A Fylde man has launched a new legal bid to overturn a judge’s decision to allow the re-opening of a planning inquiry into a fracking drill site.
Roseacre resident Jules Burton has filed papers after he was refused permission to challenge the Communities’ Secretary, Sajid Javid over plans to frack at Roseacre.
He said the judge, Justice Dove, had ‘trivialised’ his case in refusing his bid at Easter and that he was ‘confident’ of getting a High Court hearing as his case had a compelling argument.
His legal move came on the day that Unite and PCS union officials visited the sister fracking site at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton, to show support for protesters.
Mr Burton said Mr Javid’s decision in October to re-open the planning inquiry which refused Cuadrilla permission to drill at Roseacre on road safety grounds was flawed and an abuse of power.
He said: “It is a bit like a defendant being given another chance to find new evidence after a trial has found against him. The Secretary of State is not simply allowed to do what he did, there are planning inquiry rules that should be followed.”
And he said Justice Dove was wrong in throwing out his bid for a judicial review without having a hearing.
He added: “Imagine if the public inquiry had allowed fracking to go ahead at Roseacre, do you think the Secretary of State would have stepped in and said: ‘No let’s give the opponents another chance to come up with new evidence to stop it.’?”
On the union protest including members from across the North West, Barbara Richardson of Frack Free Lancashire said: “It is fantastic to have the support of trade unions and the Diggers movement in the North West in our campaign to keep Lancashire frack-free.
“The vast majority of trade unions oppose fracking and are calling for the creation of a million climate jobs, and with our fantastic renewable energy resources we believe Lancashire workers and businesses could be at the heart of this.”
Meanwhile Cuadrilla has revealed that homes across the Fylde could be heated by gas from its Preston New Road site by next year.
The company is aiming to drill the exploratory well later this year and start fracking early in 2018.
It said any gas recovered from the well would be pumped into the national mains, meaning it would be used to heat homes well ahead of any full production phase of a shale gas industry.
Matt Lambert, Cuadrilla’s director of government and public affairs said: “The opportunity to get that out safely with limited impact on the environment is really too good to miss.
"Probably, as early as the beginning of next year we will be heating homes in Lancashire with Lancashire gas. And then I think people will understand and start to see real jobs, real supply-side contracts coming through.”