Monday, 29 February 2016

AI truck in collision with coach on B3180 in 2014 - SLR rewrites events in cover-up

Aggregate Industries' planning applications are packed full of fiction, but this surely wins the prize.

As part of AI's planning application, its consultants SLR produced a Transport Assessment for the haulage route from Straitgate Farm along the B3180 to Blackhill Quarry. At the time, we said the TA was as far removed from reality as any we had seen. The TA only included accident data up to the end of 2013; which seemed strange, for a planning application of May 2015. DCC requested:
The CHA would also wish see more comprehensive up-to-date accident data for the whole of the proposed haulage route included within the application.
AI and SLR supplied further information, and lo and behold it turned out that not only had SLR miscounted the number of HGV incidents, but that 23% of accidents on B3180 involved HGVs in 2014.

But SLR didn’t tell the whole story. In fact, it told a different one. Perhaps AI and SLR could explain why they tried to bury the facts and mislead DCC and the public? Because the whole story is not to be found in AI/SLR's Item 5 on Highway Safety, but on Twitter:

That’s AI’s HGV in the photograph. There were three incidents involving HGVs over 7.5 tonnes on this stretch of the B3180 in 2014. DCC’s road accident data describes the above collision as:

The local paper described the collision as:
Witnesses say a coach and a lorry were involved in a collision and the road is closed from the A3052 Sidmouth Road, Halfway House junction, to Woodbury Park.
But for reasons known only to those "committed to acting honestly", SLR took DCC’s data above - contained in the appendices - and changed "bus/coach" to "rear of a car":
B3180 - Sanctuary Lane to Castle Lane
Two accidents that resulted in slight injury only occurred along this section of road. One of the accidents involved three cars... The other accident occurred when an HGV collided with the rear of a car in front. 2.44
Not content with that change, SLR also failed to point out that it wasn’t just any old HGV involved in the collision, it was its client's HGV, an Aggregate Industries HGV in collision with a coach.

Why is SLR corrupting the facts? Did SLR bow to AI pressure? Or did SLR take it upon itself? What can people believe if AI/SLR are prepared to manipulate data like this; how much of what AI and SLR tell us is reality and how much is fantasy?

Because AI/SLR want us to believe that:
The accident analysis at Section 2.4 of the TA and Item 5 of this Regulation 22 response suggests that there are no historical safety issues from HGVs using the proposed haulage route. 2.80
The TA provided a thorough and robust assessment of the impact of the proposed development on the current and future local highway network… 2.85
Records show that the majority of the proposed haulage route has been used for the regular transport of extracted material from Rockbeare, Marshbroadmoor and Venn Ottery historically without adverse impacts to road network operation or safety. 8.47
But the evidence above, together with other evidence, shows that those statements are simply not true. It’s obvious that AI’s HGVs - up to 200 movements a day - should not be on the B3180 and Woodbury Common; 2016 is the year those HGVs should stop for good, before something more serious happens.