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Planners back one fracking application and reject another

An ongoing bid to carry out fracking in the North West has met with a mixed reaction from planners.

Lancashire County Council planning officers recommended that one proposed shale gas exploration site in the county be approved – but another from the same company be rejected.

An application by energy firm Cuadrilla for construction and operation of a hydraulic fracturing site near Preston New Road in Little Plumpton was recommended for planning approval subject to certain conditions.

But refusal was recommended of a submission to to build and operate a similar site in Roseacre Wood.

“The proposed development would be contrary to Policy DM2 of the Joint Lancashire Minerals and Waste Local Plan – Site Allocation and development management policies in that it would generate an increase in traffic, particularly HGV movements, that would result in an unacceptable impact on the rural highway network and on existing road users, particularly vulnerable road users, and a reduction in overall highway safety that would be severe,” said the planning officer’s report.

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee will make the final decisions on the two applications, along with two related submissions for monitoring works around the sites, on Tuesday 23 June.

Cuadrilla said in a statement: “We are pleased that Lancashire County Council’s planning officers have recommended that the councils’ development control committee grant planning consent for our application at Preston New Road.”

It added: “For our application at Roseacre Wood, we supplied additional information regarding traffic routes, which we and our expert advisers believe addressed issues which were raised in the officer’s report in January. While we remain confident that our original proposed route was adequate, the alternative route suggested also met with all necessary guidelines in our view.

“We are disappointed that officers do not support this in their negative recommendation today, however we are pleased to note that as with Preston New Road, they are satisfied with all other aspects of the Roseacre Wood planning applications.

“We will await the councillors’ decisions on both these applications at the end of June.”

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