Fracking refusal: What the supporters of Preston New Road said

Cuadrilla, the operator of the proposed sites

We are surprised and disappointed that Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee has denied planning consent for our application to explore for shale gas at Preston New Road, particularly as their decision follows a positive recommendation by the Council’s Planning Officers.  We remain committed to the responsible exploration of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath Lancashire. We will now take time to consider our options regarding an appeal for Preston New Road, along with also considering appeals for  the planning applications recently turned down, against Officer advice, for monitoring and site restoration at Grange Hill, and last week’s decision to refuse the Roseacre Wood application.  For more, see our post

Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, describedscenes at  the council meeting as chaotic. He said told BBC NW::

I think the county will regret this decision today. We have invested a lot of money in exploring for this resource. We have agreed to five different extensions of this application. We wanted this decision to be made in the county.

We do not have infinite resources and patience. But I have been in this for sometime and I am not ready to give up

Centrica, which has a 25 per cent stake in Cuadrilla’s proposed operations in Lancashire

We’re very disappointed at today’s committee decision, particularly given the positive recommendation made by the Council’s planning officer. The development of this country’s onshore gas resources could be an important step in securing domestic gas supplies and unlocking investment and job opportunities.

It has taken a significant amount of investment to get us where we are today so we will be working closely with our partners at Cuadrilla before making any decisions on our next steps.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of the industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas

An important plank of the Government’s energy policy and manifesto commitment has been reduced to a position that despite all the advice a rejection has been given. This after 15 months of a long drawn out process cannot be right and I urge the government to urgently review the process of decision making.

There is a growing coalition in this country including manufacturing industries and trade unions that support the need for shale from an economic, environmental and energy security perspective.

80 per cent of our homes are supported by gas for heating and the chemical industry supports 500,000 jobs that use gas as the raw material to make products as diverse as toothpaste and computers.

The Government needs to take a strategic review of how to ensure these planning decisions are made in the prescribed timescales – this one has taken 15 months as opposed to a guideline of 16 weeks. This lengthy delay is bad for the industry and the communities involved.

This is just one adverse planning decision, where the professional judgement of planning officials, leading counsel and expert agencies was to approve based on the fact that all of the environmental, safety, health and local issues had been addressed. Other exploration companies have already stated they will be putting in their own applications very shortly.

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom

This will be a disappointing decision for those who wanted to see Lancashire at the forefront of shale development. However, shale gas has huge potential in the UK, and is an opportunity to develop a new, home-grown energy source that would displace foreign imports and create tens of thousands of jobs. I’m confident that potential will be realised – and the Government will back it.

Lee Petts, Managing Director of Remsol, which works with Cuadrilla on waste fluids

“I think it is outrageous that we were told the UKOOG legal opinion could not be put before members of the committee this morning when the Friends of the Earth and the opponent’s legal opinion had been circulated. I think that was extremely unfair. If it had been the other way round there would have been uproar in the chamber, not the scenes of jubilation. I think it is wholly inappropriate. But at least we have a decision. Everyone can now take stock and try to understand what we do with that decision. I find it particularly frustrating that we have had rigs that drilled the Grange Hill and Preese Hall wells and there was no evidence of complaints about visual impact of traffic associated with these earlier wells. We have a precedent and we have accepted it in the Fylde.

Mr Petts told the BBC: “It demonstrates that this decision is perhaps not best best taken locally after all.”

Full story

What the application opponents said

What councillors said

Scenes from outside County Hall

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