Community group wins right to continue legal fight against fracking in Lancashire

pnr 170601 Frank Hill 1

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 1 June 2017. Photo: Frank Hill

A Lancashire residents’ group is to fight on in with its legal challenge to permission for fracking at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool.

Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) announced this afternoon it had won the right to put its arguments before a judge at the court of appeal.

Just before Easter, a High Court judge dismissed the group’s statutory challenge to the decision by the Secretary of State to approve Cuadrilla’s plans. Details

But the group appealed against this decision. Today PNRAG said the court of appeal had agreed there was validity to the arguments and the case should go ahead.

The decision is the latest in a now long-running planning dispute, which began nearly two years ago in June 2015, when Lancashire County Council refused permission for the Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton.

Cuadrilla appealed against that decision and after a planning inquiry, the Communities’ Secretary, Sajid Javid, overturned the county council’s refusal.

A spokesperson for Preston New Road Action group said:

“We have put forward credible evidence through our legal team indicating why we believe that decision is unlawful and should be overturned.

“It is important to remember that local democracy has been dismantled and denied in Lancashire to allow Cuadrilla and this fossil fuel industry to press ahead.

“Lancashire said no loudly and clearly yet locals are being forced to accept the unacceptable from this external corporate industry.

“It is for that reason, we will continue through this appeal and due process to resist, and seek true justice in line with the planning decisions made through Lancashire County Council to reject Cuadrilla’s planning application to frack at Preston New Road.

“Preston New Road Action Group hopes that this appeal will finally recognise the will and voice of local democracy, and ensure that this application is revoked and the work at Preston New Road terminated.”

There are no details yet about the date and location of the hearing.

DrillOrDrop invited the Department of Communities and Local Government to comment on the latest development but it declined.

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said:

“Cuadrilla will actively defend the appeals and is confident that the planning consents will not be overturned.”

Cuadrilla began work at the Preston New Road site in January 2017. Last week, it installed a conductor rig which is used to install the first casing of the well. A drilling rig is expected to be delivered and begin work this month. Details

Opponents of activities at the site have demonstrated at the entrance and the headquarters of Cuadrilla’s suppliers.

  • This afternoon, Crown Oil, an oil company based in Bury, said it would no longer supply fuel to a contractor working at the Preston New Road site. More details.

30 replies »

  1. So Lancashire said no? When? I dont remember the vote or referendum was taken. Repeating a mantra does not make it true.

    The Lancs Planning Dept said ‘yes’ and the county solicitor said the planning committee had to pass the approval.

    They received dodgy advice pushed upon the councillors, and they refused to pass the decision. They laid themselves open to legal action by Cuadrilla, and that came to pass.

    An appeal against an illogical decision (as in this case) lead to a planning expert to agree with the Planning Dept.

    An appeal to the Sec of State is part of the planning system, and that was upheld.

    There is a consistent lack of interest in the bulk of the public in the whingeing of a small group of poorly behaved protesters. Their antics and threatening behaviour at PNR have turned off many. The main positive in this report is that this will cost PNRAG loads of money on a pointless appeal.

  2. And they wonder why the government are going to fast track applications in future!
    It doesn’t surprise me that the CoA allowed this as they have to get their coffers in somehow.
    Being as unbiased as I can be the antis will lose this case. A lot is stacked against them already and their argument is of very poor substance. The governments lawyers will also have learnt from the HC Judges statements what to address next time.
    Once Ineos start moving it’s game over for the Corbynites.

  3. I see the usual anonymous suspects are enjoying a little rant. Let’s wait and see how the argument (which it appears has legal merit) will pan out.

    Who knows – in a couple of days time it may all be moot when we find out just how badly Mrs May has miscalculated 😉

    • Sorry John boy it’s game over for you. Corbyn is about to be booted back to the bygone era he is stuck in.
      Fracking is on the cusp of restarting in the UK with a stronger political will.
      Events in Qatar have put the jitters right up our governments spine in terms of LNG.

