CUADRILLA TO APPEAL PLANNING APPLICATION REFUSALS FOR LANCASHIRE SHALE GAS EXPLORATION SITES

Cuadrilla plans to appeal Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) Development Control Committee’s decisions last month to refuse planning consent for two applications for temporary shale gas exploration sites. The applications sought planning permission to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells on each of two sites, one at Preston New Road and the other at Roseacre Wood.

We will also be appealing the refusal of a separate planning application to install seismic and ground water monitoring stations around the proposed Preston New Road exploration site. A similar planning application was granted for monitoring works around the proposed Roseacre Wood exploration site, however we will also appeal against certain conditions imposed on this planning consent.

LCC’s planning officer had recommended approval of the Preston New Road exploration site planning application and was very clear that the proposals were acceptable on all environmental and planning grounds. This includes the officer’s conclusions that the proposals were acceptable in relation to noise and visual impacts, which were the reasons given for the refusal of the application by the Committee. The monitoring applications for both Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood were also recommended for approval by the planning officer.

The planning officer had recommended refusal of the Roseacre Wood exploration site on traffic grounds and it was refused solely on those grounds. We will review the proposed traffic routing for Roseacre Wood in preparing our appeal. Our preferred route remains a two way route running to and from the A583 at the Clifton junction to the south of the Roseacre Wood exploration site and utilising a route through the Ministry of Defences’ Inskip site, bypassing local villages.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said:

“We have given careful consideration to appeal the planning decisions taken by Lancashire County Council. This is a natural step in the democratic process for deciding any planning application.

We recognise that onshore shale gas exploration still feels relatively new in the UK and we remain committed to engaging with local communities to reassure them that exploratory operations can and will be carried out safely and in an environmentally responsible way. I understand that some people would prefer that we did not appeal but I am confident that we will demonstrate to Lancashire and the UK that shale gas exploration and fracking is not only safe but represents a very real opportunity to create jobs, fuel businesses, heat UK homes and stimulate significant local economic growth.”

The monitoring works appeals will be submitted within the next week. The shale gas exploration site appeals will follow in due course.

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