Cuadrilla to appeal against fracking refusal by Lancashire county council
Lancashire county council faces an appeal by a leading UK shale gas company after refusing its applications to frack for shale gas in the county.
Last month, councillors rejected planning consent for Cuadrilla’s application to drill and frack a total of eight wells at two sites on the Fylde, on the grounds that they would have an unacceptable visual impact and create too much noise.
On Thursday, the company said it would submit appeals for both the shale gas exploration and accompanying arrays to monitor seismic activity and groundwater at the sites. If the exploration goes ahead, it will be the biggest round of fracking in the UK to date.
Green campaigners said the appeal showed a “blatant disregard” for the views of local people.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said in a statement: “I understand that some people would prefer that we did not appeal but I am confident that we will demonstrate to Lancashire and the UK that shale gas exploration and fracking is not only safe but represents a very real opportunity to create jobs, fuel businesses, heat UK homes and stimulate significant local economic growth.”
He added that the company was committed to engaging with local communities to reassure them that fracking could be undertaken safely. A report by an industry-funded task force on shale gas earlier this month concluded that, properly regulated, fracking was safe for human health and the environment but that it was too early to say whether it would be good for the UK.
Ken Cronin, the chief executive of the trade body that represents the fracking industry, said: “We welcome Cuadrilla’s decision to appeal against the planning decisions at both of its sites in Fylde. These appeals are a normal part of the planning process in the UK.”
Furqan Naeem, north west campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “An appeal will put further pressure on residents who have been fighting to keep their community free from this filthy industry for four years now. Cuadrilla bullied their way into a second chance to make the case for fracking in January, they don’t need a third.”
The appeal by Cuadrilla was widely expected after the rejection by Lancashire county council’s development control committee. It could ultimately land on the desk of Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government, if he decides to “call in” the appeal.