The day started with MVV’s barrister, Mr Mark Westmoreland Smith, leading Mr Neil Rugg, who is the Principle Traffic Engineer at URS Infrastructure and Environment Ltd, through his evidence to support MVV’s case. Mr Rugg highlighted three issues of concern for the Inquiry:
- amenities to the community
- the impact of the local waste regulations, and
- the National Planning Policy Framework requirements.
He said all three were satisfied and unproblematic for the proposals. Mr Rugg said that the roads had enough capacity, that there would only be a modest increase in traffic and that road traffic accidents would not increase under the new proposals.
Mr Charlie Hopkins, for Buckfastleigh Community Forum, cross examined Mr Rugg to test the quality of his evidence.
He firstly focused on what was meant by Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) under the proposals; was it a 3.5 ton lorry or a 20 ton lorry? In addition, was there any difference between the two in terms of noise, amenity and traffic flow? Mr Rugg said it made not difference.
Mr Hopkins questioned the statistics used by Mr Rugg to draw his conclusions. For example, the number of total traffic accidents involving HGVs used by Mr Rugg was taken from a national total which included motorways. The point was made that bicycles or pedestrians are not permitted on motorways—so that the accidents would be higher on smaller roads and potentially higher on the B3380.
Questions were also raised about the regularity of HGVs passing through the road over a 10-hour period. The amenity assessment was based on an even spread over 10 hours rather than a more irregular pattern of intense lorry convoy, say, arriving over 1 hour. Mr Hopkins questioned whether the 10-hour average reflected the true impact.
The maximum of calculation of 200 (100 in 100 out) HGV movements a day was questioned. It is not clear how this number was arrived at.
Dr Ro Cartwright, who will give evidence later in the Inquiry on behalf of the Buckfastleigh Community Forum, then proceeded to ask several questions about the statistics and traffic assessment.
Mr Rugg was then re-examined by MVV’s barrister, Mr Mark Westmoreland Smith, shedding some light over the questions raised in cross examination. It became clear that the Mr Rugg’s calculations had been based on 20 ton HGVs not 3.5 ton. The maximum of 200 HGV movements appears to have been agreed as the figure to work from between Jacobs and Mr Rugg. Jacobs is the firm of Planning Consultants giving evidence for Devon County Council.
In the afternoon representatives of all parties together with the Inspector visited the Moorecroft site.
The Inquiry continues Tuesday 2nd July at 9.45 am.