Becconsall, Banks, Lancashire

Becconsall2

Cuadrilla’s drilling compound at Becconsall in an area used by wintering ducks and geese

Key facts

Address: Land off Bonny Barn Road, Hundred End, Banks

Latest planning application: LCC/2017/0064

Operator: Cuadrilla

PEDL165

 

Timeline

26 July 2010

Cuadrilla applies (08/10/0973) for temporary change of use from agriculture to site for drilling an exploratory borehole and testing for hydrocarbons.

20 October 2010

Permission granted under delegated powers for an exploration well at Becconsall. A condition requires the development to be completed and site restored within 18 months of the start of work. Decision notice

28 March 2011

Work started on the site. This means the deadline for completion of work and site restoration will be 27 September 2012.

23 August 2011

Becconsall well spudded.

13 October 2011

Horizontal side tracked spudded to “bypass equipment which had become stuck in the original borehole and could not be recovered”. Main well bore drilled to 10,500ft.

19 September 2012

Cuadrilla applies (08/12/1032) to vary the condition on work completion and site restoration for a further 18 months until 28 March 2014.

27 September 2012

Date by which the planning permission 08/10/0973 requires restoration to be completed.

6 June 2013

Cuadrilla submits an amendment to application 08/12/1032 to include a Diagnostic formation Injection Test or mini frack and a further extension of the time for work completion and site restoration until 28 September 2014. Amendment letter

27 March 2014

Cuadrilla applies (LCC/2014/0047) to retain the site for another three years to allow pressure monitoring, followed by plugging, abandonment and restoration.

21 May 2014

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee agrees to a visit to the Becconsall site as part of consideration of application LCC/2014/0047). Officer’s report

22 September 2014

Cuadrilla withdraws the whole application 08/12/1032 with immediate effect. Withdrawal letter

23 September 2014

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee approves application LCC/2014/0047 allowing Cuadrilla to retain Becconsall for three more years Officer’s report. But it is nine months before the decision notice is issued (see 1 May 2015) because of delays establishing a feeding area for wintering birds.

1 May 2015

Lancashire County Council issues decision notice granting permission for application LCC/2014/0047, nine months after the decision. A condition requires the site to be restored no later than 31 October 2016 if pressure monitoring equipment is installed.

18 November 2015

Cuadrilla announces it has no plans for development at Becconsall site and says it will restore the site in spring 2016 and before the 31 October 2016 deadline. DrillOrDrop report

28 October 2016

Lancashire County Council says the 31 October 2016 deadline for restoration does not apply because Cuadrilla did not install pressure monitoring equipment. The deadline is now extended to 1 May 2018 but in practice it is 31 October 2017 because another condition prevents work during the winter bird season (31 October-31 March) and there’s not enough time to do the work between 1 April 2018 and 1 May 2018. DrillOrDrop report

26 January 2017

Cuadrilla applies to increase height of rig at Becconsall from 22m to 32m as variation of a condition of planning permission LCC/2014/0047. Cuadrilla also applies (LCC/2017/0016) to increase permitted noise limits during plugging and abandoning the well and restoration to 55dB(a) 8am-9pm and 42db 9pm-8am when measured at the boundary of the nearest home. The previous condition restricted noise levels to 42db(A) when measured at any point on the site boundary.

1 March 2017

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee votes to increase noise limits to 50db LAeq (1 hour) (free field) when measured at any noise sensitive property and approves increased rig height to 32m. But it sets a deadline of 31 August 2017 for site restoration and limits working hours to 7.30am-6.30pm Monday-Friday and 7.30am-1pm on Saturdays. DrillOrDrop report

3 August 2017

Cuadrilla applies to extend for more than a year the time it has to restore Becconsall (LCC/2017/0064).  This is a variation of the condition set on 1 March 2017. If approved, the site will not need to be restored until 31 October 2018. Application letter