Lancashire fracking debate gets under way

The Fracking meeting at County Hall in Preston
The Fracking meeting at County Hall in Preston
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A hearing into whether to allow fracking for shale gas in Lancashire finally got under way today

Gas exploration company Cuadrilla is applying to drill at two sites - a move fiercely opposed by many campaigners.

Today Lancashire County Council’s development control committee was considering the first of two applications in hearings that could last up to four days.

The council’s chief planner set out his case why he felt Cuadrilla’s application for Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, should be approved.

Stuart Perigo said he accepted that there had been a huge number of objections received against Cuadrilla’s plans.

But he felt that the application could not be rejected on grounds of damage to the environment or public health.

Traffic and noise around the site were issues that could be addressed with conditions.

Mr Perigo recommended the bid to frack at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, be approved.

The meeting then started to hear from a series of objectors.

Speaker after speaker spoke of their fears of the dangers to public health and the environment caused by fracking.

They said Lancashire was being used as “a guinea pig” for an industry that very little was known about.

John Tootil of Maple Farm Nursery said he lived only 800 metres from the Preston New Road site.

He said fracking would “destroy” his business, his home and his family life.

Cuadrilla’s second application for Roseacre Wood, near Elswick, has been recommended for refusal.

The hearing is expected to last until Friday.

Follow the debate here