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Variation on planning condition sought for Cuadrilla site

Words: Laura Edgar

Cuadrilla has announced it plans to seek a ‘minor variation’ under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to one of the conditions to its planning permission for fracking site Preston New Road, Lancashire.

The firm will write to Lancashire County Council within a month seeking a scoping opinion under regulation 15 of the Town and Country Planning (Environment Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.

Chief executive officer Francis Egan explained that the condition in question requires all drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations to be completed within a period of 30 months from the date of commencement of the drilling of the first well.

"This would in effect require drilling and hydraulic fracturing to conclude by the end of November 2019. By the end of November 2019 we are in fact likely to have spent no more than 21 months in total drilling or fracturing on site since the commencement of drilling well PNR1.

“Our proposed variation would seek to allow additional time for drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations, but not to change either the existing approved work scope to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four wells at PNR or the requirement for the site to be decommissioned and restored by April 2023.”

In February, Cuadrilla announced results from flow-testing of the UK’s "first ever horizontal shale gas exploration". It confirmed a "high-quality" natural gas resource in the Bowland Shale. The initial exploration programme also confirmed that the Bowland Shale formation fractures in a way that is "typical of an excellent" shale gas reservoir, the company said.

Read more:

Perry gives green light to fracking at controversial Lancashire site

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