Planning inspector is urged to throw out shale gas plans

Fracking rigs like this one are a common site in America.
Fracking rigs like this one are a common site in America.
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Residents opposed to fracking in the Lancashire countryside packed a public inquiry to urge a planning inspector to throw out shale gas plans.

Speaker after speaker urged the authorities to reject 
Cuadrilla’s applications to frack for shale gas.

Protesters from earlier in the inquiry.

Protesters from earlier in the inquiry.

The residents were invited to a special evening session of the public inquiry at Blackpool Football Club. Cuadrilla is appealing against Lancashire County Council’s refusal to allow fracking at Roseacre Wood, near Elswick, and Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

Inspector Wendy McKay welcomed dozens of residents to the meeting and explained that each speaker would get five minutes to put their case.

First resident to give evidence was Roseacre resident Keith Hulme who said he was opposed to the effect fracking plans would have on his quiet, tranquil village.

Apart from the traffic and noise problems there were health issues connected with fracking, he said. He was also concerned about the affect on tourism.

Protesters from earlier in the inquiry.

Protesters from earlier in the inquiry.

He said there was “no justification” for shale gas exploration and it had no value.

He said: “This project is the lid on Pandora’s box and should be judged as such.”

Mr Hulme said Cuadrilla’s claims that it would be temporary were wrong. The shale gas operation could last for 20 years and could result in up to 400 new wells every year if projections were correct.

Roseacre resident Chris Noad said the tranquil ambience of Roseacre was excellent. He said the rural roads were not suited for HGVs. “These proposals will turn the country lanes into an industrial conduit,” he said, bringing health and safety dangers.

County Coun Alf Clempson, on behalf of Wyre MP Ben Wallace, said Mr Wallace was greatly opposed to the applications on traffic grounds among other reasons. He said Mr Wallace believes the rural roads around Roseacre could simply not cope with the HGV traffic.

Supporters of shale gas say it could provide an economic boom for Lancashire. The inquiry is expected to last for around another four weeks.