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Fracking in Lancashire given go-ahead by government

Shale gas drilling looks set to go ahead in the north west after Sajid Javid, the communities and local government secretary, overruled a decision by Lancashire County Council to reject plans for a fracking site in the area.

Last June, the council rejected two applications from energy company Cuadrilla to engage in the controversial gas extraction process, following widespread campaigning by local groups.

However, the company then appealed against the decision to the government. Today, Javid announced he had upheld the appeal at one of the sites, Preston New Road.

The minister said he would defer a decision on the second site, at Roseacre Wood, to give Cuadrilla more time to provide evidence on road traffic issues.

Pat Davies, chair of Preston New Road Action Group, said: “This is a sad day as it is clear to all that this government neither listens, nor can it be trusted, to do the right thing for local communities. It is deplorable that an industry that has been rejected on every level has inflicted itself on Preston New Road.”

Environmental campaigners warn that fracking increases local pollution, traffic and noise levels, as well as encouraging fossil fuel use and contributing to climate change.

Hannah Martin, a Greenpeace campaigner, said: “This fudged decision shows the government is struggling to force fracking on a reluctant nation. Fracking will put our countryside and air quality at risk.

“Digging up more fossil fuels that we can’t burn if we are to honour the international agreement we signed in Paris and is coming into force next month makes little economic or environmental sense.”

The decision comes after North Yorkshire County Council approved a fracking application in May.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “We are very pleased that we can now move ahead with our shale gas exploration plans which will start to create new economic growth opportunities and jobs for people in Lancashire and the UK.”

A spokesperson for the government said: “The communities secretary has today allowed three planning appeals [two for seismic monitoring equipment] related to two proposed shale gas exploration and monitoring sites in Lancashire.

“The decisions follow extensive consideration of all the evidence, including an independent planning inspector’s report and evidence submitted during a two week public inquiry.”

(Image: anti-fracking protestors outside Preston County Hall last year, c. Peter Byrne from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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Rebecca   06/10/2016 at 14:08

This is so typical of this government - run rough-shod over environmental issues for instant profit making regardless of the long term costs to the planet and future generations. Shameful behaviour for which, no doubt, the rest of us will have to pay dearly. And indicative of their approach to every aspect of our lives.

Peter   07/10/2016 at 09:41

I wonder if the Government will be so keen to impose Fracking in Oxfordshire or Surrey?

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