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Petition against Lancashire fracking decision delivered to government

Words: Laura Edgar

Campaigners have delivered a petition signed by 186,000 people calling on the government to ‘respect Lancashire’s decision to reject fracking’ to Downing Street.

Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Frack Free Lancashire, Preston New Road Action Group and Roseacre Awareness Group, and Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith joined together to deliver the petition.

Smith has said that fracking has no “democratic mandate” in Lancashire.

In June last year, Lancashire County Council’s development control committee voted to refuse Cuadrilla’s application to begin shale gas exploration at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, on noise and visual impact grounds. 

Cuadrilla has appealed against the decision, and the Department for Communities and Local Government is set to make the final decision.

Also last year, energy secretary Amber Rudd announced that the government wants to fast-track fracking applications through the planning system. 

In a joint statement Hannah Martin, Greenpeace, and Rose Dickinson, Friends of the Earth, said: “We are asking David Cameron and Greg Clark to stand by their commitment to local democracy by respecting the decision of Lancashire County Council – a decision supported by local residents, businesses and councillors. Fracking poses risks to people and the environment, and politicians in Westminster shouldn’t force this risky technology on any community.” 

In May this year, North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee granted approval for plans to frack for shale gas near to Kirby Misperton, Ryedale.

This is the first fracking operation to be approved in England since a ban was lifted in 2012. The council’s planning committee voted seven to four in favour of Third Energy’s application, which was recommended for approval by the council's planning officers.

Following the decision, Simon Bowens, Yorkshire and Humber campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said the approval is “an absolute travesty of a decision” and the battle is “very far from over”.

Read more here.

Image credit | iStock