Residents object to plans for 20 massive gas tankers a day to rumble past their homes in Milton Keynes

The tankers, filled with compressed natural gas, are dubbed 'tube bombs' in the US

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 2:54 pm

A plan to site a huge gas injection complex near Bletchley has caused an outcry among residents.

The proposal would mean 20 giant tankers containing compressed natural gas would visit the site each day and night - meaning 40 trips rumbling along local roads and past houses.

There would be four HGV bays for the tankers to offload their gas to be injected into the national grid. The facility would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A compressed gas tanker. Photo: Shutterstock

Applicants David Tucker Associates have been commissioned by Bawden Energy Ltd to seek planning permission from Buckinghamshire Council to build the tanker offloading bays.

The land, located west of Bletchley Road in Newton Longville, is part of a small existing gas distribution site owned by Southern Gas Network (SGN).

The applicants say there are no safety issues and the 'modest' number of tanker movements would not have a detrimental impact on local roads.

But residents disagree. In fact, more than 1000 people living along the route have lodged official objections on the planning portal.

A map shows the existing Southern Natural Gas site

"HGVs will be accessing the site at night, causing sleep disturbance for all those along the routes. If this was a supermarket or a distribution centre, then a night time curfew would be applied," said one protestor.

He added: "While no explosions or fires associated with these tankers have been reported in the UK, these tankers have earned the nickname 'tube bombs' in the US and Far East where fires and explosions have occurred through accidents."

The tankers will have to travel through a large chunk of residential Bletchley, past several schools and care homes, into Newton Longville, where the nearest homes to the offloading bays would be just 100 metres away, they say.

To access the site, tankers will have to block the road and this will cause limited visibility and safety risks, say residents.

This shows the surrounding roads that could be affected

"The existing facility has been running since 1965 and you wouldn't even know it's there. It's just a slab of concrete with a few pipes. There's no noise or disturbance from it," said one.

"The new plan will make a huge difference. There will be 40 tanker movements a day as they come and go - and this will happen all through the night too."

Milton Keynes Council is objecting to the planning application, stating: "There are fundamental and significant concerns as a result of the proposal relating to traffic movements and highway safety which would be contrary to the relevant sections of Plan: MK."

Newton Longville parish councillors considered the proposal at a special meeting on October 27 and unanimously objected, saying: "This seems to be a poorly thought out proposal in a very unsuitable location, so close to houses."

But Buckinghamshire Council planning officers are not raising objections and state there will be no traffic or environmental impact to local residents.

However residents say this claim is based on a traffic survey carried out when Whaddon and Buckingham Road were both closed, forcing all the traffic along other routes.

David Tucker Associates say their transport statement has been prepared in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The company states: "Forecast trip traffic generation of the site confirms that the site will generate a modest number of vehicular movements and would not result in a detrimental impact on the local highway network.

"Overall, it is considered that there are no existing road safety issues on the local road network that give rise to specific concern or warrant any intervention as part of the site proposals

"Vehicle movements are expected to be around 20 deliveries a day, however the site is accessible 24 hours a day. This would equate to around one vehicle per hour and these will not always occur in the peak hours.

"In general traffic generation from the site will be modest and limited."