August date for Court of Appeal hearing on Cuadrilla’s fracking site

PNR 170531 Frack Free Lancashire2

Photo: Frack Free Lancashire

The next stage in a legal battle over ministerial approval of fracking in Lancashire reaches the Court of Appeal in London in August.

The court has confirmed that separate challenges brought by campaigners, the Preston New Road Action Group and Gayzer Frackman, will be heard over two days at the Royal Courts of Justice, starting on 30 August.

Both cases argue that the decision to grant planning permission for the Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site was unlawful. The approval, by the Communities’ Secretary, Sajid Javid, in October 2016 overturned the refusal by Lancashire County Council but followed the recommendation of an inspector at a public inquiry.

In April this year, the High Court judge, Sir Ian Dove, dismissed both challenges after a two-day hearing in Manchester.

But both legal teams put their case to the Court of Appeal and we granted permission for a hearing.


Preston New Road Action Group has argued that Mr Javid incorrectly interpreted national and local planning policy. Mr Frackman argued that the approval was unlawful because Cuadrilla’s environmental statement was defective and that the regulatory regime could not control impacts. More details

Preston New Road Action Group said today:

“We hope and pray that justice will be delivered and that Sajid Javid’s decision will be found unlawful and quashed.

“Our community, Westby Parish Council, Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire County Council all refused this dangerous application, and for many good reasons.

“Local democracy was dismantled and overturned by central government, who seemingly wish to micro-manage decisions that are not theirs to make. We believe that this was unlawful and that Cuadrilla’s site development should be stopped.

“This case is no longer simply about fracking: it is about true justice and genuine democracy being delivered at local level.

“For this reason, we will continue with our strategy to challenge this decision on every level. We are hugely grateful to everyone who has supported us, in so many ways, to reach this point.”

Lawyers for the Department of Communities and Local Government and Cuadrilla will defend the challenge. A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said today:

“Cuadrilla will actively defend the appeals alongside the Government and remains confident that the planning consent will not be overturned.

“In the meantime Cuadrilla will be continuing with its operational work at the site as it has been granted all the necessary consents and permits to do so. This will include the drilling of two horizontal exploration wells although the hydraulic fracturing of those wells will not commence before the ruling of the Court of Appeal.”

13 replies »

  1. Both our Hungarian friend and PNRAG will unfortunately be left walking home with their tails between their legs. Their case is incredibly poor and have been given dreadful legal advice, are these lawyers charging them anything ? I assume not. The antis have just lost any support they may have had in the HC.


  3. GBK-I think Wolfey is trusting that the other side will eventually kick the ball in their own net and give him a win through their sympathy. If not, he still comes out of it financially covered.

    Farming is a lot more dangerous to water supplies Margaret. So, we stop farming and wait to see which we die of first? Or try to risk the Russian roulette of crossing the road for a quicker solution?

    Just enjoyed watching Ascot. Perhaps the blinkers should be left there?

    • ‘Farming is a lot more dangerous to water supplies’…. simply wrong Martin. Where do you get this nonsense from? Why do you think there are farmers groups organised against fracking? Any farmer knows the value of clean water as an essential part of their livelihood. Sure they have polluted sometimes with fertilizer run-offs and miscalculated spraying etc but they get nowhere near the damage being done to aquifers and drinking water sources from fracking .

  4. PhilipP-I am sorry you are unaware of the pollution, and accident data for agriculture. I worked in agriculture all my life and can assure you it is factual, and simply, correct. I have worked with the Environment Agency to re-open a large livestock unit that had been closed due to water contamination, putting five people out of work. Our record in the UK is quite good compared to other parts of the world but it is still a big issue, simply because there are millions of hectares, many covered in animals that produce a lot of dung and urine and subject to high rainfall, which are also used to collect water for human use. If you are not aware of particular issues, not too wise to comment that others who have considerable knowledge are talking nonsense. Suggest some research first, like USA rig numbers.

  5. I have little interest in Giggling American data. What relevance has that to such issues in another country with different regulations and controls, including such issues as protection of aquifers.?

    Just like saying that based on US data, cars in the UK will have the majority of accidents on the right hand side of the road. It is irrelevant, and whilst it creates a narrative for the antis it really undermines your position with the other 70%.

    • Nothing to learn from the most experienced country in the world re. fracking? That’s priceless Martin. Of course shale and natural gas operate by entirely different physical laws over here right? We’ll be reinventing the wheel from scratch and ignoring the only profitable ways to make it profitable. Nice one.

      If you look at the rationales behind the published regulations here they mostly quote U.S. sources, out of date ones at that.

  6. I can only speak from personal experience but, there doesn’t appear to be much evidence of pollution by farming in rural East Yorkshire where i live. The river Hull runs about 20 miles from its source north of Hull and is the cleanest it’s ever been. Water voles, otters and amphibians have returned in numbers in recent years. The river hull headwaters itself is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, of which there are about 70 in East Yorkshire. Not that that makes any difference, all these are covered by licenses. A large aquifer feeds the region and it doesn’t appear to have ever been contaminated. As well as water, farming itself will be under threat of course, as would tourism, should Cuadrilla get its way and litter the land with wells here.

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