Lancashire County Council has turned down an application by energy firm Cuadrilla to extract shale gas by hydraulic fracturing at a site near Preston, despite the council’s planning officers having recommended approval.
The decision, which was delayed from last week, follows a rejection of a proposal to frack at another site in Lancashire at Roseacre Wood.
The Lancashire County Council voted ten to four against the proposal to extract shale gas at Little Plumpton between Preston and Blackpool.
It followed a motion passed by the committee that it should be turned down because it would cause an unacceptable impact on the landscape, visual amenities and noise.
Members of the public, including residents living near to the proposed site, stood up and applauded the committee when the motion was passed.
The planning officers recommended the application be approved providing a series of conditions is met to mitigate any undesired impact on the local neighbourhood, including increase noise, traffic and pollution.
Cuadrilla planned to drill up to four exploration wells at the site to test the flow of gas before considering commercial exploitation.
The decision was welcomed by environmental campaigners who had been protesting against Cuadrilla’s plans for weeks ahead of the announcement.
The UK government officially supports the extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing, which involves pumping water and sand under pressure into the ground to fracture the rock.
The government believes fracking could create jobs, spur economic growth and reduce energy prices as well as the UK’s dependence on energy imports.
However, opponents fear the process could cause earth quakes and lead to pollution of water resources and damage to the environment.