Row over new fracking legal challenge

Cuadrilla's fracking rig at Preston New Road
Cuadrilla's fracking rig at Preston New Road
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Supporters of the shale gas industry in Lancashire have hit out at environmentalists Friends of the Earth.

The green group said it will seek a Judicial Review of the Environment Agency’s decision to grant Cuadrilla a range of environmental permits for its Preston New Road site near Little Plumpton.

It says the Environment Agency has a duty to ensure that the best available techniques are used by the fracking industry but failed to require Cuadrilla to use a better technique for dealing with waste fluids generated – known as flowback – rather than just tankering it away.

But Lancashire For Shale said: “This is just the latest in a long line of stunts designed to delay progress on the basis of yet another spurious claim, and an outrageous waste of taxpayer’s money considering that the Environment Agency, a public body, may now have to incur significant legal expenses to defend this action.

“Lancashire’s economy has already benefited to the tune of almost £9m in supply chain spending since Cuadrilla relocated to Preston and operations began. People and businesses will be rightly furious to learn that Friends of the Earth is trying to deny them further jobs and contracting opportunities with this eleventh-hour legal manoeuvre.

“If it were seriously concerned that the regulator had not followed due process when determining Cuadrilla’s environmental permits, it would have launched this challenge when those permits were first granted in 2015. The fact it has waited until now is a clear sign that it is just gaming the legal system.”