New round in battle over Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood fracking plans

lorry on roseacre road 2

The lorry route to Cuadrilla’s proposed Roseacre Wood site. Photo: DrillOrDrop

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

22 replies »

  1. Nice wide country roads, and little traffic and few pedestrians or cyclists. Its really difficult to see why this should be stopped. How would anything ever get built? How do motorways or other genuinely disruptive essentials ever get permission? With the clear evidence from PNR that all the concerns about noise have been shown to be exaggerated, that argument will fall flat on its face.
    Perhaps the residents of the tiny village of Roseacre will be a bit annoyed, but they all get the benefits of modern energy, but appear to be against the fairly minor issues that will arise. Thats what being a nimby is I suppose. Will they stop the oil trucks that deliver heating supplies? I would guess that would be a no.

    • Roads are built for all public uses and to be shares and not just for a particular group or for solely lifestyle and recreational uses. These are “road”. Not footpath or cycling pathway. They are built to be shared.

      • Historically, the roads around villages were derived from tracks created by the villagers to get from village to village and village to town.
        Most roads have been adopted by local councils in the past (still local people). They are public for sure but you try sharing these narrow B roads with a huge convoy of lorries!

        • Sherwufle. We are not living in the medieval age and do not wish to return to its living standards. I however do appreciate the concerns of the local cyclists and horse riders but the trucks are not on these roadz 24h/7d and neither the cyclists. The chances they come across each other on these roads ate small.

    • Have you driven or cycled down these roads – they are certainly not wide. They accommodate many walkers, hundreds of cyclists and horse riders. As there is no gas in Roseacre I would suggest that the residents would not benefit from this modern energy!

  2. Trying to develop a £333,000,000 industrial site dealing with highly explosive raw materials in a quite rural area is of course ridiculous.
    A well organised community is the best defence against this industry which is neither needed nor wanted.
    Whatever or wherever the battleground is we have the resolve and resources to fight head on.
    Support and investment for shale gas is dwindling whilst those who oppose it get ever stronger.
    It is now a futile battle for a desperate industry with an unsustainable future in the UK.

  3. Interesting that the antis seem to promote what the planner said for this site but not the ones where they give consent isn’t it? Crikey if you can’t get this site stopped in it’s tracks then seriously give up!

    • Interesting that Cuadrilla have failed at their Becconsall site.

      They got permission with no objections in 2010, spent millions of investors money then in 2014 withdrew their application to frack within 30 minutes of private presentations to LCC development control members by REAF. FOE, and others who proved functional links and risk to protected bird species found on the River Ribble RAMSAR site.

      You would have thought they would have worked out it wasn’t going to work before spending so much of other peoples cash.

      Now Enforcement by LCC is underway

      With proven technical failures and inability to navigate the Town and Country Planning Act no doubt investors will be asking serious questions.

      Enforcement by a Minerals Planning Authority highlights serious issues that the industry seems unable to address.

      • The industry has to operate in the Green Belt. As wells diminish so quickly they need room to expand , drill new wells, and link the sites.

        Our open countryside carries great protection for the benefit of all.We pay a premium to live in rural areas.

        The US model of peppering vast areas with wells will never work here.

        Minerals can only be extracted where they are found. UK planning policies highlight this point.

        Directional drilling is now a proven technology around the world.

        This means that the industry should try to develop on industrial sites. There are plenty of Brown field sites next to large supermarkets and retail parks. From there they could drill horizontally to their targets.

        The few hundred metres between the supermarket and the safe multi well pad could be used to pipe cheap gas to heat the supermarket.

        That would help them navigate the Town and Country Planning Act where they are struggling badly.

        I wonder why this has not happened?

  4. Perhaps GBK that is because each site must be determined on its own application and merit, one size does not fit all as you seem to think.

  5. Perhaps GBK, TW and Johnson would like to meet me at Roseacre and let me show them the route proposed by Cuadrilla at the last PI, the one that the Inspector stated unequivocally was unsuitable. Mind you no doubt they will say, been there done that. We are not Nimbys, and quite frankly we get hacked off being described as such, we are fighting to protect the environment and a rural landscape which if we don’t protect now then you can look forward to hundreds of sites like that at PNR across the Fylde and beyond. But then again you three would probably welcome that . Johnson, the oil trucks are not 44 ton six axled vehicles travelling on roads that were never constructed to take such weight.

    • Such roads are actually restricted from use by HGV’s and LHV’s Save Lancs, often the roads are signed “unsuitable for HGV’s”.

      However, these signs mysteriously disappear from such routes where HGV’s and LHV’s are to be used to travel to fracking and ohandgee sites.

      This is illegal, since to change a road from one designated capable route to another requires a traffic order and a structural survey to prove the change od designation.

      That has not happened anywhere that such signs have been removed to my certain knowledge, I have investigated just that at another site, and received little but unsubstantiated avoidance and weak assurances.

      It’s an issue the local authorities don’t want to action or admit to, since it indicates the fear of the legal action that would be taken against refusal of access for opposing the draconian ohandgee industry attack lawyers.
      It is not just the legal definition of suitability for HGV or LHV traffic either, it’s structural integrity and the inevitable repair and reconstruction costs, it’s visibility requirements, it’s dangerous bends and corners and access visibility splays, it’s speed restrictions, it’s changing of legal definitions of designated routes by application to the Highways Authority, it’s the time such changes take, years sometimes, it’s overturning the whole public consultation and notification of change of use posts and display.

      None of that has happened with such routes because the authorities dare not properly implement to required legal processes, because it will reveal the inadequacies and the unwillingness to address the situation to public scrutiny, because that must never happen.

  6. The awful upside down depiction of a fracking zone makes it clear that the entire Fylde Peninsula is endangered by the fracking process!
    The flawed geological make up of the Fylde peninsula as illustrated clearly in the corrugated cardboard effects encountered regularly throughout the area is obviously going to cause major potential for seismic activity and also toxic fluids entering the watercourses and aquifers once the horizontal drilling and fracturing commence!
    I actually believe that our Mainland due to it’s dense population, weather patterns and varied geological structure is definitely not suited to this method of stored gas extraction and also that renewable energy sources are the way forward!

  7. Oil trucks?? I thought this was a site proposed to drill and test for gas production, which would not be carried away in trucks if found and a production licence was then authorised. Roseacre Awareness Group seem to recognise it is shale gas that would be subject to exploration.

    Also interesting the “uneconomic” argument seems to have been replaced by “hundreds of sites”.

    There may be a quaintness about the total lack of a coherent argument against fracking, but all it shows to the wider public is that much of the protest is indeed Nimbyism. In itself, that is understandable, but when that is allowed to be hijacked by others with alternative agendas it is undermined.

    • It appears to show a medium sized goods vehicle, taking up both sides of the carriage way with no passing place and a pedestrian being forced to walk on the verge. Exactly the reason the planning committee and subsequently the planning inspector considered the proposed route to be such a poor example of traffic management.

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