Anti-fracking campaigners have lost their latest legal challenge against onshore oil and gas exploration in England at the Cuadrilla Energy site in Lancashire.
Cuadrilla started initial surface construction works on its shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton after planning consent was granted in October 2016 when Lancashire County Council discharged the planning conditions and approved Cuadrilla’s associated management plans for the works.
Commenting on the English High Court decision – which has no writ in Scotland, where the minority SNP government has imposed a ‘temporary’ ban on fracking – Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Energy and Climate at WWF said:
“This government is keen on people having the final say on wind farms, but not so much when it comes to fracking.
“This decision clearly flies in the face of the will of local people in Lancashire. Their voices have been loud and clear on this issue – that unconventional oil and gas are neither good for people nor the planet – and this view has been woefully ignored. Rather than fracking, the UK Government needs to focus investment in innovative, low carbon technologies to provide for our energy needs.
“They really have to set out how we will reach the UK’s emissions targets – they need to publish their plan to reduce emissions. Fracking will not help us reach these carbon targets – in fact, it hinders it, by opening up a new source of fossil fuels when what we most need to do is leave most of the world’s remaining gas, coal and oil in the ground.”
Francis Egan, Chief Executive of Cuadrilla, said: “We are very pleased that the planning inspector’s recommendation and the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning consent has been upheld by the High Court.
“We respect the democratic right of those opposed to this consent to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision. However, we always remained confident that that the planning consent would stand, particularly after such a lengthy and thorough review of the application and positive recommendations for approval by both the professional planning officers at Lancashire County Council and subsequently an experienced planning inspector.
“This is great news for all those local businesses and workers in Lancashire that are currently and will in the future be benefiting from the increased revenue and job opportunities that our operations are bringing to the county. Work continues on the construction of the exploration site and we look forwards to progressing to the drilling stage of our operations within the next couple of months.”
The Scot-Govt. imposed a ‘temporary’ ban on fracking for shale gas in Scotland in Jan 2015.
See also: 11 Apr 2016
Scottish Energy Minister’s superstition-driven decision-making on fracking helps no one