Residents’ surprise at blocked legal challenge over Roseacre Wood fracking site

lorry on roseacre road 2

Lorry toute to Cuadrilla’s proposed Roseacre Wood fracking site

A community group said this afternoon it was “very surprised” that a high court judge had blocked the legal challenge over Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking site at Roseacre Wood.

Roseacre resident, Jules Burton, heard earlier today that he would not be allowed to oppose in court the decision by Communities’ Secretary, Sajid Javid, to reopen the public inquiry on the site. (Breaking news)

Lancashire County Council had refused planning permission for Roseacre Wood on highway safety grounds and a planning inspector recommended dismissing Cuadrilla’s appeal for the same reason. But Mr Javid said in October last year he was minded to approve planning permission. He said the reopened inquiry would give the company an opportunity to put new evidence on how it would address road safety issues.

“Strong grounds”

Roseacre Awareness Group, which opposed Cuadrilla’s plans to drill, frack and test up to four wells at Roseacre Wood, said:

“We believed Mr Burton had sufficient and strong grounds for a legal challenge. After all, Lancashire County Council’s Highway’s Officer, LCC Planning Officer, LCC Development Control Committee and an independent Planning Inspector all determined the Roseacre application should be rejected on traffic and road safety grounds.

“This is a very rural location whose country lanes are used by many vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, equestrians and pedestrians, and a significant increase in large industrial traffic will pose a significant risk of serious harm to those road users. We totally agree with LCC that the application should be rejected.

“How Sajid Javid can be ‘minded’ to approve the application if Cuadrilla can mitigate traffic issues beggars belief. Cuadrilla have had over three years to overcome any traffic problems and have consistently failed to do so.”


Proposed lorry route to Roseacre Wood. Photo: Roseacre Awareness Group

“Unnecessary burden”

A statement by the group continued:

“To re-open the Public Inquiry poses an unnecessary burden (both in time and expense) on not only LCC and the tax payer but ourselves and other parties such as our parish council, as we will now have to represent all our evidence,  and prepare new evidence,  to prove once again that Roseacre Wood is not a suitable site for an industrial development of this nature.

“I am sure Mr Burton will be very disappointed with this news as are we. I am sure he will be seeking further legal advice.

“You can be reassured that Roseacre Awareness Group will expend every effort to fight this application in whatever way we can in order to protect our community from harm”.

“Deep concern”

Claire Stephenson from Preston New Road Action Group said:

“We are deeply concerned at Mr Justice Dove’s decision announced today, regarding the refusal of Jules Burton’s challenge against the Secretary of State’s decision to allow a second enquiry over fracking at Roseacre.

“Once again, this appears to be a top-down show of authoritarianism, pitting the powerful against the powerless: communities are unable to have a say in their own future regarding fracking if they go against the vested interests of a pro-shale government and fracking industry’s plans.

“More so today, it indicates that the planning inquiry held in Blackpool was nothing more than an orchestrated performance, set out to tick some government box on the allowing the pretence of democracy.

“Our communities will continue to stand side-by-side in the wake of this unexpected news.”

11 replies »

  1. Just one judge, the same judge…there are others. This is about money. It’s about pricing you out of the game. Keep going. Never give in.

  2. this government says it wants local government to have more of a say in the way the councils are run,but only if its what central government wants, democracy is well and truly dead in Lancashire the people said no local council said no the man from del-government say yes, lots of palms greased i bet, money before people, it sickens me and should go the the court of human rights

  3. Disgusting corrupt legal system overpowering local democracy yet again!
    We’ve had it in Warton regarding doubling the size of our village despite a Parish poll resulting in over 95% saying NO!
    We should have gone the direct action route but instead crumbled!
    Fracking is much more dangerous! No crumbling this time!
    Lancashire said NO!

  4. They can build a new lane specifically for bicycle and walk. But it will cost them extra £millions if the road is more than 5 miles.

  5. Aww boohoo. Did anyone seriously think this was going to get any merit in court?
    I live in a rural area but there are several growing businesses resulting in an increase in HGV traffic. I’m all for growth so this is another good victory in my books.
    You have to admire the resolve of the anti mobsters after losing every battle. Won’t be long now till exploration starts and it’s game over.

    • Oh dear, someone left the gate open again, honestly, if ! the symbol previously known as Cuadrilla cant look after its people, they shouldn’t be allowed to own one……

  6. The decision will have been made on a point of law. We may not like the decision but thankfully the judiciary is independent of politics. I completely understand the unfairness of the situation and the frustration but the challenge will have been dismissed because the SoS is reopening an inquiry and the inquiry must follow due legal process. The planning inspector is independent to government and must take account of planning policy, guidance and statute. Cuadrilla has failed to satisfy highway/access requirements, despite umpteen attempts and in my opinion development should never be permitted on the proposed site because of the highway issues. Unless Cuadrilla can pull something amazing out of the bag (very unlikely given the location of the site) then, in my opinion, I cannot see how any planning inspector could grant consent. Otherwise we may as well throw out the whole planning system. I hope Cuadrilla fail and the locals get the justice they rightly deserve and the SoS is left with the egg on his face that he deserves.

  7. Everyone will get their opportunity on 8th June to change the Government. And get rid of their local pro fracking MPs. It will be interesting to see this and how it pans out. Perhaps some anti fracking candidates will stand again in the Fylde etc.?

  8. “England Prevails”…….Interesting strategy isn’t it? Curtail any publicly funded dissent whilst simultaneously encouraging major corporations to successfully lobby behind closed doors? No laws to curtail that then?

    Also interesting the tories couldn’t win certain seats on local election matters because everyone sees how their services, their NHS and freedom of democratic representation are dwindling to nothing, so they make it into a national contest within a month to divert attention away from local issues? Very shrewd. But totally backhanded.

    Politicians are nothing more than elected representatives working for you and paid by you, remember that, you pay them to do your democratic bidding, they have no right whatsoever to impose a ruling upon you that you did not have a personal say so for, that is direct democracy, representative democracy is why we elect mp’s to represent our needs in parliament (talking shop). Representative democracy is notoriously prone to corruption, look it up. So which should be better for our personal democracy, direct or representative?

    Ask yourselves, why have we allowed government to become our rulers, not our employees? Smoke and mirrors?

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