Delay in confirming refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancs shale monitoring plans

The reasons for Lancashire County Council’s refusal of permission for Cuadrilla’s shale gas monitoring plans at Grange Road, Singleton have still not been confirmed.

The last meeting of the council’s development control committee in February voted against the plans by seven to six, with one abstention. This rejected the advice of planning officers to approve the application.

At a meeting of the committee this morning, councillors were told the reasons could still not be confirmed for legal and policy reasons and the application would not be discussed.

Senior solicitor, Jill Anderson, said there were legal issues to be considered and council staff were looking in detail at the policy advice originally given to the committee.

“This to help the committee identify reasons for refusal which are sustainable”, she said. “So for both the legal reasons and the reasons relating to policy it has not been possible to bring them [reasons for refusal] yet and obviously we will try to bring it as soon as we can.”

The application for the former Grange Road gas exploration well was for seismic and pressure monitoring, after which the well would be plugged. More than 300 people objected to the plans and at the Ferbruary meeting 12 people spoke in opposition. The application was separate from Cuadrilla’s plans to drill and frack up to eight wells at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood, which will be decided by the end of this month.

After February’s refusal, Cuadrilla said it was “perplexed and disappointed” by the decision. It said the refusal was contrary to the advice of planning officers, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency. The company said the decision left the Grange Hill well in planning limbo.

Donna Hume, of Friends of the Earth, said “Refusing the application was the right decision by Lancashire County Council, as it is clear that the people of Lancashire do not support shale gas extraction. The council must say no to fracking anywhere in Lancashire and turn down Cuadrilla’s two applications which will be considered in the next few months.

Report of February’s committee decision

Five speeches from February’s meeting

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