Fracking ruling expected today

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Published: Monday 29th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Councillors are finally expected to rule today whether fracking can go ahead in Lancashire.

Energy firm Cuadrilla wants to explore for shale gas by drilling, hydraulically fracking and testing the flow of gas at site near Little Plumpton between Preston and Blackpool.

Planning officers have recommended the plans should be passed subject to a number of conditions being met such as controlling time limits, hours of working, control of noise and highway matters.

The decision on the Preston New Road site was deferred from last week as councillors wanted to review legal advice which warned that rejecting the application because of its visual and landscape impacts would be “unreasonable” in planning terms.

Members of the county council’s development control committee say they have been under “intolerable pressure” in having the final say over the controversial process of releasing gas.

On Thursday, they voted in line with recommendations by planning officials that a second application by Cuadrilla at Roseacre, near Preston, should be turned down because it would cause an increase in traffic.

The Government has said it is going “all out for shale”, claiming it would create jobs and growth, reduce energy prices and cut the country’s reliance on gas imports.

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

Environmental campaigners and local opponents of fracking have been protesting outside County Hall in Preston, calling for councillors to reject the proposals.

Cuadrilla would need to re-apply for permission to commercially frack for shale gas.

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: Monday 29th June 2015 by The News Editor

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