In the past few minutes, a group fighting Cuadrilla’s scheme to frack at a site in Lancashire has vowed to fight on, despite a go-ahead from the government this morning. (See DrillOrDrop report)
In a statement, the Preston New Road Action Group said
“This is not the end. We will challenge this.”
This morning, the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, approved an appeal by Cuadrilla to drill, frack and test up to four wells at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, near Blackpool.
He said he was minded to allow the appeal at another site, Roseacre Wood. But he said he would reopen a public inquiry to hear more evidence on traffic issues.
Both applications had been refused planning permission by Lancashire County Council in June last year.
Pat Davies, chair of Preston New Road Action Group described today’s decision as wholly undemocratic. She said in a statement:
“There is no social license to proceed with fracking in Lancashire.
“It is deplorable that an industry which has been rejected on every level seems to believe it is acceptable to inflict itself on an unwilling county.
“That is neither right, nor fair and not least, it is wholly undemocratic.
“The ramifications of overturning local planning decisions are huge and stretch way beyond the fracking argument. Ordinary people are appalled that we are governed by people who say one thing and do another. The callous disregard for local planning raises questions about whether local planning has any real purpose now. This government has changed and introduced laws to facilitate the shale gas industry at every opportunity and yet it still hasn’t gained acceptance from communities.
“Dismantling the democratic process to facilitate a dirty fossil fuel industry when only months ago the UK committed to climate change targets in Paris is another example of saying governmental hypocrisy.
“We repose trust in our government to do the right thing and listen to the people it governs: that is democracy in action. This is a sad day as it is clear to all that this government neither listens nor can it be trusted to do the right thing for local communities.
“Profit clearly comes before people. The precautionary principle enshrined in planning has not been applied here.
“This decision will be scrutinised by many, not just the people of Lancashire and this travesty of justice will not be accepted.
“This is not the end. We will challenge this.”
DrillOrDrop is collating other reaction to the announcements and will update as new comments come in.
Barbara Richardson, Roseacre Awareness Group
“If fracking goes ahead in Roseacre, it would devastate our community. We are allowed to make deci
“We are not scaremongers, just concerned residents. These are totally inappropriate greenfield sites, situated in the very heart of rural Fylde, for an industry of this nature.
“So much for our government saying they want local people to have control over their own destiny. Even our own MP urged his own ministers to respect local decision makers.
“We will continue to work with our friends at Preston New Road, and other threatened communities, to stop fracking from happening. It has been a David and Goliath battle. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources of Cuadrilla and the oil and gas industry.
“Fracking is not the solution. It is a backward step in energy policy. Ours is a small and densely populated country, unlike the wide open spaces of the US, which cannot support such an industry without devastating results. Be assured this is about money not people.”
Bob Dennett, Frack Free Lancashire
[The next step] is probably going to be direct action. That’s the only option we are left with because we have exhausted everything else.
[What will you do?] I will quote David Cameron, I will do whatever it takes to stop this industry. I will personally do my best to ensure that is peaceful and legal. (Source: BBC Breakfast News, pre announcement)
Pam Foster, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking:
“Today’s decision doesn’t surprise us. We are dealing with a Luddite Government that is fixed on drilling for fossil fuels when it should be creating thousands of new jobs by investing in clean green energy. By riding roughshod over Lancashire County Council’s decision, Sajid Javid has shown that he cares little for democracy or for the health and welfare of Lancashire’s residents, not to mention climate change. The strength of opposition to fracking is immense and is growing daily. We will carry on fighting and we won’t stop until we have stopped this dirty, polluting industry.
“It’s obvious that Sajid Javid has little regard for democracy, climate change and the mounting evidence that proves fracking is detrimental to public health as well as the environment. The anti-fracking movement will come together to ensure that fracking never happens anywhere.”
John Hobson, Defend Lytham
“We are extremely disappointed by the government’s pick and mix approach to democracy which seems to involve moving the decision further and further away from local decision makers until the desired outcome is achieved.
“For the local residents at Roseacre and Preston New Road this must come as a bitter blow. For other residents in the Fylde, the knowledge that the fracking industry is poised to start its invasion of our area will be a wake up call to those who have so far allowed the potential impacts of this invasive industry to pass them by.
“However, getting planning permission is only the first step on a long journey for Cuadrilla. Attempting to frack in an area where they have demonstrated that they have no social licence to operate is likely to prove extremely problematic for them, especially now that locally made decisions have been overturned.”
Lancashire Nanas group
“This ruling is called ‘landmark’ and for us it certainly is: it is a landmark moment that reveals the willingness of our government to gamble with our childrens’ futures – it marks the point where our local Councillors have been rendered impotent – it marks the point where ‘local democracy’ was shown to be a myth and it marks the day when our hopes that we had of a voice and choices in our own lives, were extinguished. The Prime Minister said she wanted a society fairer for all …where’s the fairness for Lancashire Theresa? You’ve made clear we truly aren’t ‘all in this together’.
