New details on Cuadrilla fracking inquiry

Blackpool Football Club

Blackpool FC – its conference centre is the venue for the inquiry into Cuadrilla’s fracking appeals. Picture with permission of Blackpool FC Conference Centre

More details have been released about the inquiry, which starts in a fortnight, into Cuadrilla’s applications to frack at two sites in Lancashire.

The inquiry will consider the company’s appeals against the refusals of planning permission for fracking at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood in the Fylde.

It will also hear Cuadrilla’s appeals against the refusal of consent for a monitoring scheme at Preston New Road and a condition on overwintering birds attached to the permission for a monitoring scheme at Roseacre Wood.

The hearing will be chaired by a planning inspector but the decision will be made by the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Greg Clark.

Date and location

The inquiry opens at 10am on Tuesday 9th February 2016 at Blackpool Football Club Conference Centre, Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool, FY1 6JJ.


The inquiry is expected to last for at least 20 days, sitting over a period of five weeks. Most sessions are likely to be from 9.30am-5.30pm on Tuesday-Fridays. It will not sit on Mondays or at the weekend. See also Extra public sessions

Who is taking part?

The inquiry will hear from Cuadrilla and Lancashire County Council. Another seven organisations have been granted Rule 6 Status, which allows them to call witnesses and cross-examine other speakers.

The Rule 6 groups are (in alphabetical order): Friends of the Earth, Newton with Clifton Parish Council; North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce; Preston New Road Action Group; Roseacre Awareness Group, Roseacre and Wharles Parish Council and Westby-with Plumpton Parish Council.

Key people

The inspector: Wendy McKay, a non-practicing solicitor

The programme officer: Yvonne Parker. The programme officer is described as an impartial officer of the inquiry and will offer support to the inspector, Cuadrilla, Lancashire County Council and the Rule 6 groups.

The barristers and witnesses

Cuadrilla: Nathalie Lieven QC, will represent Cuadrilla. She will call the following staff from Arup to give evidence: Mark Smith on planning issues; David Hiller on noise; Andrew Tempany on landscape and visual amenity, and Johnny Ajeil on highways.

Lancashire County Council: Alan Evans will represent the council and will call four witnesses, who will give evidence on the same four issues.

Friends of the Earth: Estelle Dehon will call the following witnesses: Professor Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, speaking on climate change; Alan Watson, Director of Public Interest Consultants, speaking on waste issues; Dr David McCoy, Global Health Teaching Director at Queen Mary University and Director of Medact, speaking on public health; Richard Bate, of Green Balance, speaking on planning.

Newton with Clifton Parish Council: Cllr Peter Collins

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce: Peter Whitehead will call five or six witnesses covering skills and jobs, supply chain opportunities, economic impact and local business benefits, training and skills development and overall economic benefits.

Preston New Road Action Group: Ashley Bowes will call two or three witnesses on planning, landscape and noise.

Roseacre Awareness Group and Roseacre and Wharles Parish Council: Robin Green will call up to seven witnesses on landscape, visual impact, noise, traffic and transport, planning policy and ornithology.

Westby with Plumpton Parish Council: Cllrs J Brickles and James Taylor

Main issues

The inspector has identified the following issues that are likely to be discussed at the inquiry

  • Impact of proposals on the rural landscape – Preston New Road (PNR) and Roseacre Wood (RW) fracking proposals and PNR monitoring application
  • Production and treatment of waste fluids – PNR and RW fracking proposals
  • Impact on national climate change objectives – PNR and RW fracking proposals
  • Impact of any increased traffic on safety of people using local roads, particularly vulnerable road users – PRN monitoring and RW fracking proposals
  • Impact on living conditions of local residents – PNR fracking proposals
  • Public health and wellbeing implications – PNR and RW fracking proposals
  • Adequacy of environmental statement – RW fracking proposals
  • Condition on overwintering birds – RW monitoring application

Extra public sessions

There are evening sessions where the public can speak to the inquiry. These are:

Wednesday 17th February, 6.30pm-9.30pm on the Roseacre Wood appeals

Thursday 25th February, 6.30pm-9.30pm on Preston New Road appeals

Thursday 10th March, 11am-5.30pm on all the appeals

People who want to speak to the inquiry should contact Yvonne Parker, the Inquiry Programme Manager, at by Wednesday 10th February 2016. They should send the following details: name, address, postcode and the session they wish to attend.

Contributions to these sessions are likely to be a maximum of five minutes each. People who wish to read a prepared statement are asked to send a copy in advance.

The Planning Inspectorate said if all those who wish to speak cannot be accommodated within the three sessions another opportunity will be provided before the inquiry closes.

Web casting

Cuadrilla has asked for the inquiry proceedings to be webcast and this is to be organised by the company.

Links to information

Core documents for the inquiry can be accessed here

Proofs of evidence can be accessed here

An inquiry programme  available here

Updates from Lancashire County Council

Updated 4/2/16 to include changes to the programme officer and to state that the programme is available

DrillOrDrop has a daily digest of news, updated as it happens. Link here


6 replies »

  1. Well let’s see how controversial this is except to Friends of the Earth. By the way will they dare answer the question they consistently refuse to answer: How many members do they have? Are they embarrassed by how few of them there actually are?

    • Most likely they are delighted by the progress of the campaign against shale. It is a great driver of awareness of environmental issues and membership. In the past Friends of the Earth has struggled with the cultured apathy of the English.Thanks to fracking and its clumsy proponents, that condition is alleviated somewhat.

    • This isn’t about Friends Of The Earth’s membership it’s about our Democratic Right to protect our way of life, our children, our wellbeing and our environment. When the water is poisoned and the fish are dead you can’t eat money.

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