Lancashire County Council is reducing the speed limit near a shale gas exploration site on Preston New Road to improve safety for drivers, police, protestors, and vehicles accessing the site.
Following an assessment of safety, and discussions with police, the council has decided that reducing the 50mph speed limit to 20mph in the vicinity of the site would help to ensure everyone’s safety and minimise the need for the police to close the road during periods of heightened activity by protestors.
Initially, on Thursday 23 March, temporary signs will be put up to indicate an advisory 30mph limit on the approach to the site.
In the coming weeks, once a fully-designed scheme of signing has been prepared and advertised, this will be replaced by an enforceable 20mph limit at the site. To help drivers reduce their speed appropriately, 30mph intermediate speed limits will also be introduced on both sides of the 20mph limit.
County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “There is currently a lot of activity near this site and the police have raised concerns about the safety of the public, motorists, and their officers, in such a busy location.
“I visited the site last week and it’s clear that reducing the speed limit would help to minimise the risks, and potentially prevent a serious incident. I discussed the situation with the police and protestors, and everyone I spoke with agreed that reducing the speed limit would help to improve safety.
“Initially we will bring in an advisory 30mph limit using temporary signs, but as soon as possible afterwards we will introduce a 20mph limit. We can’t do this immediately as it will take a short while to design a scheme, manufacture the signs, and prepare the legal order needed to change the speed limit and ensure it’s enforceable.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and I would ask people to respect the changes to the speed limit and drive with extra caution in this area.”
A Cuadrilla spokesperson said “we understand Lancashire County Council’s decision and their intent to minimise the danger posed by the behaviour of some activists in the vicinity of our exploration site on Preston New Road.”