Councillors to decide on fracking

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Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Councillors will decide today on whether to give the green light to fracking for shale gas in Lancashire.

Energy firm Cuadrilla wants to develop two new sites between Preston and Blackpool to explore for shale gas by drilling, fracking and testing the flow of gas.

A report from Lancashire County Council planning officials recommended that one of the sites – at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton – be passed subject to a number of conditions being met such as hours of working, control of noise and highway matters.

Fracking was suspended in the UK in 2011 following earth tremors in Blackpool where Cuadrilla previously drilled.

Yesterday, about 70 speakers – both for and against the Preston New Road proposal – argued their case before the 15 members of the council’s development control committee.

That committee will debate the issues today in public at County Hall, Preston, before voting.

Passing the application would enable fracking at the site following drilling at up to four exploration wells but a separate application would be required if Cuadrilla wished to progress to commercial fracking.

Committee members will also meet tomorrow and Friday to rule on plans by Cuadrilla for a second site at Roseacre Wood, Roseacre.

Planning officials recommended that application be turned down because of the increase in traffic which would result in ”an unacceptable impact” on rural roads and reduce road safety.

The Government is pushing for the development of a shale gas industry in the UK, claiming it would create jobs and growth, reduce energy prices and cut the country’s reliance on gas imports.

Opponents have raised fears that the process causes earthquakes, can pollute water supplies, and could lead to inappropriate development in the countryside and damage house prices.

Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure underground to fracture shale rock and release the gas trapped in it.

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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