The Environment Agency announced this afternoon that Cuadrilla had surrendered its environmental permit for the proposed shale gas site at Roseacre Wood, near Blackpool.
The decision marks the end of attempts by the company to drill, frack and test four shale gas wells on a site near the villages of Roseacre, Elswick and Wharles.
The mining waste permit was first granted by the Environment Agency in February 2015. But the scheme faced successive planning hurdles from local and central government.
In January 2015, officials at Lancashire County Council recommended refusal of planning permission on noise and traffic grounds. Cuadrilla asked for the decision to be deferred.
Six months later, officials again recommended refusal on traffic grounds and councillors voted unanimously to refuse the application.
Cuadrilla appealed but, after two sessions of a public inquiry in 2016 and 2018, the then local government secretary, James Brokenshire, refused permission in February 2019.
In March 2019, Cuadrilla announced it would not appeal again. It said:
“We believed the site provided an excellent opportunity to explore for natural gas in Lancashire. However, we acknowledge the findings of the lengthy review process and will not be appealing against the decision.”
The Environment Agency (EA) must approve the surrender of an environmental permit. It said today:
“We are satisfied that the necessary measures have been taken to avoid any pollution risk and to return the site to a satisfactory state.”
The surrender took effect on 31 July 2019.
The EA said:
“Due to the refusal of planning permission, no substantial works or regulated activities have been carried out at the site in relation to the permitted activities. The site remains in the same condition as when the permit where first granted.
“As no activities have taken place, there is no potential the site condition to have deteriorated relative to its condition at the time of permit determination and we are therefore satisfied that the permit can be surrendered.”
DrillOrDrop’s Roseacre Wood timeline
Do we have images of what a ‘satisfactory state’ looks like? Was this an arable field beforehand?
Yes it was just a field used by the local farmer for crops. No work was done, as they never got planning permission, so it is as it was. It was a long and difficult fight but we won in the end. Just now need to stop it elsewhere.
Many congratulations for a significant victory, which shows it isn’t inevitable that the government and the frackers get their way.
Another nail in the coffin for this obnoxious industry, and a boast in the fight against climate breakdown.
Good news for the Roseacre etc community as Cuadrilla retreats. So it seems they are aiming to desperately ressurect their futile search for shale gas at Preston New Road instead.
Certainly Cuadrilla will have to spend a lot more Investor cash restoring Wensleys field, at ground level and below, when they leave.
Hopefully that will be very soon but without causing more harm to our farmland, water courses and Community as a whole.
Our relationship with Lancashire Constabulary is permanently damaged of course but in recent years they haven’t been much use anyway in my experiences.
Personally I still believe that it will be either another outbreak if earthquakes, probably stronger than before or a change of government that will be the end of them.
Preferably the latter befire the fracking restarts because then there won’t the extremely unpleasant releases of toxic gaseous fracking byproduct to contend with. By the way how’s the emergency evacuation planning going on and when are the general public going to be advised how to stay safe in the event of a serious well blowout when the fracking pressure is cranked up?
Are you also on this stalled bandwagon? There is no need for an emergency evacuation plan, according to our judicial system! There are far worst hazards around that also do not need to have one.
Couldn’t have been an arable field before Big E as the roads are too narrow to accommodate large machinery!
This is great news and I hope that there is no more fracking anywhere considering that we are tackling a Climate Emergency.
Except, the reality Jackie, is that PNR will recommence fracking shortly. And, maybe they will have success, which could mean that all those millions of sites that have been fracking away in USA will have to find a different export market, other than the UK, for their output.
The industry desperately needed rural sites like Roseacre to be able to expand their field development plans. The industry now knows it will fail.
If you can’t spread your wings you can’t fly.
Well done to RAG and all those who supported them.