HOLD THE CHAMPAGNE: Cuadrilla consider appeal against fracking verdict

VICTORY: Anti-fracking protesters outside County Hall in Preston

VICTORY: Anti-fracking protesters outside County Hall in Preston

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Villagers who fought to protect their country lanes from fracking wagons were refusing to celebrate too loudly today, despite a County Hall decision to reject shale gas drilling to the north-west of Preston.

Exploration company Cuadrilla has revealed it is considering an appeal against the Roseacre Wood verdict – a decision that could take them up to six months.

If there is to be an appeal then we are ready to fight the good fight again if our residents want us to,

Coun Simon Morgan

And while residents along the proposed route of the HGVs admit they are “very pleased” the application was thrown out by the county’s development control committee, many are cautious there could still be a turn-around.

“If there is to be an appeal then we are ready to fight the good fight again if our residents want us to,” said Coun Simon Morgan, chairman of the Woodplumpton Parish Council. “We are obviously very pleased that county councillors have supported the residents in this.

“Safety has always been our utmost concern and this plan involved a totally inappropriate use of the roads around here by heavy goods vehicles. Fortunately they have listened to us and how we feel.”

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said his company would now “go away and look at the planning decision and then decide what action to take.” The company has up to six months to lodge an appeal and Mr Egan admitted it was likely to take a matter of weeks before a decision is made.

Melanie Smith, who lives in Roseacre Road, said concerns still remained. “The Government is going to get involved – it is all show,” she said. “The councillors are doing what they think the people of Lancashire want to hear.”

Jacqui Sylvester, 72, also of Roseacre Road, added: “It feels like an empty victory.”