Cuadrilla to appeal UK local council decision to reject shale gas exploration plan

A Cuadrilla onshore shale gas site - aerial view
A Cuadrilla onshore shale gas site – aerial view

UK natural resources energy company Cuadrilla is to appeal against a local council decision to refuse planning consent for two applications for temporary shale gas exploration sites.

The applications sought planning permission to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells on each of two sites, one at Preston New Road and the other at Roseacre Wood near Blackpool

Cuadrilla will also appeal the refusal of a separate planning application to install seismic and ground water monitoring stations around the proposed Preston New Road exploration site.

A similar planning application was granted for monitoring works around the proposed Roseacre Wood exploration site. Cuadrilla will also appeal against certain conditions imposed on this planning consent.

Lancashire cooncil ** planning officials had recommended approval of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road exploration site application and was very clear that the proposals were acceptable on all environmental and planning grounds. This includes the officer’s conclusions that the proposals were acceptable in relation to noise and visual impacts, which were the reasons given for the refusal of the application by the Committee.

The monitoring applications for both Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood were also recommended for approval by the planning officer.

The planning officer had recommended refusal of the Roseacre Wood exploration site on traffic grounds and it was refused solely on those grounds. We will review the proposed traffic routing for Roseacre Wood in preparing our appeal. Our preferred route remains a two way route running to and from the A583 at the Clifton junction to the south of the Roseacre Wood exploration site and utilising a route through the Ministry of Defences’ Inskip site, bypassing local villages.

Francis Egan, Chief Executive, Cuadrilla, said: “We have given careful consideration to appeal the planning decisions taken by the council. This is a natural step in the democratic process for deciding any planning application.

“We recognise that onshore shale gas exploration still ‘feels’ relatively new in the UK and we remain committed to engaging with local communities to reassure them that exploratory operations can and will be carried out safely and in an environmentally responsible way.

“I understand that some people would prefer that we did not appeal but I am confident that we will demonstrate to Lancashire and the UK that shale gas exploration and fracking is not only safe but represents a very real opportunity to create jobs, fuel businesses, heat UK homes and stimulate significant local economic growth.”

 The monitoring works appeals will be submitted within the next week. The shale gas exploration site appeals will follow in due course.

Commenting on Cuadrilla’s decision to appeal against the panning decision on its Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road applications, Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKOOG – the industry association for the onshore UK oil and gas energy sector – said:

“We welcome Cuadrilla’s decision to appeal against the planning decisions at both of its sites in Fylde. These appeals are a normal part of the planning process in the UK.”

COMMENT:

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Let’s get the fracking facts right in national debatehttp://goo.gl/1oFyZ0

The Cuadrilla/Blackpool shale gas exploration applications are being keenly watched by the entire UK energy sector in both Scotland and England.

Although planning laws in England have a different, and separate, appellate architecture from Scotland, UK Town and Country planning acts generally have ‘mirror laws’ in both jurisdictions.

And while not precedential or mutually binding in Scot-law,  the outcome of the Cuadrilla/ Blackpool share gas appeals will have highly ‘persuasive’ legal authority in Scotland – irrespective of the substantive planning appeal issues.

They will also generate massive ‘commercial momentum’ in favour of development if upheld

** ‘Cooncil’ is the Scots language word for ‘council’ and is not pejorative. Scottish Energy News recognises multi-cultural and multi-lingual diversity and plurality across and within the UK.

 Dictionar o’ the Scots Leid  / Dictionary of the Scots Language – http://goo.gl/7xo5Bk

 

 

 

 

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