Lancashire County Council announced this afternoon it has extended again the time limit to agree Cuadrilla’s planning applications to frack for shale gas at two sites in the Fylde. The new deadline is 30th June 2015.
In a statement the council said the new date followed the request by Cuadrilla that planners should consider additional information about the applications for Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.
The new information addressed concerns by planners about noise and traffic that led them recommend refusal in January. Cuadrilla has since changed the lorry route to Roseacre Wood and the use of acoustic barriers to reduce noise at both sites.
A public consultation on the new information ended on 17th April. The council said planners would now review the comments and Cuadrilla’s proposals, before making a new recommendation to councillors .
The council had previously set a deadline to decide the applications of 30th April.
The council said it would announce the date later for the meetings when applications would be decided.
Barbara Richardson from the Roseacre Awareness Group told the Blackpool Gazette: “I am not surprised by this. We and other organisations had new submissions from a specialist acoustics consultant and there is the traffic issue. There was a lot to consider. But this prolongs the agony for the residents. People in the areas affected are having to live with a lot of anxiety.”
A spokesman from the Preston New Road anti-fracking group said: “The Preston New Road Community Group is bitterly disappointed that there is to be a further delay with this application. The County Council has had sufficient reasons for refusal of the application, from the Fylde Borough Council on policy grounds, and from the local community on many other grounds related to the high risk of fracking in the Fylde. The Council has at every turn given the applicants further opportunity to revise their application. It will never become acceptable. Enough is enough. We appeal to the County Council to protect residents’ interests and refuse the application now.”
Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
Friends of the Earth’s climate and energy campaigner Donna Hume said: “This is yet another fracking decision delayed until after the election and it shows just how politically toxic fracking has become. It’s no surprise that more than 1000 candidates have now promised to oppose fracking if elected.
“Whoever leads the next Government must follow the example of Scotland and Wales and introduce an immediate moratorium at least until the climate and health risks have been assessed. Lancashire Council should support the majority of its residents who are opposed to fracking and say no to making the county the UK’s fracking guinea pig.”
Greenpeace UK energy and climate campaigner Louise Hutchins told the Lancashire Evening Post: “First we saw ministers delay a mass give-away of licences to fracking firms across half of the country. Now Lancashire councillors have put the Cuadrilla decision on hold.It looks like our politicians don’t want to be seen anywhere near this increasingly toxic issue.”
[Updated 24/4/14 and on 27/4/15 to include reaction]