Anti-frack campaigners lose their High Court action

Anti-fracking protesters including Gayzer Frackman outside County Hall
Anti-fracking protesters including Gayzer Frackman outside County Hall
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Campaigners fighting a Government decision to give the go-ahead for a fracking site in Lancashire have lost their High Court action.

The Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) and campaigner Gayzer Frackman had made a legal challenge, saying that the planning application for the site in Fylde was not fair or lawful.

Read the reaction to today’s result here

At a hearing at Manchester Civil Justice Centre last month, Mr Justice Dove was told that 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 last October by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

David Wolfe QC, on behalf of PNRAG, told the judge that the action group was “wrong-footed” because a planning inspector’s decision to approve the site was based on an argument made after their closing submissions at the inquiry, when the group’s advocate was not present.

He said the 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.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and developer Cuadrilla were represented at the hearing, but the court was told Lancashire County Council was not taking part in the proceedings.

After the week-long hearing in Manchester, Mr Justice Dove adjourned to consider his decision.

He has this morning announced that he will now be allowing the challenge.