Cuadrilla fracking plans – reaction to refusal recommendation

Our round-up of reaction to this morning’s recommendation by Lancashire County Council planners to reject Cuadrilla’s planning applications for fracking at two sites in the Fylde. Statements from:

  • Cuadrilla
  • Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
  • Fylde anti-fracking campaign group
  • Industry representatives
  • Government

The decision on the proposals at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood will be made next week.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s CEO, told the Telegraph

We disagree with the recommendation of the planning officer on the noise issue. We hope that the committee will vote for these. If they don’t clearly we have grounds for appeal, we believe, under the planning system. Noise and traffic are the two remaining issues but there isn’t a development in the country that hasn’t had to address noise and traffic.

Statement from Cuadrilla Resources

We are very disappointed that Lancashire County Council’s Planning Officers have recommended that the Council’s Development Control Committee refuse planning consent for both our applications. Officers have recommended refusal at Preston New Road only on grounds of night-time noise and at Roseacre Wood on noise and traffic concerns. We note that the Planning Officer’s report has accepted the principle of our proposals and is satisfied with all other aspects of the planning applications and in particular their conclusion that properly regulated hydraulic fracturing is ‘very low risk’. We believe that the limited grounds on which the officers have recommended refusal can be satisfactorily resolved. Our applications are to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells at each of our proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.

After a lengthy period of consultation and review of around seven months the Planning team at Lancashire County Council has raised objections about background noise for both sites. We believe, supported by independent experts Arup, that we have come forward with measures that would mitigate noise of drilling and fracturing and the proposed noise levels are within the limits set out in government guidance.

For our application at Roseacre Wood we had already supplied within the last week extra information regarding traffic routes which we and our expert advisers believe addresses all the new issues which have recently been raised. We believe these issues should have been more widely discussed.

In the end the councillors on the Development Control Committee will have to weigh the relatively minor impacts which affect only a small number of households and for which we have proposed adequate proposals for mitigation against the wider local and national, jobs, growth and economic as well as energy security opportunities.

We will await the councillors’ decisions on both these applications and we believe that all of the limited issues that have been raised can be resolved.

Pam Foster, of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, told The Guardian

We are absolutely delighted of course. It feels like a huge victory. But we are very pragmatic about it. We are still planning our mass demonstration next week.

Noise and traffic are very relevant objections but my feeling is that the main objections should have been public health, Cuadrilla are not going to go away. They are going to throw everything at it. So the fight goes on.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of the onshore operators’ group, UKOOG:

The planning officers’ report concluded “the principle of exploration and appraisal for shale gas would be acceptable and that in the proposed location impacts on air quality; archaeology and cultural heritage; greenhouse gas emissions; community and socio economics; ecology; hydrogeology and ground gas; induced seismicity and subsidence; land use; landscape and visual amenity; lighting; traffic; resources and waste; resources or public health (except for noise) would be low or could be mitigated and controlled by condition to make them acceptable”.

It is disappointing that officials at Lancashire county Council have come to this recommendation. The Grounds for refusal are local planning matters specific to these sites rather than any issues that would have an obvious impact on other shale gas applications. I am pleased that the report concluded that the concerns raised by environmental groups have been addressed.

Friends of the Earth’s North West campaigner, Helen Rimmer:

We are delighted that the planning officers have recognised the serious effects that these developments would have on neighbouring residents and have recommended that Lancashire County Council refuses these applications.

“Councillors must now act on this and the tens of thousands of objections they have received and reject Cuadrilla’s fracking applications next week. Only by doing so will they ensure that fracking is not allowed to cause further climate change while also putting communities and the local environment at risk.

Lee Petts, of the North West energy task force, a pro-fracking group of local businesses financed by Cuadrilla

We call on councillors to grasp this opportunity to create the jobs and investment that Lancashire badly needs.

Simon Clydesdale, energy campaigner, Greenpeace

We applaud Lancashire planners’ recommendation that the County Council refuse permission for Cuadrilla to frack for shale gas at two sites. Many thousands of people in Lancashire are seriously worried about the potential risks of fracking – traffic, noise, water contamination, air pollution, the value of their homes, to name just a few. The concerns about noise and traffic brought up by the planners are a reminder that fracking could be a lot of pain for very little or no gain for communities in Lancashire.

Department of Energy and Climate Change

The government continues to support the development of the shale industry in the UK [but] this is a matter for the local planning authority to determine.

Why the planners recommended refusal – our report

2 replies »

  1. I am very pleased that the Lancs Planners have recommended refusal of Cuadrilla’s fracking applications, however one huge flaw remains in reaching the correct decision and that is with “Unqualified” Councillors on the Development Control Committee. The Councillors on the Committee who all come from diverse backgrounds have to make the final decision to approve or throw out the application, but my point is this, How can Councillors make a well informed decision on an application that if passed could effect the wellbeing of thousands of ordinary citizens without knowing even the basics of geology, hydrology, environmental risks, waste water management, or drilling practices? It takes years of study to become qualified in any of these, yet ordinary Councillors will be charged with making a decision on these very important matters. This is a huge flaw in this whole decision making process.

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