“The Nanas will not be standing aside and letting Cuadrilla pass into the paths of our families. We have exhausted every option available to us in this democracy …our obligation remains to ensure the health and wellbeing of our children. How this plays out? We are still working out but we do know, it no longer involves bright yellow tabards, tea, cake and smiles… as Nanas put it as we dressed in black “The oven gloves are off”.
“On Saturday at 10am we will gather with other groups at Maple Farm (on Preston New Road next door to World of Water) – just a field away from the site earmarked for fracking.”
Ian Conlan, Frack Free Ryedale
“Why is it that local communities are allowed a veto over wind farms in their area, but when they reject fracking the Government can call in and reverse their decision? The hypocrisy and contempt shown by this decision is simply breathtaking.”
Steve Mason, from Great Habton
“This decision shows that there is a crisis within local democracy when it comes to planning. In Ryedale, for example, fracking at Kirby Misperton was strongly opposed by the local District Council, all five Town Councils and all the Parish Councils near the well-site. However, the North Yorkshire County Council planning committee summarily approved the application without even bothering to discuss the local councils’ objections – and not one person on this committee lived in or near Ryedale. How can local people have any faith in a planning system that rides roughshod over local opinion in this way?”
Frack Free East Yorkshire
“The people of East Yorkshire stand in solidarity with Lancashire today, following the central government decision to overrule their wishes, and force fracking on the residents and businesses of Preston New Road in the face of massive opposition.
“Most of the East Yorkshire Wolds has recently been licensed for gas field development, and threatened communities both here and in Lancashire have been researching the wide range of impacts – including climate change, serious human and animal health impacts, earthquakes, traffic, and noise, water and air pollution – and overwhelmingly rejected fracking.
“There were an incredible 31,000 objections to these applications (only 422 in support) so for a government, that claims to support local decision making, to trample the community’s wishes in this way, is a travesty of democracy.
“But the people there are not about to allow such a dangerous and unpopular industry to go ahead. The fight goes on, and they have our full support. We say no fracking in Lancashire, no fracking in East Yorkshire – no fracking anywhere.”
Helen Rimmer, north-west campaigner, Friends of the Earth
“This is bad news for Lancashire – the community have been fighting fracking for more than five years. This fight continues until this unproven and unpopular industry disappear for good.
“Instead of shoving us down a dangerous path that inevitably leads to climate change, the government should invest in renewables and energy efficiency, an emerging industry that could create 24,000 jobs in the north west alone.”
Hannah Martin, energy campaigner, Greenpeace UK
“This fudged decision shows the government is struggling to force fracking on a reluctant nation. Fracking will put our countryside and air quality at risk. Digging up more fossil fuels that we can’t burn if we are to honour the international agreement we signed in Paris and is coming into force next month makes little economic or environmental sense.”
Barry Gardiner, shadow Energy Secretary
“I think it is a very sad for British democracy.
“It has gone against the elected members of Lancashire County Council who were very clear in saying this was not something that local people wanted.
It is also locking us into a dirty fossil fuel technology which really is the energy source of the past when instead we should be developing low carbon technology like wind and solar that really have a future”. (Source: BBC News)
Lancashire County Council
Cllr Marcus Johnson, executive member for environment
“We have made it absolutely clear that there must be one regulator to regulate the shale gs industry. The government really does need to step up to the plate and make an effort to reassure people that this industry is safe because at the moment I don’t believe that anyone thinks that it is.
[Are you making any progress on a single regulator?] “No unfortunately no. The government has not responded at all. It seems hell bent on going down the shale rute.
“My message to the government is must regulate this industry properly. You must make sure this industry, if you are determined to go down this route, is one that people can trust. At the moment we just don’t feel that is the case.” (Source: BBC News)
Official council statement from Cllr Johnson
“This was one of the biggest planning applications ever put before any council – literally tens of thousands of people responded to the consultation processes, and the applications involved substantial levels of technical detail.
“Our development control committee carefully considered many hours of evidence both for and against the proposal, and the committee members ultimately cast their vote based on the evidence they heard and whether they thought the proposal was acceptable in planning terms.
“A local council, made up of councillors democratically elected by local people, and charged with serving their interests, is exactly the right body to make decisions on local matters. It is clear that the government supports the development of a shale gas industry, but I would ask them to do more to address the concerns of local communities and the councillors who represent them by supporting the best environmental controls.
“The Secretary of State’s decision to allow more time to consider issues related to highway safety around the Roseacre site reflects the committee’s concerns on this issue. We will now await information from the applicant on the details required to fulfil the planning conditions set out for the Preston New Road site.”