Published: Friday, 19th June 2015
Lancashire County Council planners have recommended that test fracking should be allowed at one of two sites on the Fylde coast.
This follows applications from energy company Cuadrilla to use fracking to extract shale gas at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood.
The application for Little Plumpton has been recommended for approval. Roseacre Wood has been recommended for refusal because of the impact on road safety caused by increased lorry traffic.
If approved it would be the first time a planning authority has backed an application to frack, drill and test flow the gas and the first fracking since tests near Blackpool in 2011 which caused small earth tremors.
In a separate but related development, the Environment Agency is consulting on environmental permits to allow Third Energy to carry out test-fracking at a site near the village of Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. A planning application is due to be submitted to the county council shortly.
Meanwhile, the government has denied that fracking applications will receive less environmental scrutiny from the public following proposals from the Environment Agency to introduce standardised testing for both conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells.
In a joint statement from the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Environment Agency, the government insisted: “The process for operators to apply for a fracking permit has not changed. Any operator wanting to undertake fracking needs to apply for an environmental permit, conduct an environmental impact assessment and apply for planning permission. This is open to full public consultation.”