Council says no to fracking on the Fylde

Fracking: Fylde Council has agreed to object to two applications to drill shale gas in the area
Fracking: Fylde Council has agreed to object to two applications to drill shale gas in the area
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The countryside around the Fylde is not the right place for an industrial process.

That was the message as councillors met to consider six planning applications related to shale gas production.

Fylde Council’s development management committee voted to object to fracking for shale gas at Plumpton Hall Farm, Preston New Road, Westby, and at Roseacre Hall Farm, near Treales.

But they agreed not to object to monitoring operations at Grange Road at Singleton and at Plumpton Hall Farm.

Lancashire County Council will make the final decision, but the views of Fylde Council will be considered as part of the consultation process.

Parents, pensioners and landowners were among 45 members of the public who addressed the committee during yesterday’s hearing.

Concerns over loss of agricultural land, damage to tourism, threats to health, additional traffic and risks to wildlife were all raised by speakers.

But representatives of applicant Cuadrilla said the economic benefits of fracking outweighed concerns.

Graham Daniels, of Carr Bridge Park which is made up of 169 park homes close to the Preston New look Road site, said: “I moved here eight years ago after retiring to an area whose attractions are its peace and tranquillity.

“The noise from this will destroy the environment. The overwhelming majority of residents do not want this.”

Patricia Davies, chairman of the Preston New Road Action Group, of Foxwood Close, said people lived less than 1km from the site and warned their lives would be disrupted.

In a statement read out on her behalf, she said: “All these homes and properties would be adversely affected by fracking. In Australia, these sites are not allowed within two kilometres of family homes, that’s for a reason of safety. “

The committee agreed it should object to the drilling process on the grounds it was contrary to planning policies designed to protect the countryside. These included noise disruption in relation to the Preston New Road site and traffic at the Roseacre site.

But Mark Smith of engineering consultants Arup, representing the applicant Cuadrilla at the hearing, said: “We believe our proposals fully accord with national policy. The benefits in our view clearly outweigh the environmental impact.

He added: “This is an opportunity to drive up job creation and economic opportunity within the Fylde.”