking into account any traffic associated with further fracks at this well site, which are not included in this application. You can see from the amount of traffic generated in the first eight-week phase of the operation how much traffic even a small test-frack can generate. We can only guess at the traffic impact if Third Energy needed to re-frack the well every year or so, or started drilling horizontal sections, or multiple wells at the site.
Is that a possibility? We think it is. In Third Energy’s Public Consultation Booklet, the company says the following under the heading ‘What happens next if this is successful?’:
“To build a longer term development plan we need to know more about how gas flows from the deep Bowland Formation – this is known as an appraisal programme. This appraisal will require three or four more wells – probably a combination of our existing and new well-sites. We will need to drill lateral wells and hydraulically fracture the Bowland section. “
So, there is going to be more drilling, more wells, lateral sections, more fracking, more chemicals and sand trucked in, more waste water trucked out – all of which will result in very large numbers of HGV and other vehicle movements. For nine years …
5 Well Abandonment and Restoration (six weeks)
The Planning Statement says the following regarding traffic movements during this stage:
Again, there is no estimate of traffic movements in the Residents’ Brochure or Public Consultation Booklet, as this stage is not even mentioned.
According to the Planning Statement, the route all this traffic will take is as follows:
1. Travel along the A169 (the road between Pickering and Malton)
2. Turn west onto Kirby Misperton Road
3. After approximately 2.4km, bear left at the roundabout on to Main Street
4. After approximately 230m, bear right on to Habton Road
5. After approximately 1.3km, turn right on to the access track which leads to the KM8 wellsite.
What’s interesting about this designated route is that it doesn’t say how the HGV traffic gets to the A169. Does it go along the A64, the road to Malton, or does it go along the A170, through Pickering?
Even point 2 doesn’t clarify this, as it says ‘Turn west’, not ‘Turn left/right’. Are Third Energy deliberately leaving the door open to bring HGV traffic from both directions, thus disrupting the lives of people who live on the A170 and also those along the A64?
To write an objection to fracking at KM8, please visit our easy guidelines page KM8 – How to Object.
Third Energy’s reaction to the figures
This discrepancy in the traffic figures was reported in the York Press and elicited the following response from Third Energy: “In the leaflets Third Energy produced, round trips were described as one journey but in the planning application they are counted as two, so the figures are not comparable. That said, as a result of extensive consultation process with local residents, the council, the environment agency and other interested parties Third Energy amended its proposals and two changes – to remove waste water by road rather than a pipeline and to construct a noise barrier – led to a significant increase in truck movements, a fact set out in our planning application that has been available for the public to view since July.”
We are pleased to see that Third Energy are acknowledging that there is a significant increase in truck movements since the consultations. However, we can find no clear reference in the figures quoted in the Planning Consultation Booklet or the Planning Statement that states whether these journeys are one-way or both ways, and feel that Third Energy are looking for excuses to explain away their four-fold increase in traffic movements. This is unlikely to impress local residents, who are now facing far more disruption and noise from traffic than they were told at the public consultations. Many people are now wondering what other aspects of the application have changed since the consultation, some of which we have including on our Good Neighbours? page on this website.
Finally, for an in-depth analysis of the traffic movements throughout the whole application, please visit the excellent Drill or Drop website.