Breaking: Judge dismisses bid to challenge government minister over reopening Lancashire fracking inquiry

lorry on roseacre road 2

A Lancashire resident failed today to bring a legal challenge to the decision by the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, over one of Cuadrilla’s proposed shale gas sites.

Mr Javid announced in October 2016 that he was reopening the public inquiry into plans to frack at Roseacre Wood, near Blackpool, despite the recommendation from an inspector that the scheme should be refused on highway safety grounds.

Roseacre resident, Jules Burton, who lives 500m from the proposed site, sought to bring a legal challenge in the High Court against reopening the inquiry.

He argued that the Secretary of State’s decision was unfair, irrational, tainted with bias and an abuse of power.

But in the past few minutes, Mr Justice Kerr, sitting at Manchester Civil Justice Centre, said the case was not arguable and he refused permission for a challenge. He confirmed a written ruling issued before Easter by Mr Justice Dove.

After today’s hearing, Mr Burton said:

“This has nothing whatever to do with justice and everything to do with the interpretation of the law. This is the interpretation the government chooses to put on the law because the government wants to promote fracking.

“Unfortunately this is not a triumph for democracy or a triumph for people. It is contrary to everything that should represent fairness in the British judicial system.”

Mr Javid said in October he was minded to approve Cuadrilla’s plans to drill, frack and test up to four wells at Roseacre Wood. But he said Cuadrilla had failed to provide adequate evidence that it had properly addressed highway safety issues.

Reopening the inquiry would, Mr Javid said, give the company an opportunity to “provide additional evidence”.

The reopened inquiry has been scheduled for six-to eight days and is expected to begin on 10 April 2018. Cuadrilla had said it would use the time before the new inquiry to undertake further traffic surveys and assessments that would inform updated transport plans.

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said this afternoon:


“We are pleased that the Secretary of State’s “minded to grant” decision, regarding our planning appeal for our proposed shale gas exploration at Roseacre Wood, has been upheld.  Cuadrilla looks forward to demonstrating that it will meet the necessary highway conditions which are to be considered at a public inquiry in April 2018.”

Mr Burton could now take his request for a challenge to the Court of Appeal. He said he was exploring his options.

More details on the case and the arguments coming soon on DrillOrDrop.

The costs of travelling to Manchester to report on this case were funded by individual donations to DrillOrDrop

31 replies »

  1. Are we all ready for it…………BOOM in ya face anti mob especially that terribly posh sounding Jules. That’s a lib dem supporter if there there was one!
    Has it finally sank in now that you’re a mere hindrance to our overstretched court system?
    The big investors are watching with interest.

  2. I am shocked and stunned at this decision….(not really), even though it was the decision we expected. Even the antis can’t have expected anything else.

    So now the British judicial system is deemed “unfair” etc. etc. because the most likely outcome is the outcome. More money down the drain.

    • Pathetic – rent a crowd serial protestors out in force. There are very few Countries in the world where Police Officers are this tolerant. Try it in France, Spain or Greece and see what you get – tear gas and batons.

      You should be ashamed to be associated with this mob. They don’t even appear to know what they are protesting about.

      • These mobsters are scoring an own goal. One day there is going to be an officer hurt and then we’ll see how tolerant they are afterwards.
        This ‘peaceful protest’ malarkey is a nonsense it’s simply grown men, women and gender neutrals acting in a disgusting manner.

    • So were you there Michael? Standing up for Lancastrians against the destructive corporate invasion promoted by the current Government?

      • Is that what Lancastrians look like? Crikey I’ll remember to keep my doors locked next time I’m in the vicinity.

        • Don’t worry we don’t all look like that. And most of them in the video are not from round here.

  3. I see the unemployment figures dropped even further, leaving the unemployable increasingly lonely. I’m sure there will be a benefit for them to cover this, somewhere within Jeremy’s sweetie bag, or FOE collection tins.

