Regulation

Cuadrilla fracking appeal recommendation sent to government

Inquiry docsThe recommendation of the inspector at Cuadrilla’s public inquiry into fracking plans in Lancashire has been sent to government.

Greg ClarkThe Planning Inspectorate confirmed that the report went to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, by yesterday’s deadline.

Mr Clark recovered the appeal, which means he will make the final decision on the recommendation by Wendy McKay, the inquiry inspector.

According to the Planning Inspectorate’s bespoke programme that decision will be issued on or before 6 October 2016. Bespoke Programme Only then will Mrs McKay’s recommendation be published.

The inquiry sat for 19 days in February and March this year to consider whether Cuadrilla should be allowed to frack up to four wells each at sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. The company also appealed against the refusal of seismic monitoring plans at Preston New Road and conditions imposed on a similar scheme at Roseacre Wood.

New terms

The appeal sites are in Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence area 165. Its terms were formally updated last week, creating three retention areas (DrillOrDrop post).

Under the new licence terms, the central area, where the appeal sites are probably located, Cuadrilla is required to drill and hydraulically fracture a horizontal well by June 2019.

Recovered appeals

Recovered appeals are unusual. Of the 10,201 appeals from April 2015-March 2016, just 67 were recovered.

In the Cuadrilla case, Mr Clark justified his decision to recover the appeal by describing it as a “development of major importance” and “more than local significance”. More details

The Secretary of State can, and does, take a different decision to planning inspectors.

In an announcement last week, Mr Clark dismissed an appeal for four wind turbines near Newark in Nottinghamshire, against the recommendation of the inspector. He accepted the impacts were limited and would not result in unacceptable harm to people living nearby.

But he attached “substantial weight” to a written ministerial statement on planning for wind turbines made in June last year. This requires planning authorities to be satisfied that they have addressed planning impacts identified by affected local communities and that a scheme has their backing.

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Clark said some of the planning impacts identified by affected local communities had not been addressed in the wind turbines case.

The written ministerial statement on wind turbines does not apply to local communities affected by fracking.

Challenge

The Secretary of State’s decision can be challenged in the High Court by the company or an interested person who has played a part in the planning application and the appeal.


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

6 replies »

  1. So what does the panel think the chances are that Mr Clark will still be the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government after the Tory leadership election is decided in early September ? And don’t forget he has a long holiday (sorry Summer Recess) to fit in between 21st July and 5th September 🙂

  2. My worry is May is already talking about nuke dev to ward off the same old diatribe about Russia being the enemy, and of course this feeds into a support for fracking given ”we can’t keep importing Russian oil and gas, ” which of course isn’t happening but if the gov can worry the masses that it might be etc, then fracking is going to be happily delivered on the back of the spin doctoring.

    Meanwhile however, a little know initiative came my way recently which flies in the face of the fracking lack of democracy around northern parts. Try http://www.mycommunity.org.uk where you can have your say over what happens to local land and buildings and the development of your area…funded by the UK gov there is info, resources and learning opps…..amazing contrary stuff……………..telling the public ”you can change your community for the better”’

    Should this org be reported to the advertising standards dept?

  3. I think it is a fairly safe bet that Greg Clark (or whomever) will uphold the LCC decision on the Roseacre application and overturn the LLC decision on Preston New Road. Co-incidentally, if the decision is announced on Thursday 6th October, this will be just one day before the expiry of the ‘maximum’ two-year injunction awarded to Cuadrilla by Judge Hodge on 8th October 2014.

  4. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-centrica-gas-deals-idUKKBN0NY1FH20150513

    Russia supplied the EU with 34% of its imported oil, 39% of imported gas and nearly 30% of imported coal in 2013.

    But as we are about to leave the EU perhaps we don’t need Trident anymore.

    For once I agree with Mr Crane – logic says that one site will be approved so at least reserves and economics can be determined. If the costs of extracting shale gas in Bowland are anywhere near the costs forecast on this BB that will be the end of it, for now at least. It will be cheaper to continue with making up our North Sea shortfall with more gas from Norway and LNG from Qatar / US shale and Centrica’s Russian deal.

  5. Not sure why the minister can’t announce the decision quickly. We all know his position. This will just prolong the anxiety (but maybe excitement for some) for both the frackers and the anti fracking and locals who just want to get on with planning their lives.

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