County council to examine fracking firm’s application

A Cuadrilla Resources engineer at work
A Cuadrilla Resources engineer at work
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The company which wants to frack for gas under the Fylde is to submit a bid for planning permission at its second site next week.

Cuadrilla Resources has submitted an application for planning permision to drill up to four wells at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton and is awaiting Lancashire County Counil’s decision.

But next week it is set to aubmit an application for its proposed natural gas facility at Roseacre.

The county council has formally validated and accepted the Little Plumpton application and will now begin its own consultation regarding the proposals.

The planning application and its accompanying Environmental Statement is now accessible to the public from today.

The Environmental Statement details the findings of an extensive Environmental Impact Assessment of the sites, which was carried out by experts at Arup, an independent consultancy.

It contains 21 chapters looking at a wide range of issues including air quality, lighting, noise, transport, water and visual impact. A non-technical summary of the Environmental Statement is also available.

Arup’s Project Director, Des Correia said: “The work we’ve undertaken for both the Environmental Impact and Environmental Risk Assessments has been tremendously comprehensive.

“We’ve been using best practice standards throughout our work and we’ve covered a full exploration life-cycle as well as considering cumulative impacts in both our scope and analysis work.

“Our approach throughout has been one of absolute thoroughness – we’ve undertaken in excess of 100 site visits and our work has ranged from anticipating potential impacts to developing mitigation strategies, and we’re pleased to have been able to draw on a huge range of expertise – some 25 different disciplines have been involved, including seismic interpretation and monitoring and well integrity.”

Cuadrilla’s chief executive Francis Egan said: “We’ve been working hard to take on board feedback received during our extensive consultation with local residents, community groups and broader stakeholders, and I am very grateful to those people who gave us their comments.

“Where it has been reasonably practical to do so, we have amended our plans to incorporate feedback and suggestions, which is reflected in the materials that have gone live today.”

He said examples of changes to their plans include a 20 per cent cut in mains water use by the fracking process, which will be achieved by reusing fracturing fluid, a reduction in the number of truck and tankers by cutting the amount of flowback fluid being taken off site, a bid to cut the noise in the areas by only running pumps during day time hours and an attempt to limit visual impact by cutting the heigh of gas flare stacks from 15m high to 10m high.

Cuadrilla has also submitted a planning application proposing to install a network of monitoring stations within a 4km radius of the Preston New Road site, which would be used to monitor seismicity before, during and after operations. It is anticipated that Lancashire County Council will make a decision on both applications within 16 weeks.