  4. Oh dear me, the State wins again and the pro-fracking job think this a good thing!
    This lot don’t think the frackers will come their way and destroy their community so that’s all right.
    So much for caring about your fellow man! You are so obviously Tory and Cuadrilla!
    However democracy will win in the end as more legal challenges and Police prosecutions are on the way!

  5. Peter, as you seem to enjoy losing legal challenges and winding up the police, I’m sure you are happy to continue along that route. The legal system and the police are quite capable of dealing with such situations. The financial costs will be a small part, the credibility of your cause will be quickly trashed-the media (who you have also attacked in the past) will make sure of that.

    I belong to no political party and have no connections to Cuadrilla (including financial). I simply disagree with your views and the way you have gone about attempting to impose them, in some cases outside of the law, in other cases through false information and scaremongering. If that is democracy, you are just finding your definition is not what a large number of people subscribe to.

  6. The protest on Pendle wasn’t violent but heartfelt and meaningful and certainly not rent a crowd

    • Various online videos that you lot post in your ‘safe area’ of FB always show an aggressive undertone. A lot of pent up tension going on there that has zilch to do with fracking.
      I get it, no one likes being told what to do but throwing your toys out the pram unfortunately for you won’t stop anything.
      There is nothing ‘peaceful’ about that protest. And I suggest you visit someone if you condone that level of verbal abuse in your daily life.

  7. PLEASE, everyone watch this short video from a Professor of Engineering with over 30 years experience researching and developing the technology involved in modern shale fracking, he explains, in simple language that THE UK AQUIFERS WILL BE FATALLY POLLUTED WITH OIL AND GAS FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE BECAUSE OF THE KNOWN AND UNAVOIDABLE RATE OF WELL SEAL FAILURE. The UK fracing industry INTENDS to drill 60% of the country, at 10 wells per square mile, = 500 000 wells, 5% of the well seals fail IMMEDIATELY, 10% fail after 1 year, 60% fail after 20 years, and THEY WILL ALL FAIL EVENTUALLY.

    also, see these notices on the subject:

    • So please advise where the “leaking” wells are located onshore UK? If you are correct Nicholas, between 200 (10%) and 1200 (60%) of the 2000 onshore wells must be leaking and contaminating our “AQUIFERS” resulting in lots of fatalities?

      Scaremongering rubbish.

      Perhaps you should take a long hard look at agriculture if you are concerned about aquifer contamination….

      • Please supply the surveys of leaking on-shore wells, going back to the start of drilling in the UK ? Orphaned and abandoned wells conveniently have not been surveyed in this country or in the USA, so unfortunately figures are not available.

        Regarding agriculture, this is one of the most alarming aspects of “multi well horizontal drilling”, because the leaks are not confined to the vertical part of the well, but are likely to occur anywhere along the mile or so of any of the proposed 500000 horizontal wells in the UK, this will poison the aquifers very effectively, and will make farmers irrigation for their crops practically impossible.

    • To be clear, Nicholas, Ingraffea is no expert on shale gas. He has been forced to admit in court that he had absolutely zero experience in shale development, he is an admitted activist, and his “scientific” work has been thoroughly discredited by peers. And just a hint for you, posting in all caps doesn’t exactly make you more credible!

  8. Oooo here we have a full blown wheeler dealer! Fracking is clearly going to be the death of mankind as we know it.
    I’m so glad every current form of energy has zero risks attached.
    Oh actually there have been a few deaths in the UK by wind turbines. Compare that against how many deaths caused by fracking worldwide hmmmm. Don’t give up the day job!

    • Indeed. All those failed wells (60% as I read above) in the eakring oilfield drilled in the 1940s and on, must be polluting the Sherwood ( Bunter ) Sandstone. That is where my water supply comes from! But seems ok so far.

    • America, what about the UK – you are claiming “5% of the well seals fail IMMEDIATELY, 10% fail after 1 year, 60% fail after 20 years, and THEY WILL ALL FAIL EVENTUALLY.”

      Please advise which of the 2000 wells drilled onshore UK have failed, there is one that I know about, it has been fixed, and not polluted any aquifer.

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