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Fracking views set to be finalised

Energy: A fracking site

Energy: A fracking site

A decision about Preston’s stance on fracking is a step closer following a Town Hall meeting.

Members of the environment scrutiny panel met to hear representations on shale gas extraction.

Although the decision will eventually lie with Lancashire County Council, members of the city council are determined to “send signals” of their views.

Councillors were addressed by representatives from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Chairman Coun Nicholas Pomfret said he was “reassured” by what he had heard from the HSE.

He said: “The representative, Neil McInroy, from CLES, indicated that there could be between 300 and 600 direct jobs, but it’s all hypothetical at this stage because it’s in its infancy. You’ve got to remember that drilling opportunities are specialist skills and they may bring with them people from other parts of the country or the world.

“Initially it might not necessarily benefit local people. But it’s when it’s up and running that it starts to have a knock-on effect on the local economy and local people.

“The HSE representative, Jim Neilson, was informative and, as far as I’m concerned, it sounded like they are doing a stringent job regulating the drilling.”

Coun Pomfret added Lancashire County Council would have to give permission for fracking to take place, but said the committee of the city council will meet in January to decide their position.

He said: “Even though we can’t control it, whatever conclusion we come to will send signals, positive or negative.”

 

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