Sunday, 16 June 2013

Traffic, damned traffic, and statistics

That's the trouble with statistics. Take Aggregate Industries' reopening of Hazelbank Quarry in Scotland. Stow and Fountainhall Community Council has "massive concerns":
The majority of the lorries will be turning northwards so will be crossing the carriageway, which is going to be really dangerous as southbound motorists prepare to overtake on the straight. This stretch of the A7 sees a lot of accidents and more large lorries will create frustration with drivers.
AI's Transport Assessment: "an impact of 1.44%" on existing traffic and suggestions that measures to reduce vehicle speeds on the A7 in the vicinity would "more than [offset] any minor effect of the small amount of traffic associated with the proposed development".

It's the same at Uffculme for AI's application for a new aggregates bagging plant, the one that's being built but has yet to obtain permission.

DCC says there are traffic issues. Uffculme Parish Council are concerned about the "total inadequacy of surrounding road network". Mid Devon District Council has called for a consultation on a number of issues including "whether the additional traffic movements are acceptable taking into account the nature of the surrounding road network and whether Houndaller Quarry will be re-opened". The Highway Authority has called for additional information over and above AI's Transport Assessment and have "queried the adequacy of the A38 junction leading from the site".

AI's Transport Assessment: "...the proposed development is concluded to have no material bearing on the performance of the highway network". A 76% predicted increase in traffic at one narrow and complex junction is written off as "remains within the anticipated allowance of day-to-day variation in traffic demand".

Local residents should scrutinise Transport Assessments very closely, because, whether it's 1.44% or 76%, consultants will have a clever answer showing any additional HGV risk to be benign.