Refusal recommended for Cuadrilla Lancashire fracking

Proposals by the energy company to explore shale gas at two sites in Lancashire should be declined, it was recommended by planning officials.

Lancashire County Council has made recommendations on whether shale company Cuadrilla should start fracking at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood by drilling, fracking and testing the flow of gas.

The councillors are expected to make a final decision by 30 January, but initial recommendations suggest that Cuadrilla’s application should be turned down.

Concerns over noise pollution at Preston New Road would “unnecessarily and unacceptably” affect the neighbouring properties, according to one of the reports, while at the Roseacre Wood site the increase in traffic would result in “an unacceptable impact” on road safety.  

In turn the Environment Agency (EA) has granted the energy company environmental permits to start shale gas exploration at Preston New Road.

The permission came one day after the British Geological Society (BGS) said it will expand its national supervision programmes for environmental issues at shale gas extraction sites across the UK, including Lancashire, to gather detailed data on seismic activity and groundwater.

Hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking – pumps water, chemicals and sand at high pressure underground to fracture shale rock and release the gas trapped in it.

Although the government supports the shale gas industry, declaring that it could clamp down the country’s reliance on gas imports, opponents have raised concerns over earthquakes and water pollution from fracking.

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