As expected, Cuadrilla is to appeal against the refusal of its two applications to frack in the Fylde area of Lancashire. Campaigners said the appeals disregarded local democracy and would put further pressure on residents.
Last month, Lancashire County Council’s development control committee refused consent for drilling, fracking and testing up to four wells each at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. In a statement today, Cuadrilla said it would challenge both refusals.
The company will also appeal against the refusal of another application to install seismic and ground monitoring in the area around the proposed Preston New Road site.
A similar application for monitoring around Roseacre Wood was approved but the company will appeal against some of the conditions imposed. Local people are raising money to challenge the approval of this application.
Councillors voted to refuse the Preston New Road fracking application on the grounds of noise and visual impact, against the advice of the council’s planning officer.
The officer recommended refusal of the Roseacre Wood fracking application on traffic grounds. Local people had objected to both Cuadrilla’s original lorry route to Roseacre Wood and an alternative route through a notorious bottleneck.
A statement from Cuadrilla said: “We will review the proposed traffic routing for Roseacre Wood in preparing our appeal. Our preferred route remains a two way route running to and from the A583 at the Clifton junction to the south of the Roseacre Wood exploration site and utilising a route through the Ministry of Defences’ Inskip site, bypassing local villages”.
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said:
“We have given careful consideration to appeal the planning decisions taken by Lancashire County Council. This is a natural step in the democratic process for deciding any planning application.”
“We recognise that onshore shale gas exploration still feels relatively new in the UK and we remain committed to engaging with local communities to reassure them that exploratory operations can and will be carried out safely and in an environmentally responsible way.”
“I understand that some people would prefer that we did not appeal but I am confident that we will demonstrate to Lancashire and the UK that shale gas exploration and fracking is not only safe but represents a very real opportunity to create jobs, fuel businesses, heat UK homes and stimulate significant local economic growth.”
Cuadrilla said the monitoring appeals would be submitted within the next week. The shale gas exploration site appeals would “follow in due course.”
Responding to the announcement, Friends of the Earth’s North West campaigner Furqan Naeem said:
“Cuadrilla’s decision to appeal Lancashire’s Council’s resounding no to controversial fracking shows a blatant disregard for the views of local people and local democracy.”
“Lancashire councillors and residents have rejected fracking and the Government’s recent report revealing potential negative impacts on everything from the health of residents, to house prices, to climate change shows they were right to do so.”
“An appeal will put further pressure on residents who have been fighting to keep their community free from this filthy industry for four years now. Cuadrilla bullied their way into a second chance to make the case for fracking in January, they don’t need a third.”
“David Cameron must stick to his commitment that fracking decisions belong with local councils and not allow Lancashire’s decisions to be overturned.”