The wrangle over shale gas drilling moves to the courtroom tomorrow as the decision to allow fracking on the Fylde is challenged under law.
Anti-fracking campaigners are hoping to get Secretary of State for Communities Sajid Javid’s decision overturned at the Manchester Court of Civil Justice with a judicial review.
Both the Preston New Road Action Group and Lytham resident Gayzer Frackman are challenging the decision to overrule Lancashire County Council’s rejection of the planning application to frack at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood. That came after a six week planning inquiry at Bloomfield Road.
The hearing is expected to last two and a half days with a decision due between three and six weeks later.
Cuadrilla will be giving evidence in support of the Government.
A spokesman for the Preston New Road Action Group said: “Local democracy which said no, was overturned by the Secretary of State in Westminster. Sajid Javid has not visited or engaged with the communities that would be affected to understand the real impacts of his decision. We believe that this is neither just nor democratic.
“The Conservative government has denied Preston New Road and Lancashire Community the right to ‘influence and be involved in shaping and determining planning decisions’ as outlined as an aim in the government’s National Planning Police Framework.
“We hope finally, to see the justice for which Britain used to be known for, restored, and the will of communities and the local planning system upheld.
“Dismantling local democracy was the only way this industry and central government could force fracking down the throats of unwilling local residents.
“This is corruption and abuse of power. Democracy died in Lancashire after this decision. We hope it can be resurrected by the Manchester Court.”
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla said: “Whilst we are respectful of the democratic right of the two parties who have issued statutory challenges against the Government decision to grant us planning permission, Cuadrilla is actively defending the challenges and we are confident that the planning consents will not be overturned”