Report Backs Fracking Ban at Lancashire Sites
A week before local councillors are due to make a decision on two applications by energy firm Cuadrilla to drill for shale gas at sites in Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood in Lancashire, planning officers have recommended that both should be refused.
The applications are the first since fracking was thought to have caused two earth tremors near Blackpool four years ago. In a report to councillors, officials say that both sites would breach existing policies: “It has not been satisfactorily demonstrated that noise impacts would be reduced to acceptable levels and would therefore unnecessarily and unacceptably result in harm to the amenity of neighbouring properties by way of noise pollution”. It was also felt that traffic would have “an unacceptable impact on the rural highway and on existing road users” at Roseacre Wood, 20 miles north of Preston.
Despite recommending refusal of the applications, the report said that impacts on air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, landscape, water resources and seismic movements at both sites were low or could be controlled. Lancashire County Councillors will now make a decision at a meeting of the Development Control Committee on January 28th. If both applications are refused, it is unlikely that any fracking will now take place in the UK during 2015.
In June 2012, a government-commissioned report concluded that fracking was safe if adequately monitored.