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29/06/2015

Lancashire fracking application refused

Words: Laura Edgar
Little Plumpton tracking

An application to explore for shale gas in Lancashire has been refused by the county council, leaving the applicant “surprised and disappointed”.

The controversial application by Cuadrilla to begin shale gas exploration at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, was originally recommended for approval by officers, but has been refused by members of Lancashire County Council’s development control committee.

County council members voted to turn the applcation down on noise and visual impact grounds.

This follows a delaying of the decision last week so councillors could consider legal advice warning that refusal that is not backed by substantial objective evidence is unreasonable in planning terms, with the applicant likely to appeal.

The committee also voted against an application for the same site to enable Cuadrilla to monitor its operations because of its impact on the landscape.

Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, and member of the development control committee, said the committee had listened to arguments for and against the proposal, as well as considering the council’s planning officers.

“Each member of the committee has ultimately cast their vote based on the evidence they have heard and whether they think the proposal is acceptable in planning terms, and to the people they represent," he said.

Cuadrilla has expressed its surprise and disappointment at the decision.

The company says it will now consider its options regarding an appeal for the Preston Road site, as well as monitoring work and site restoration at Grange Hill, Singleton, near Blackpool, and the decision last week to refuse an application for Roseacre Wood, also in Preston.

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said: “If we can unlock this shale gas potential it will help create jobs, generate economic growth, help fuel and heat local businesses and homes and boost local tax revenues for Lancashire.

“It is regrettable that the county council has decided not to support this application in the face of positive recommendation from all regulators and their own officers.”

Image courtesy of Cuadrilla

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