Go ahead for Preston New Road fracking test near Blackpool

Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan
Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan
Have your say

Chief executive officer of shale gas exploration company Cuadrilla, Francis Egan said today they were pleased that its scheme for Preston New Road had been given the nod by the planning officers and disappointed over the recommendation fro refusal at Roseacre.

He said the company would be putting their case to councillors next week in a bid to get both schemes approved.

He said Cuadrilla got final approval from the councillors of the Development Control Committee, they would then have to work through the extensive conditions applied to their applications before any work could begin and fracking would not take place until next year at the earilest.

He said: “We are obviously pleased to see the recommendation for approval. Last time round it was negative over a single issue, that of night time noise.

“We have since put a lot effort in addressing those concerns and now we have to wait to see what the councillors decide.

“It was not a trivial issue to reduce the noise levels, a significant sum of money will have to be spent to reduce the decibel level from 42 to 39 decibels which might not sound a lot but the scale is such that it will be very very quiet.

“The officers considered in detail all the other issues surrounding that application and had their own experts.

“Noise and traffic were the problem issues last time at the Roseacre site and we have successfully addressed the noise issue. So we are disappointed that it has been recommended for refusal again.

“For our application at Roseacre Wood we supplied additional information regarding traffic routes which we and our expert advisers believe addressed issues which were raised in the Officer’s report in January.

“While we remain confident that our original proposed route was adequate, the alternative route suggested also met with all necessary guidelines in our view.

“We believe that the traffic issues are manageable and will be putting our case to the councillors.

“It would mean on average five trucks a day over the two year period with a peak of 25 trucks a day for a week. There would only be six periods of peak activity over the two years so we think it would be manageable.

“It is fair to say that for any planning decision the normal thing is to follow the officers’ recommendations but as we have seen at our Grange Hill site recently this is not always the case.

“ The councillors will make up their own minds.

“We do have the opportunity to put our case to the councillors next week.

“If we did get the go-ahead from the councillors we would then have to work through all the planning conditions they set, and at the moment the officers report is 800 pages, and we would have to complete all those conditions , for example on noise and traffic, and then get them all signed off by the council.

“Following that we will have to get on site and prepare. So we would hope to be drilling by the end of this year but there will be no fracking until next year at the earliest.