A bid by Cuadrilla Resources to drill, frack and test at Preston New Road in Lancashire has been refused by the local council.
Members of Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee voted to refuse the application on the grounds of noise and visual impact. Cuadrilla Resources said it is now considering appealing against the decision.
Cuadrilla Resources had submitted a planning application to Lancashire County Council to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells at the proposed exploration site at Preston New Road. Officers at the council had recommended the plans get the go-ahead, however the council refused the application after deferring its decision to consider legal advice. The decision left Cuadrilla Resources ‘surprised and disappointed’.
The council also refused a similar application from Cuadrilla Resources for Roseacre Wood in Lancashire.
Lancashire County Council cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services Marcus Johnstone said: “This is one of the biggest planning decisions ever put before Lancashire County Council. The development control committee has listened very carefully to many hours of evidence both for and against the proposal, and considered the report of the council’s planning officers. The decision to refuse this application has been reached by a vote of the committee, which is composed of elected councillors, and 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.”
In response to the decision a statement from Cuadrilla Resources said: “We are surprised and disappointed that Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee has denied planning consent for our application to explore for shale gas at Preston New Road, particularly as their decision follows a positive recommendation by the Council’s Planning Officers. We remain committed to the responsible exploration of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath Lancashire. We will now take time to consider our options regarding an appeal for Preston New Road, along with also considering appeals for the planning applications recently turned down, against officer advice, for monitoring and site restoration at Grange Hill, and last week’s decision to refuse the Roseacre Wood application.”
It says it submitted it carried out the most comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessments ever for this type of work, submitted a 4,000 page environmental statement and conducted a widespread public consultation, all of which led to the recommendation for approval by council officers.
The company said: “These Assessments are the product of thousands of hours of work from independent expert environmental scientists and other engineering specialists and they demonstrate beyond question that the operations can and will be conducted safely and without damage to people’s health or their environment.”