‘We won’t ban gas drilling on land’

Cuadrilla site on Anna's Road , Westby.
Cuadrilla site on Anna's Road , Westby.
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COUNCILLORS have said they will not follow in neighbour’s footsteps by banning fracking on council land.

Preston City Council has announced it will “resist all requests to use council land” for the controversial process – but Fylde and Wyre Councils say they have no plans to take a similar stance.

Many of the sites earmarked for shale gas fracking are in Fylde, but council leader David Eaves said no approaches had been made to frack on council-owned land.

He said: “We have not been asked if any of our land can be used for the extraction of shale gas and we don’t expect we will be.

“We own places like parks and we don’t expect they would want to frack there.

“In the unlikely event they did ask a decision would have to come from full council, but we are not expecting any such request.”

The motion was passed by Preston City Council last week, and means the council will ban fracking on its land and resist “all requests for financial support for fracking in Preston” while its environment scrutiny panel carries out research.

Fylde Council has also formed a new a new working group to look into shale gas fracking, and Coun Eaves added: “As a council we are continually monitoring developments with regard to fracking.

“We will be watching very closely to see that environmental and health and safety regulations are developed to protect the area and its residents.

“If we feel residents’ interests are being threatened we will not hesitate to speak out on their behalf.”

Fracking company Cuadrilla Resources currently has sites in Westby, Weeton and Singleton, and was last week granted permission to resume exploratory fracking by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

In Preston, the councillor who pushed for the study into the drilling said he hoped Preston could become a “frack-free city”.

But in Wyre, where residents in Poulton were affected by earthquakes caused by fracking last year, the council leader said councillors were well-informed and happy to be guided by experts.

Councillor Peter Gibson, Leader of Wyre Council, said: “We’ve already held a seminar in Wyre with the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and anti fracking representatives to discuss the implications of fracking. As a result of that I’m happy to be guided by the expert agencies on the environmental aspects.”

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