Applause as fracking plan thrown out in Lancashire

Anti-fracking signs in the village of Little Plumpton, Lancashire
Anti-fracking signs in the village of Little Plumpton, Lancashire
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COUNTY councillors have turned down plans to frack for shale gas in Lancashire.

Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to undertake exploratory drilling and fracking at a site in Little Plumpton, between Preston and Blackpool.

Planning officials recommended approval of the operation subject to a number of conditions but councillors have rejected the advice and voted against.

Members of the council’s development control committee voted 10-4 to reject the application.

It followed a motion passed by the committee that it should be turned down because it would cause an unacceptable impact on the landscape, visual amenities and noise.

Members of the public including residents living near to the proposed site stood up and applauded the committee when the motion was passed.

Cuadrilla had wanted to frack and test the flow of gas at the site following drilling at up to four exploration wells.

The Government has said it is going “all out for shale”, claiming it would create jobs and growth, reduce energy prices and cut the country’s reliance on gas imports.

But opponents have raised fears that the process causes earthquakes, can pollute water supplies, could lead to inappropriate development in the countryside and damage house prices.

Environmental campaigners and local opponents of fracking had been protesting outside County Hall in Preston, calling for councillors to reject the proposals.

Hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure underground to fracture shale rock and release the gas trapped in it.

In Yorkshire, extraction firm Third Energy is applying for permission to frack at a site in Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale.

More than 1,000 local residents have urged North Yorkshire County Council to prevent energy companies fracking in the district. Their petition calls on the authority to “oppose fracking and all other forms of unconventional fossil fuel extraction in North Yorkshire, and that this anti-fracking position should be reflected in all decisions relating to mineral planning applications in North Yorkshire”