Planning officers of the Lancashire Council believe fracking would negatively affect local neighbourhoods

Cuadrilla asks for Lancashire fracking decision deferral

Oil and gas exploration company Cuadrilla has asked Lancashire County Council to postpone the decision regarding its fracking application, expected next week.

The move comes days after the Council’s development control committee recommended rejection of the application due to concerns over excessive noise and traffic disruption.

Cuadrilla reacted by submitting further information regarding measures to mitigate the noise and traffic concerns and requests the council to postpone the decision in order to allow the officers to properly consider the new facts.

Cuadrilla is seeking permission to experimentally extract shale gas by hydraulic fracturing at two sites in Lancashire. The two projects, in Preston New Road near Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood, near Roseacre, foresee 24-hour operations and would run for months.

The council’s planning officers expressed concern the activity would affect surrounding neighbourhoods, especially as it would lead to a "significant increase in night-time background noise levels".

The committee’s report further said increased traffic at the Roseacre Wood site would affect rural roads and reduce road safety.

Cuadrilla said in a statement that they are seeking to lessen the impact of their proposed operations.

"The detail of this additional mitigation requires proper consultation and planning regulations clearly require this,” the firm said. “We have therefore also requested a deferral in the determination of our planning applications to allow for this to consultation to take place."

To deal with the noise issue at Preston New Road, the company has committed to a further sound barrier around the major parts of the drilling rig and extra shielding around individual components of the kit.

Cuadrilla said it had been committed to achieving a night-time noise limit of 42 decibels (dB), and had not previously been informed that this would be too high.

But the new measures would bring noise at the nearest home to no higher than 39dB, which the company said was "less than the sound of a refrigerator humming from two metres".

The company also said it had proposed additional measures to reduce noise from a maximum of 40dB at Roseacre Wood, to 37dB.

Cuadrilla has agreed in principle with the Ministry of Defence to route all its HGV traffic through the RAF Inskip site, to stop it going through local villages of Wharles or Roseacre, and remained committed to a maximum of 25 HGVs a day during peak periods.

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