UP to 30 tankers are set to trundle through the village of Lach Dennis each day for 12 months, carrying oil destined for a refinery at Ellesmere Port.
The oil is due to be recovered from 34 salt caverns 200 metres below ground to the south east of Plumley, north east of Lach Dennis and west of Peover.
The work is set to start in September 2015, and is expected to last a year.
The aim is to use up to 30 tankers a day to transport oil from the storage site to the A556, equivalent to 60 journeys a day through Lach Dennis, with each lorry travelling to and from the site.
The Government’s Oil and Pipeline Agency has appointed Essar Oil (UK) to recover the oil from long-term storage, before transporting it to Essar’s Stanlow refinery.
The storage site is accessed from Back Lane, which runs between Hulme Lane and Plumley Moor Road.
Press briefing information said the agency is conscious that the increase in traffic from the tankers may cause disturbance or inconvenience to local communities, and the agency has proposed measures aimed at reducing the inconvenience.
These include implementing voluntary speed limits for tankers lower than the current mandatory limits along the route from the storage site to Lach Dennis and through the village.
It is also planned to create traffic calming ‘welcome’ signs at the entry to the village, install passing places along Back Lane, grit roads in winter and work with residents to determine the hours the tankers would operate.
The document stresses that the project has nothing to do with fracking, and does not involve drilling.
The tanker transport route runs from Back Lane, through Lach Dennis and along the A556 through Lostock Gralam and the motorway network to Stanlow.
The document states that a great deal of work has gone into investigating alternative methods of transporting the oil to avoid using road transport.
It says none of the alternative methods proved viable or proportionate in terms of the time, expense and disruption and/or environmental impact they would cause, in relation to the nature, scale and expected duration of the project.
A survey carried out in March indicated the tankers would increase HGV traffic through Lach Dennis by 11.8 per cent and total daily traffic by 1.3 per cent.
The agency and Essar have discussed the project with parish councils covering Plumley, Peover, Lostock Gralam and Lach Dennis, and the document states the agency would continue to liaise and listen to feedback in the run-up to and throughout the project.
It has written to residents and businesses near the storage site and along and near the transport route, and a two-day ‘open door’ event for Lach Dennis residents takes place at Lach Dennis Village Hall on Friday, from 2.30pm to 7pm, and on Saturday, from 11am to 4pm.