Lancashire county council has rejected a planning application by shale gas explorer Cuadrilla to frack in the county
Hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners outside the council’s town hall in Preston, gave a huge roar of approval when the verdict was announced.
Senior Friends of the Earth campaigner Liz Hutchins, spoke from outside the town hall where saying that the atmosphere was “absolutely electric” and a “massive celebration.”
“This is a bigger win than anyone was expecting, it shows the huge strength of feeling here. There was no way councillors could go against feelings of local people. This is a real blow for Cuadrilla and government.”
Greenpeace UK energy and climate campaigner Daisy Sands said the decision was “a Waterloo for the fracking industry” and a “triumph for local democracy”.
She said: “Their decision sends a powerful signal to other councils that the fracking juggernaut can indeed be stopped.”
On Thursday the county council’s Development Control Committee also refused Cuadrilla’s application to drill for shale gas in the local Roseacre Wood area.
The Guardian reports:
The surprise rejection regards a site at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton on the Fylde, where Cuadrilla had hoped to drill four wells and undertake exploratory fracking for shale gas.
Nine of the councillors on the 14-strong development control committee voted in favour of a motion to reject the application on grounds of visual impact and unacceptable noise, and also rejected a related application for an array to monitor seismic activity.
The long-delayed decision by councillors follows their rejection last week of a bid by Cuadrilla to frack at another site, Roseacre Wood, between Preston and Blackpool. The Roseacre Wood application was rejected on the grounds of the impact it would have on traffic, rather than the safety or visual impact of the fracking itself.
Planning officers had earlier this month recommended the council reject Roseacre Wood but approve Preston New Road.
Councillors said the grounds for refusing the application for a monitoring array at Preston New Road was that it ran contrary to planning policy EP11, in the respect that “the cumulative effect of the proposal would lead to the industrialisation of the countryside and adversely affect the landscape character”
They were earlier told that rejections were likely to be appealed by Cuadrilla, which is the only company to have fracked in the UK to date. In a statement, the company said it was “surprised and disappointed” at the decision, and it remained committed to extracting shale gas in Lancashire.
“We will now take time to consider our options regarding an appeal for Preston New Road, along with also considering appeals for the planning applications recently turned down, against officer advice, for monitoring and site restoration at Grange Hill, and last week’s decision to refuse the Roseacre Wood application,” the statement said.