Cuadrilla announces appeal


Cuadrilla Resources has today announced it is to appeal against the refusal of its plans to drill, frack and test the gas flow at two temporary exploration sites in Lancashire.


The move, which has been widely anticipated, will now mean its proposals will be considered by the Planning Inspectorate.

A Planning Inspector will review all aspects of the applications and the decision-making process to determine whether or not the original decisions should be upheld or overturned.

It is likely to be a lengthy process, during which the Planning Inspector will be able to take evidence from interested parties, either in writing or orally, including from local residents and campaigners opposed to the development.

Representing SMEs in the existing onshore oil and gas supply chain, Lee Petts, chief executive of the Onshore Energy Services Group, welcomed the announcement: “Whilst empathising with residents living nearest to the two sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood that will doubtless be disappointed by this latest development, job creating small companies in Lancashire and beyond – that depend on this sector to varying degrees – will be pleased that there is still hope a shale gas industry could develop here in the future.

“Right now, the continuing delays are disproportionately impacting British supply chain SMEs, with a number of them being forced to make cut-backs, including among skilled staff.

“Shale gas has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs, but we mustn’t lose sight of the jobs already supported by the onshore oil and gas industry, and the effect it can have on families when the main breadwinner suddenly finds themselves out of work for no fault of their own.”

In making today’s announcement, Francis Egan, chief executive at Cuadrilla Resources, said: “We have given careful consideration to appeal the planning decisions taken by Lancashire County Council. This is a natural step in the democratic process for deciding any planning application.

“We recognise that onshore shale gas exploration still feels relatively new in the UK and we remain committed to engaging with local communities to reassure them that exploratory operations can and will be carried out safely and in an environmentally responsible way. I understand that some people would prefer that we did not appeal but I am confident that we will demonstrate to Lancashire and the UK that shale gas exploration and fracking is not only safe but represents a very real opportunity to create jobs, fuel businesses, heat UK homes and stimulate significant local economic growth.”

Planning appeals are very common.

According to the Planning Inspectorate Appeals Casework Portal, there are currently 7 active planning appeals relating to applications considered by Lancashire County Council, 250 appeals relating to West Lancashire Borough Council, 172 appeals relating to decisions taken by Lancaster City Council and a further 195 appeals being considered in relation to decisions taken by Fylde Borough Council.

This guest blog addresses the place of appeals in democratic decision-making.

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