Legal battle continues in bid to overturn Lancashire fracking approval

Campaigners fighting to overturn a Government decision to approve a fracking site in Lancashire are back in court next week for the latest round of their legal battle.

Saturday, 26th August 2017, 12:03 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:34 pm
A legal challenge against the decision to allow Cuadrilla to drill for shale gas in Lancashire goes back before the courts next week

Their case will be heard by Court of Appeal judges in London on Wednesday following a defeat at the High Court earlier this year.

The appeal follows a decision in April by Mr Justice Dove to dismiss judicial review actions brought by environmental campaigner Gayzer Frackman and the Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG).

They had urged the judge to rule that the decision to grant a planning application for the site in Fylde was not fair or lawful.

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Mr Justice Dove was told the planning application by developer Cuadrilla was refused by Lancashire County Council in 2015, but later granted following an appeal and a planning inquiry.

The scheme was given the go-ahead in October by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

Campaigners will now continue their fight at a two-day hearing before leading judges.

During the High Court proceedings in Manchester, Mr Frackman's lawyers told Mr Justice Dove that the site would lead to a 'considerable quantity of greenhouse gas emissions'.

On behalf of PNRAG it was argued that a planning inspector's decision that the site would not have a significant impact on the landscape because it was only granted permission for a temporary period was not lawful and breached the council's development plan.

Mr Frackman, from Blackpool, said in a statement relating to the Court of Appeal action: "This legal challenge tests the Government's 'drill first, ask questions later' approach to fracking.

"The Government must be held to account for failing to protect UK citizens from the health impacts of fracking and the untold damage it will cause to our environment, our climate, and those living near the site in Lancashire."

Estelle Dehon, environmental law barrister at Cornerstone Barristers, who is part of the legal team representing Mr Frackman, said: "This action is being taken on the basis that Cuadrilla and the Government did not fully assess the impact of greenhouse gas emissions that will be generated by the fracking operation over the next six years, contrary to the environmental impact assessment regulations.

"The appeal also questions whether it was safe for the Government to grant permission in the absence of a robust regulatory system, despite uncontroverted evidence of the health impacts of fracking.

"We will also be making the case that Cuadrilla's so-called exploratory fracking is in fact full scale shale gas production in disguise."