      • The Qatar spat is only a ruse to drive-up world fossil fuel prices and make US shale the preferred supplier of the EU.

      • What was that Peeny? Excatly where has Corbyn been booted back to? You got that one more wrong that most of your “analysis” old thing!

  4. Interesting that fracking must be viewed by some as a right wing cause. Is only the right wing that supports this dying, dirty and risky industry? Yes, it appears so.

      • Right GottaBKidding, so all those interviewees are stage actors? Watch and learn. Must say this knee jerk-habit of attempting to abolish credibility in the first instance is such a transparent trick it has become trade mark of yours (and of a few others on these threads) – an obvious attempt at closing any form of debate. It will just make the genuinely curious want to know more. However you will get a few bitter souls (who just love to have something) your side. They love that divisive language.

        • – typo- ‘…. will get a few bitter souls (who just love to hate something) on your side’

            • That wasn’t my point. You obviously enjoy those divisive tactics – gives you some kind of thrill perhaps. Actually debating something real is too much I guess.

      • Will hardly even bother responding to this. People can find hundreds of dreadful accounts of peoples experiences for themselves online. The two original farmers where the whole frack licensing deals kicked off in PA articulate their shame (besides talking about the horrible impacts on their livelihoods) and say that had they known where all this was headed they would never have done it. PA gets over 200 fracking related complaints a week. Horses and other livestock, not to mention people, start getting ill here … this has happened everywhere shale gas fracking has gone and it’s sad to think that you guys with your over-driven hype and overwrought denials (and your kind) are to blame.

  5. [Edited by moderator]
    The legal profession is great isn’t it? Keep getting paid for failing to win. Not very sporting, and not even as honest as the “oldest profession”, where performance is rewarded and failure is not. Funny old world.

  6. [Edited by moderator]

    I don’t need patronising about identifying fakes and fake news. I did it as a living, and I was very good at it, and tutored others on it. I have repeatedly made comments on this site as a means to illicit reaction, to provide me with information. Sorry to burst your bubble refracktion, but you are the worst offender who dashes our and drags away such “Trojan Horses” to impress your audience, totally unaware what you have given away. Either your targeted audience is not very bright, or just young and innocent, and not very bright. (Bit like the students who think they will get “free” university if they vote for JC, but have failed to realise that when they exit into the wide world companies who have had to pay large increases in corporation tax have stopped recruiting university graduates. Then Mummy and Daddy tell them their inheritance has also disappeared because JC has grabbed it! But then, they will have a State run “Care Home” waiting for them, managed by Andy Burnham.) Funny old world.

    • [Edited by moderator] goodness! I had no idea that your apparent foolishness was just a clever front to draw stupid people like me out. Whatever will the frackers PR machine think of next – That does explain a lot of what Peeny and the others post though – you must all be in it together 😂

  7. Back to the conspiracy theory now. The reaction is so predictable, but interesting for that. Useful to further establish the limitation to your arguments, after the “economics” case has fallen apart. Suspect we may move back to the anti capitalist agenda after this week to try and excite more extreme elements to join the cause as more moderate souls abandon the cause. Always going to be part of the process, as few other options, and sacrificing any residual public opinion will be a price worth paying.

    Whilst this is all the process, the real game changer will be whether gas is found in commercial quantities so that a value to the community can be established. We all know that within our foolishness, and recognise your desperate attempts to stop that happening. But it will, so time to dust off the “economics” in readiness!

    • Martin – it’s not a conspiracy theory sweetie – I was just laughing at the idea that you and your pals see yourselves as some sort of master manipulators of the dark arts of fake news. Keep it up – you are very funny sometimes.

      It may have escaped your notice by the way, but it’s not just volume which dictates the economic viability of this project, but the price at which its output can be sold.

      Without a high enough gas price there will only be costs to the community. No benefits. With a high enough gas price any “value” created would have to be offset against the high cost of fuel used in daily life that allows the frackers to make a profit to provide any financial contribution at all (I’m not talking about the silly little bribes to football clubs here of course – they are just a marketing cost).

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