Fylde council poised to object to fracking

Gas search: A Cuadrilla drilling rig , which objectors claim will cause noise and visual pollution in their neighbourhood Below: The two areas where Cuadrilla wants to test for gas in 'shale rock deep below the Fylde countryside
Gas search: A Cuadrilla drilling rig , which objectors claim will cause noise and visual pollution in their neighbourhood Below: The two areas where Cuadrilla wants to test for gas in 'shale rock deep below the Fylde countryside
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Campaign groups opposed to fracking today welcomed Fylde Council officers recommendations to object to plans to drill on the Fylde.

Council officers looking into Cuadrilla’s application to drill and frack up to four wells at two sites off Preston New Road, Little Plumpton and near Roseacre Wood say the noise from the 24 hour operation would be significant.

Gas exploration company Cuadrilla has unveiled plans to carry out fracking at two new Lancashire sites.'The firm has earmarked new exploration sites in Roseacre and Little Plumpton on the Fylde.

Gas exploration company Cuadrilla has unveiled plans to carry out fracking at two new Lancashire sites.'The firm has earmarked new exploration sites in Roseacre and Little Plumpton on the Fylde.

They have compiled a report for Fylde councillors to consider tomorrow at Lowther Pavilion.

The councillors will discuss the report and make their own decision. Their comments will be forwarded to Lancashire County Council which is to rule on the planning application at both sites.

The officers examining the bids say in their report: “In the absence of technical expertise, it is considered it is appropriate for the comments of this council to reiterate that the County Planning Authority be satisfied the below ground operations will not have any significant adverse impacts and to ensure the views of the County Highway Authority and the County Ecologist are addressed in full.

“However, notwithstanding LCC’s assessment of these matters, the proposed drilling operation would be in relatively close proximity to residential properties and the noise and disturbance from a 24-hour drilling operation would be significant.

“For this reason, it is recommended LCC be advised this council objects to the proposal and recommends planning permission be refused.”

The report also contains a submission from Westby with Plumptons Parish council which also objects to the fracking bids.

It says: “The process of fracking is a highly emotive topic, but the parish council can assure the applicant that both arguments, for and against, have been carefully considered.”

A spokesman for the Preston New Road Action Group said today: “If the Fylde councillors vote against the applications that will be a huge step forward in our fight to protect our neighbourhood and the wider rural Fylde from the potential risks of fracking.

“There are many more reasons we may object to shale drilling, but certainly we don’t want the health risks increasingly found in the USA.

“We don’t want either to have to endure for five or six years a combination of drilling noise, night-time lighting, noise, light and potentially toxic emissions from flaring, and we don’t want the high volumes of heavy goods vehicles traffic.”

“Some of us live within 300 yards of the site – several hundred people live a short distance further.

“We are delighted the officers are recognising the problems we would face, and are recommending refusal on those grounds.”

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “We are disappointed with the Fylde Borough Council’s officers’ recommendation to refuse our planning applications to drill and hydraulically fracture at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. We believe that all of the issues that their report raises have already been fully and adequately addressed in our Environmental Statement. Whilst Fylde Borough Council is not the determining authority we will be making a full representation to the committee at their meeting on Wednesday.”