Residents living near a proposed Fylde fracking site have launched a fund-raising drive to pay for legal costs to fight a planning appeal.
Members of the Preston New Road Action Group have acted after energy company Cuadrilla lodged the first of their appeals against Lancashire County Council’s refusal of permission to test frack at sites close to Little Plumpton and Roseacre.
Protestors are angry that Cuadrilla have chosen to appeal the decision to refuse a series of monitoring stations at Preston New Road and against conditions imposed on a similar bid which was granted by LCC at Roseacre.
They are hoping to raise an initial £45,000 to pay for legal representation via their website and are organising concerts, auctions and community events.
Alan Tootill, speaking for the group, said: “A nationally-important major planning inquiry will require major funding. The semi-legal status means we need to use a top-quality senior legal team as well as experienced technical experts to fight our case.
“A small community like ours has managed well so far. Our huge efforts at Lancashire County Council were rewarded by a hard-won victory. But now we are calling for more support from the wider community. We need to step up our game.
“The result of the PNR appeal will act as a trailblazer for all England. A win will set a major precedent in protecting other sites. So now we are seeking support from individuals and various potential funding bodies to make sure we present the best case possible. It is not just our local community, but much of the country which we shall be defending.”
Claire Stephenson, from the group, said the unusual speed with which the Inspectorate had processed and validated Cuadrilla’s appeal showed how the government’s announced promise to speed up fracking permissions was already having impact.
Objectors to Cuadrilla’s appeal will have only a short time - just over two weeks - to study the grounds for Cuadrilla’s appeal and form their own representation.
She said: “It is a nonsense that we should have to fight this appeal first. Without permission for fracking these installations are not necessary.
“The main appeal should have been made as a priority. We can only assume this is part of Cuadrilla’s tactical game to overturn all Lancashire County Council’s decisions against them.”