As council rejects fracking bids county
fears Government may still back shale.
Don’t overrule our local decision – that is the message to the Government from Fylde residents after the second of two bids to frack in the county was rejected by Lancashire County Council.
People living close to the two proposed sites that energy company Cuadrilla wants to test frack to see if gas can be extracted, said they were overjoyed that councillors went against the advice of their planning officers to reject the bids.
But they said they were preparing for Cuardilla to appeal and feared the Government may get involved as it has previously stated it was going to “go all out for shale.
Ministers have publicly backed the development of shale gas in the UK, in the hope that it could replicate the shale boom in the US, boost jobs and the economy, bring down energy prices and make the country less reliant on foreign imports.
But opponents have raised fears that the process of extracting gas by hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – causes earthquakes, can pollute water supplies, could lead to inappropriate development in the countryside and damage house prices.
I think the Government will try to make fracking a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project which will take it out of the planning system. If they try to railroad it through then people will fight it and hope to bring down the Government
Fylde’s Conservative MP Mark Menzies today said that the decisions should be upheld and that he believed in localism when it came to making planning decisions.
Pat Davies, from the Preston New Road Action Group, said the residents would be having a meeting on Thursday to regroup and discuss the issue.
She said: “We will be prepared for any appeal. We have presented strong, robust evidence on visual impact and noise grounds which the councillors have accepted and on other grounds which we believe is compelling and which should mean that this application should not go ahead on appeal.
“The councillors have made a decision based on local issues and it should not be overruled by the Government.”
Bob Dennett, from Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, said while the residents were elated at the decision, many were now concerned that the Government, which has been overt in its support of a shale gas industry, will intervene to make it happen in Lancashire.
He said: “I am sure Cuadrilla will go to the secretary of state which will trigger a public enquiry so we have to get all our ducks in a row for that.
“I think the Government will try to make fracking a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project which will take it out of the planning system. If they try to railroad it through then people will fight it and hope to bring down the Government.”