Fylde fracking appeal hearing looms

Cyclists near Roseacre where anti-frackers say the lanes are too narrow for shale gas HGVs
Cyclists near Roseacre where anti-frackers say the lanes are too narrow for shale gas HGVs

Both sides in the Fylde fracking battle are to meet the new planning inspector, Melvyn Middleton, who will rule on whether drilling can start at a rural Fylde village.

A preliminary hearing over Cuadrilla’s bid at Roseacre Wood will take place at Blackpool FC’s stadium on Tuesday from 11am where rules for the main appeal on April 10 will be set out.

Roseacre Awareness Group chairman, Jim Nisbet said: “The people of this rural parish are, once again, seeking to defend themselves from having this insidious industry foisted upon them.

“Wendy McKay, the previous planning inspector, recommended to Sajid Javid that Cuadrilla’s application for exploratory wells at Roseacre Wood should be refused but he is “minded” to approve if they can come up with new mitigation.

“This pre-inquiry meeting will merely set the parameters for the re-opened inquiry next April, allowing Cuadrilla a fourth bite of a diminishing cherry to get it right.

“We are still awaiting the new proposals from Cuadrilla so as yet, we have no idea what we need to do to prepare our case. The odds it seems, always stack up in their favour.

“It is interesting to note that a report issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy this month stated unequivocally, that there is no risk to energy security in the UK for the next two decades at least, and that is without any reliance on shale gas or bio methane.”

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “Regarding our planning appeal for a proposed site at Roseacre Wood the Secretary of State said he was minded to grant this following further consultation on highways conditions.

“We look forward to demonstrating that it will meet these requirements at the inquiry next April.”