Fracking site decision delayed

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A decision on a proposed fracking site has been put back to next year.

Lancashire County Council had been due to vote on energy firm Cuadrilla’s application Preston New Road at Little Plumpton by the end of December.

However, council chiefs said today more time was needed for consultation on the proposal.

Councillors will now determine the application, along with another for Roseacre Wood, by January 31 next year - with drilling likely to start several months later if approved and the fracking to follow.

In a statement, the council said: “The planners have been working since the applications were received in June to consult with the public and other statutory agencies, and assess the applications, to ensure all the information needed to determine them is put before the development control committee.

“As part of this process, further information on both sites has been provided by Cuadrilla. Lancashire County Council will hold a further consultation to allow for representations on the further information to be made.

“The new determination date for the Preston New Road site will allow time for any representations on the further information for both sites to be considered and addressed.”

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “We have accepted LCC’s request for its third extension to the determination period for Preston New Road. We understand the requirement for a further period of consultation following further clarification and signposting we provided regarding information in our thorough Environmental Statements that accompanied both of our planning applications. We are look forward to a final determination for both applications in January 2015.”

Environmental groups opposed to fracking say they have collected tens of thousands of objection letters against proposals at the two sites.