Lancashire County Council rejects Little Plumpton fracking plans
Lancashire County Council has voted to reject Cuadrilla's planning application for the second proposed fracking site in Little Plumpton.
Following the rejection of plans for the Roseacre Wood site last week, nine councillors voted against the proposal, with two councillors abstaining and only three in favour of Cuadrilla Energy's plans.The applications relating to the Preston New Road site were scheduled to be decided at meetings which took place last week on 23 and 24 June, with council members moving to delay the decision until 10 am this morning.
County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, and member of the Development Control Committee, said: "This is one of the biggest planning decisions ever put before Lancashire County Council."The development control committee has listened very carefully to many hours of evidence both for and against the proposal, and considered the report of the council's planning officers.
"The decision to refuse this application has been reached by a vote of the committee, which is composed of elected councillors, and each member of the committee has ultimately cast their vote based on the evidence they have heard and whether they think the proposal is acceptable in planning terms, and to the people they represent."The move is another major blow for the energy firm, as well as the Government's plans for a UK shale gas industry.
A statement from Cuadrilla read: “We are surprised and disappointed that Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee has denied planning consent for our application to explore for shale gas at Preston New Road, particularly as their decision follows a positive recommendation by the Council’s Planning Officers."We remain committed to the responsible exploration of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath 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 practice of fracking has proven controversial and the County Council’s Development Control Committee meetings in Preston have attracted protesters as well as a letter signed by 850 elected officials from New York State urging Lancashire County Council to reject all applications on the grounds that it is “dirty and dangerous”.