20 questions: conditions for Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking sites


Today the Cuadrilla fracking inquiry turned to planning conditions that could be imposed if the proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood were approved.

The inspector, Wendy McKay, said the discussions did not mean she would be recommending Cuadrilla’s plans.

Here are the main conditions proposed and what the different sides said about them.

  1. How long should the sites last?
    All sides accepted the condition that requires work to be completed and the sites restored within 75 months. The condition also requires drilling and hydraulic fracturing to be completed within 30 months.
  2. How long should drilling last?
    Cuadrilla accepted a condition limiting drilling to  24-months.
  3. What should be the maximum noise at night?
    Cuadrilla said this should be 42 decibels; Lancashire County Council said 37; Roseacre Awareness Group* and Preston New Road Action Group said 35.
  4. At what noise level should monitoring begin?
    Noise monitoring would not be continuous but begin when noise reaches a certain level. Roseacre Awareness Group said this should be 30 decibels. Cuadrilla said this was too low and not practicable.
  5. What should be the working hours?
    On Saturdays, Lancashire County Council said there should be no fracking and Roseacre Awareness Group proposed no work at all. Cuadrilla said Saturday working was important but offered a start time of 8am, rather than 7.30am. On weekdays, Cuadrilla proposed a set-up hour starting at 7am, with noisy work starting at 8am, or a start time for all work of 7.30am.
  6. How high should the rig be?
    Lancashire County Council said the rig should be no more than 36m. Cuadrilla asked for this condition to be removed.
  7. How many tall structures should be on the sites at one time?
    Roseacre Awareness Group wanted a limit to the number of rigs and other structures on the site at the same time. Cuadrilla said this was unnecessary and unreasonable.
  8. How many lorries should be allowed through Wharles?
    Cuadrilla proposed a maximum of six HGVs a week should be allowed to drive to and from the site through Wharles. This would be during the extended well test when lorries would not use the route through the Inskip defence site. Lancashire County Council said six a week was too generous. Roseacre Awareness Group said there should be a maximum of 1-2 a week.
  9. Should there be a baseline health survey and ongoing monitoring?
    Friends of the Earth proposed a condition of a baseline survey of health and then ongoing monitoring of residents living within 2km of the sites. Preston New Road Action Group and Lancashire County Council supported the condition. Roseacre Awareness Group wanted to include people on the Roseacre Wood lorry route. Cuadrilla said the survey and monitoring were not necessary, relevant or useful and were “wholly disproportionate”.
  10. Do chemical stores need a bund?
    Lancashire County Council said a standard condition on mineral sites required bunding around stores of chemicals, oil and fuels. Cuadrilla said storage was dealt with by the Environment Agency under the oil storage and waste management regulations. “We don’t want to be subject to two regulatory processes at the same time”, it said.
  11. Should Cuadrilla have to report on available waste treatment capacity?
    Friends of the Earth proposed a condition that would require Cuadrilla to provide information on available waste treatment capacity. Roseacre Awareness Group and Lancashire County Council said they were neutral on the idea. Preston New Road Action Group said it didn’t want to see the site becoming a repository for waste. Cuadrilla said the condition was unnecessary, would achieve nothing and suggested mischief-making by Friends of the Earth.
  12. Should equipment be painted to blend in?
    Cuadrilla agreed if it used its own rig it would repaint the upper section. Lancashire County Council agreed it was not necessary to remove company logos from fencing and temporary cranes.
  13. When should soil be stripped from the sites?
    Lancashire County Council said soil should not be stripped outside the period 1st May to 30th September without prior consent to avoid water logging. Cuadrilla said this restricted the set up time for the sites.
  14. What should be included in the survey of road conditions?
    Lancashire County Council and Roseacre Awareness Group said the survey of road condition along the Roseacre Wood lorry route should include footways because they could be damaged by site traffic. They also agreed the roads should be resurveyed after periods of intensive use by HGVs from the site. Cuadrilla said the survey should not include pavements and footways and a re-survey was disproportionate.
  15. What is an HGV?
    Roseacre Awareness Group said a condition should define an HGV as 3.5 tonnes. Cuadrilla said it had based its assessments on 7.5 tonnes.
  16. Should there be a time limit on extended flow test equipment?
    Lancashire County Council, Preston New Road Action Group and Roseacre Awareness Group agreed that equipment should be removed from the sites if the extended flow test had not been carried out within six months of the initial flow test. Cuadrilla said the condition was unnecessary.
  17. Should grid interconnectors be removed after the developments?
    Lancashire County Council, Roseacre Awareness Group and Preston New Road Action Group proposed that equipment to connect the sites to the gas and water grids should be removed. Cuadrilla said this condition was unnecessary.
  18. Should breaches of planning conditions be reported to Lancashire’s Director of Public health?
    Friends of the Earth proposed a condition which required breaches of planning permission to be reported to Lancashire’s Director of Public Health. Lancashire County Council, Roseacre Awareness Group and Preston New Road Action Group supported the condition. Cuadrilla said it was imprecise, did not serve any planning purpose and was probably not legal.
  19. Should work on the Roseacre monitoring sites be allowed in the winter bird season?
    Roseacre Awareness Group said a condition preventing work during the winter bird season should apply to all the monitoring sites around Roseacre Wood, not just eight agreed by Cuadrilla and Lancashire County Council.
  20. Should permitted development rights be removed?
    Roseacre Awareness Group wanted a condition that would remove permitted development rights for the exploration and monitoring sites. This would mean any other activities would need planning permission. Cuadrilla and Lancashire County Council disagreed.

*In this session of the inquiry, Roseacre Awareness Group was representing Treales, Roseacre & Wharles Parish Council

Live updates on the conditions session

This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s  Rig Watch project.  Rig Watch receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

1 reply »

  1. These conditions are made so impractical and irrelevant that they are unworkable.
    Very mischievous of LCC and very cunning way to disrupt the planning rules.

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