The two sides in the fight over plans to frack at a second site in Lancashire meet tomorrow morning (31 October 2017).
Cuadrilla and villagers opposed to plans at Roseacre Wood near Blackpool will attend a hearing in preparation of a new round of arguments.
The proposal to drill, frack and test up to four wells at the site was turned down by Lancashire County Council in June 2015. It was also recommended for a refusal by a planning inspector, Wendy McKay, after a six-week public inquiry in 2016.
Mrs McKay said the proposal would have “a serious and very significant adverse impact on the safety of people using the public highway.”
But the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, said he was “minded” to grant planning permission to Cuadrilla, if it could present new evidence on traffic and highway safety at a reopened inquiry.
A pre-inquiry meeting will be held tomorrow for the participants: Cuadrilla and North West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce in favour of the proposal; and Lancashire County Council, Roseacre Awareness Group, Treales, Roseacre and Wharles Parish Council against.
Cuadrilla said today:
“Regarding our planning appeal for a proposed site at Roseacre Wood, the Secretary of State said he was minded to grant this following further consultation on highways conditions. We look forward to demonstrating that it will meet these requirements at the inquiry next April.”
Jim Nisbet, chairman of Roseacre Awareness Group, said:
“The people of this rural parish are, once again, seeking to defend themselves from having this insidious industry foisted upon them. Wendy McKay recommended to Sajid Javid that Cuadrilla’s application for exploratory wells at Roseacre Wood should be refused but he is “minded” to approve if they can come up with new mitigation.
“This pre-inquiry meeting will merely set the parameters for the re-opened inquiry next April, allowing Cuadrilla a fourth bite of a diminishing cherry to get it right. How many chances would an ordinary person in the street get with a planning application? Not as many as the fracking industry, it appears.
“We are still awaiting the new proposals from Cuadrilla so as yet, we have no idea what we need to do to prepare our case. The odds it seems, always stack up in their favour.
“It is interesting to note that a report issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy only this month stated unequivocally, that there is no risk to energy security in the UK for the next two decades at least, and that is without any reliance on shale gas or bio methane. Even in the worst-case scenarios tested by experts, the UK’s supply of gas would not be compromised. It is therefore about time that this government, Francis Egan and the rest of the shale gas industry stopped scaremongering by insisting this continued dash for shale gas is all about energy security: it is not.”
- The pre-inquiry meeting is on 31 October 2017 at 11am at Blackpool Football Club Hotel and Conference Centre, Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool FY1 6JJ
- The inquiry reopens with a new planning inspector on 10 April 2018 at the same venue