Decision on Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood fracking site due in New Year

Roseacre horse

One of the lorry routes to Cuadrilla’s proposed shale gas site at Roseacre Wood. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The decision on whether Cuadrilla can drill and frack up to four shale gas wells at Roseacre Wood, near Blackpool, is expected early in January 2019, according to the Planning Inspectorate.

It confirmed that a report by the inspector at a public inquiry earlier this year has gone to the Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, who will make the final decision.

The news comes as Cuadrilla prepares to begin fracking tomorrow (Monday 15 October 2018) at its Preston New Road site, also in Lancashire. This will be the first high volume hydraulic fracture in the UK since 2011 and the country’s first frack of a horizontal shale gas well.

Both Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road were refused planning permission by Lancashire County Council in June 2015.

After a 19–day public inquiry, the then Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, overruled the council and granted permission for the Preston New Road site.

On Roseacre Wood, he said was “minded” to allow permission, despite the planning inspector’s recommendation to refuse on highway safety. Mr Javid reopened the inquiry with a different inspector to give Cuadrilla another chance to present evidence on traffic issues.

The report by the second inspector, Melvyn Middleton, was submitted on 28 September 2018, the Planning Inspectorate has now confirmed.

It said:

“As the Secretary of State’s decision on this case is the conclusion of a ‘minded to allow’ process, there is no formal target for the decision. However the Secretary of State intends to determine it in line with the normal timescales for recovered appeals and call-ins, and hence intends to issue a decision early in the New Year.”

Roseacre Awareness Group, which opposes Cuadrilla’s plans, was contacted by the Planning Inspectorate about the timing of the decision.

It said today:

“So far, the Roseacre Wood scheme, has been rejected at every level from the majority of residents, seven affected parish and town councils, unanimously at every single stage by Fylde Borough and Lancashire County Councils, the Planning Inspector (after the first Public Inquiry), and our two Conservative MPs.

“Even the former Secretary of State himself did not approve the scheme after the first inquiry (although he was minded to approve).

“And yet still they are trying to force fracking on us.”

DrillOrDrop key details on Roseacre Wood

Fracking due to start tomorrow at Preston New Road


Fracking equipment at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site near Blackpool, 13 October 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

Opponents of Cuadrilla’s operation at Preston New Road are expecting to gather outside the site tomorrow when fracking is due to start.

The company had planned to carry out the first frack yesterday (Saturday 13 October 2018).

But stormy weather meant that a crane could not be used to move equipment into place.

Under the terms of the planning permission, Cuadrilla can frack from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

The company will first frack the deeper of the two wells drilled at Preston New Road.

The well is at about 2,300m below the surface and the horizontal section runs for about 800m.

Cuadrilla will frack 45 stages of the first well, one each day, starting with the one furthest from the pad.

Stages are each 15-50m long and each will use up to 765m3 (765,000 litres) of hydraulic fracturing fluid and up to 75 tonnes (75,000 kg) of sand proppant.

DrillOrDrop key details on Preston New Road


9 replies »

    • Have a good look at the spin they have told the investors and weigh that up against the realities of Preese Hall.

      Commercial success?

      You are having a laugh.

  1. PNR or UK shale will never be commercial. It takes Cuadrilla 2 years to drill 2 wells. Not sure Roseacre will worth the investment or make financial sense. So why bother with it?

    • The deal with shale was supposed to have been to replace imported LNG gas, most of which comes from Qatar.

      Down the road from PNR we have BAE who have just done a £5 billion pound deal with Qatar to supply aircraft.

      If shale produced the quantities it suggests it could ( I hear laughing) Qatar would not be selling LNG to us and that would obviously affect trade deals.

      What a great idea of the Government. Risk destroying one of our greatest industries employing thousands and supplying revenue to the country by swapping it for a dirty dangerous expensive fossil fuel we neither need or can afford to have.

    • Surely thats a matter for the money men? If it isnt commercial, then it will not happen. And it will if it is commercial. I dont see why a few nimbies should stop progress.

  2. The government is hanging on by a thread. They are far too insecure to make a decision. They have had the Inspectors Report since September. It has taken ten months (and still counting) to make a decision on KM8 . Given these inordinate delays by central government, why are the same Ministers pushing to Fast Track shale gas exploration when they are one of the biggest causes of delay. They can hold up the process for a long as they like as far as I am concerned. In fact, big thanks.

    It costs more to get out of the ground than it is worth on the open market. Even Fitch one of the three biggest Credit Rating Agencies is extremely cool about fracking in England. If they are ‘cool’ about our shale exploits they are certainly not recommending it to anyone. The main reason for this coolness is the level of public opposition in UK.

    Anyway, who is going to drill the other 5,998 wells required to displace some of our gas imports? At a rate of one or two wells every two years that would only take …………………………life is too short to bother working it out, especially as it won’t happen anyway.

    Lets not forget that Cantdrilla are taking two and half months to complete two weeks work. This is the showcase frack. If it goes fairly well (no pun intended) the next and subsequent fracks will be at full speed and then it will go Pete Tong.

  3. All Gold Standard.

    Test methodically at one site first and then start to expand and accelerate if/when that first site is successful.

    Shame for the antis. They seem to want reckless uncontrolled activity simply so they can say it is reckless uncontrolled activity. Good job the companies are more professional.

    • Unlike the government eh Martin!

      They seem very keen to allow reckless uncontrolled activity in the form of unrestricted industrial development in the countryside ( otherwise known as permitted development rights).

      Is that the kind of reckless uncontrolled activity you mean?

      Or do you mean the kind of reckless and uncontrolled activity that ignores the established controls because they don’t suit the desired outcomes?

      The kind that overturns sound planning decisions made locally, that follow officer recommendations, that are supported at “ call in” stage by Her Majesties Planning Inspectors but then over turned because the SoS was minded not to follow good advice that also followed planning guidance, lest he upset Franny and Gentleman Jim.

      That kind of reckless uncontrolled activity?

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