Buttington Quarry - ERF
From John Bater
DNS/3214813 - Buttington Quarry ERF
I object to this planning application because I consider that the Transport Impact Assessment is unsatisfactory. It neither reflects the existing road infrastructure nor the seasonal change in traffic volumes experienced on roads in the vicinity of the proposed development.
I write in a personal capacity as a Powys resident who works for a Welsh company which services the hospitality industry. I deliver to hotels, restaurants, pubs, holiday parks, sports clubs etc. in Powys, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, and into Shropshire. I have many customers in and around the Welshpool area and know the A458 between Shrewsbury-Buttington Cross and the A483 between Buttington Cross-Oswestry well.
When either of these stretches of road are blocked there is no alternative appropriate routes for HGVs to use that doesn’t involve a lengthy detour. I cannot see any contingency plans should either road be closed.
My comments on Chapter 8 (Highways and Transportation) are as follows:
1. Existing road infrastructure
• Many trunk roads in urban areas have segregated lanes in a dual carriageway, or are of motorway standard. Because of the rural nature of Mid-Wales there isn’t a dual carriageway, let alone a motorway, within my entire delivery area.
• The A458 and A483 are trunk roads. By definition this means they are managed by the Welsh Government.
• On its website the Welsh Government states that for 9km between Buttington Cross and Wollaston Cross (in Shropshire) the A458 is not up to standard. Therefore
Buttington Quarry is situated on a section of road that is recognised to be substandard.
• From its junction with the A5 near Shrewsbury to its junction with the A483 at Buttington Cross (approximately 16 miles) the A458 is single carriageway in each direction. The road has numerous twists and turns. There are few opportunities to overtake. Long stretches of the road have double white lines at the centre mandating against overtaking. Between the villages of Middletown and Trewern there is 600 yards of the road which has three hidden dips. Laden HGVs frequently struggle up the inclines. Driver frustration, a primary cause of traffic accidents, builds.
• Buttington Quarry lies between two S-shaped bridges, namely Cefn Bridge (A458 over the railway line from Shrewsbury to the Welsh coast) and Buttington Bridge where the A458 crosses the River Severn. Both bridges are narrow with impaired visibility of oncoming traffic. It is not possible for two larger vehicles (and certainly not HGVs) travelling in opposite directions to cross safely over either bridge at the same time. One HGV will have to stop causing traffic to queue behind it.
• The Cefn Bridge, which crosses the train line from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth, has an advisory speed limit of 20mph. It is a notorious accident black-spot. If the roadside barriers of the bridge are damaged (as seems to be happening with increasing frequency), repair can take months to achieve because Network Rail has to close the railway line (for the safety of train passengers and the repair workers) before this can be facilitated. During these lengthy time periods the traffic flow over Cefn Bridge is controlled by temporary traffic lights causing long traffic queues in both directions.
• Other impairments to traffic flow on the A458 between Shrewsbury-Buttington Cross include:
a) twice daily 20mph speed restriction outside Trewern Primary School on schooldays;
b) level crossing at Buttington where the railway crosses the road;
c) bus stops with no lay-bys (when services such as the X75 stops for passengers to get on or alight, vehicles to the rear of the bus are unable to overtake);
d) livestock crossing the road where the road bisects a farm (at SY21 8EW = Plas y Court Farm, when the dairy cattle are herded across the road from pasture for milking).
• The A483 between Llanymynech-Pant is a very congested stretch of road where lengthy queues are already experienced.
• The A483 at Moors Straight (just north of Buttington Cross) crosses a flood plain, is subject to regular and numerous flood warnings throughout the year and is often closed by flooding when the River Severn bursts its banks.
2. Seasonal Variation in Traffic
• Traffic counts, both automatic and manual, took place in January 2019 to confirm existing traffic conditions.
• Traffic counts were therefore done in the month of the year (January) when traffic volumes are at their lowest.
• The A458 and A483 in the locality of the proposed ERF are cross border routes for holidaymakers and day-trippers from England to access Wales. In Spring and Summer, particularly during school-holidays, the volume of traffic on these roads increases hugely. On Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings it is not unusual for lengthy queues of vehicles heading west to build up between Buttington Cross - Trewern ie past the proposed ERF. In Spring and Summer traffic volumes at the three key junctions named in paragraph 8.3.3 also increase leading to queuing.
• Being an agricultural area, the number of farm vehicles using the roads also increases in Spring and Summer.
In my opinion this proposed ERF would make existing highway safety problems worse and adversely affect existing transport links.
I wish to suggest that modelled data for traffic growth based on an evaluation of existing conditions recorded during late July and/or August is required to inform a satisfactory Traffic Impact Assessment.
The site at Buttington Quarry is inappropriate. An ERF should be located at a more appropriate site, close to sources of waste and where the pre-existing local road infrastructure is better suited to cope with the HGV traffic generated.