Latest News: 25th June, 2014
Following submission of Cuadrilla’s planning application for up to four shale gas exploration wells at its proposed site at Roseacre Wood, Lancashire County Council has formally validated and accepted the application and will now begin its own consultation regarding the proposals.
The planning application and its accompanying Environmental Statement are accessible to the public from today. The Environmental Statement details the findings of an extensive Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed sites, which was carried out by experts at Arup, an independent and highly respected UK engineering and environmental consultancy. It contains 21 chapters looking at a wide range of issues including air quality, lighting, noise, transport, water and visual impact. A non-technical summary of the Environmental Statement is also available.
Arup’s Project Director Des Correia said:
“The Arup team has had an excellent level of engagement from the community around our Roseacre Wood site – from local residents to the parish council and other local stakeholders. Their contributions have helped us undertake both the Environmental Impact and Environmental Risk Assessments in tremendous detail, taking into account a huge range of issues including the vital importance of maintaining the natural rural character of the local landscape and assessing options for minimising the impact of additional transport.”
Cuadrilla’s chief executive Francis Egan said:
“The planning application for Roseacre Wood – together with the Preston New Road application which we submitted a couple of weeks ago – are important milestones for Lancashire and the UK as we seek to unlock Lancashire’s considerable shale gas potential in a safe and sensible way. We’ve been working hard to incorporate, as far as reasonably practical, the feedback received and the applications include the changes we have made to our proposals as a result of the views expressed during our consultation with local residents, community groups and stakeholders. The end result is probably the two most comprehensive Environmental Statements ever completed for proposed shale gas exploration sites.”
Examples of changes Cuadrilla has made as a result of feedback gathered from four months of extensive consultation with local residents includes:
We have investigated the alternative transport routes suggested by the Treales, Roseacre and Wharles Parish Council and local residents. As a consequence our planning application includes two proposed HGV routes.
In addition, based on our transport assessment, we have committed to the following mitigation measures: a reduction in overall volume of fracturing fluid to be used, resulting in a reduced amount of fluid that will flow back and need to be transported off site by tanker; establishing a traffic management plan to be agreed with LCC; enforcement measures that will be implemented to ensure that all HGVs use the agreed route.
A 20% reduction in the use of mains water during hydraulic fracturing will be achieved through a revision to our hydraulic fracturing plan and the reuse of fracturing fluid in the fracturing process.
A reduction in the hours that our fracturing pumps would operate of over 50% meaning that pumps will only be used during day time hours (07.00-19.00hr). Any weekend fracturing operations will only be conducted from 07.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays. We will employ Best Practice Means of working during all stages, including drilling, to minimise noise from the site.
A 30% reduction in the height of the flare stack (15m to 10m) and covered lighting to prevent light spillage and so reduce visual impact.
Arup has also prepared an Environmental Risk Assessment for the site under the guidance of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Cuadrilla has also submitted a planning application proposing to install a network of monitoring stations within a 4km radius of the Roseacre Wood site, which would be used to monitor seismicity before, during and after operations.
It is anticipated that Lancashire County Council will make a decision on both of the Roseacre planning applications within a 16 week determination period commencing on the application validation date.
Last month, Cuadrilla submitted a separate planning application for its second proposed shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, to the West of Little Plumpton.