Biggin Hill: implications of the Covers Farm infill

Approximately half of the 42,000 Covers Farm lorry loads would come through Keston and Biggin Hill.

Traffic impact

There could be 100 additional eight-wheeler trucks generated by Covers Farm and passing along the A233 – four times the daily average counted by DEFRA in 2017 (from 29 to 129). This would be in addition to the traffic generated by development at Biggin Hill Airport.

Road safety

Biggin HIll is evidently a built-up, busy area with residential, commercial and industrial premises and two major schools. There is already a high incidence of traffic accidents on the A233 through the community. http://www.crashmap.co.uk reports 20 accidents over the past 10 years in which a pedestrian was injured.

One of the busy areas is the vicinity of Charles Darwin School in Jail Lane, where children approach from housing estates on the other side of the A233 or alight at bus-stops and cross over this road. A recent pedestrian survey of the morning school run showed that approximately 160 children cross the road at the Jail Lane junction. http://www.crashmap.co.uk reports a recent accident here involving a school child. What’s more, there are many pupils who cross the A233 further along in the centre of Biggin Hill.

This is of particular concern because RPS Traffic Consultants commissioned by Westerham Town Council gave the view that the Covers Farm eight-wheeler trucks would be bunched in the morning peak hour.

A traffic survey of the evening Charles Darwin school run showed that approximately 445 vehicles negotiate the Jail Lane junction. Many cars exit the junction with an obscured view of oncoming traffic.

The Government guidance on planning decisions, the National Planning Policy Framework (revised 2021) says in Paragraph 111:

‘Development should only be prevented or refused if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or the residual cumulative effect on the road network would be severe.

In 2017 the Better Transport campaign group conducted a survey of fatality rates involving large lorries as compared to accidents involving other vehicles. You can read their findings here.

Air quality

Biggin Hill is soon to become a London Borough of Bromley Air Quality Monitoring Area, an initiative generated by the extensive development at the Airport. The 100 or so additional eight-wheeler trucks will only serve to worsen air pollution.

The Covers Farm application has rejected the possibility of routing the trucks in from the west, via Junction 6 of the M25. The applicant has chosen a contractor that will supply waste from south and south-east London, so residents of north Westerham, Biggin Hill, Brasted and Sundridge are expected to endure the high volume of tipper trucks as a result of this choice. With a different choice of sources THE LORRIES COULD HAVE COME FROM THE WEST to the existing quarry entrance on the A25.

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