Within the past few minutes the Planning Inspectorate has confirmed the date when the Inspector’s report on the Cuadrilla fracking inquiry will be submitted to the government.
In an email, Leanne Palmer, of PINS, wrote:
“The Inspector’s report is due to be submitted to the Secretary of State on or before 4 July 2016”.
“Following submission of the Inspector’s report, the timetable for the Secretary of State’s decision will be set and I will advise accordingly once this is known.”
The report, by the inspector Wendy McKay, will include a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark. But the recommendation won’t be publicly available until Mr Clark announces his decision.
This afternoon Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said:
“We welcome the statement from the Planning Inspectorate that Wendy McKay, who oversaw the recent public inquiry covering our shale gas exploration planning appeals in Lancashire, will be submitting her report and recommendation to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government by 4 July.
“In our opinion the five week public inquiry has allowed a very full examination of our appeals and we remain optimistic regarding the outcome. Clearly the subsequent report requires due consideration and we look forward to a final decision from the Secretary of State as soon as feasibly possible.”
Dianne Westgarth, of Preston New Road Action Group, which opposed Cuadrilla’s appeal said:
“We are pleased to see the Planning Inspector will have assessed all of the evidence put forward to her during the six-week appeal hearing in Lancashire by the time she submits her report in July.”
“However, we remain concerned that we will not see Mrs McKay’s report until the Secretary of State, Greg Clark, gives his final decision. This is yet another example of democracy being dismantled and more uncertainty for our communities who have already suffered a great deal.”
“The UK government and David Cameron are completely out of touch with local governance. They have shown this by removing the decision for democratically elected officials to decide Lancashire’s own fate with regards to fracking.”
“But, we have strength in unity with so many other groups across the county and country. Our support network is extensive. If this appeal is overturned by the Secretary of State, we will proceed further to ensure that no drilling takes place in Lancashire. It’s been said before on many occasions that this is a David and Goliath fight, but now, we’re finding there are many Davids and our numbers keep on growing.”
“Cuadrilla will never gain social license on the Fylde or in Lancashire. We should use their previous operational records, which amount to a spectacular 100% failure rate and judge from thereon in. We fully believe in a Frack Free Lancashire and won’t stop until we achieve this.”
The inspector’s report will cover three appeals by Cuadrilla against the refusal of planning permission by Lancashire County Council for:
- Drilling, fracking and flow testing at Roseacre Wood
- Drilling, fracking and flow testing at Preston New Road
- Monitoring scheme at Preston New Road
The report will also recommend whether Cuadrilla’s appeal should be allowed against conditions on a monitoring scheme at Roseacre Wood.
The public inquiry, which lasted 19 days over five and a half weeks, ended on 16th March 2016. Link to our Inquiry page for posts on the hearings.
Updated to include quotes from Cuadrilla and Preston New Road Action Group, as well as clarification that the recommendation won’t be available until the final decision is announced.