Court battle on Fylde fracking to be held in city

Protesters slow-walk a lorry onto Cuadrillas shale gas exploraton site off Preston New Road

Protesters slow-walk a lorry onto Cuadrillas shale gas exploraton site off Preston New Road

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The three legal challenges launched against the Government on fracking are set to be heard in Manchester.

Two centre on Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to allowing fracking to go ahead at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton; the third is over his decision to put a ruling over Roseacre Wood on hold in case a manageable HGV traffic management plan can be produced.

The ruling came following a six-week planning inquiry at Blackpool Football Club and overrule Lancashire County Council’s decision to reject Cuadrilla’s applications to drill and test for shale gas at each site.

No dates have been set for the hearings but the news of the location has pleased anti-fracking groups.

The Preston New Road Action Group and campaigner Gayzer Frackman have both challenged the Little Plumpton decision as being fundamentally flawed in its misapplication of planning laws and policy, not taking into account the effects on the community and the climate.

Jules Burton, from Roseacre village, has also begun a challenge under Section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. He said he was angry that the minister went against the planning inspector’s recommendation to refuse the Roseacre application on traffic safety grounds.

The online fracking journalism site DrillOrDrop reported that it had seen an order signed earlier this week by Mr Justice Dove which said the cases should be decided in Manchester. The judge said: “In my view both of these cases have a clear and strong local connection and should be transferred to Manchester for the purposes of the hearing. In my view, it is very important that these cases should be heard by a High Court judge with significant planning experience.”