Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners have said they will fight on against shale gas despite a vote in Yorkshire to allow the controversial process to go ahead at one site.
County councillors in North Yorkshire granted permission on Monday for Third Energy to frack at a site near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.
Lancashire County Council refused an application by the firm Cuadrilla to frack at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood, near Blackpool, but the company appealed, triggering a six-week public inquiry. The final report is due to be handed to Communities Secretary Greg Clark in July. He will then make a decision later this year.
Claire Stephenson from the Preston New Road Action Group said today: “The Preston New Road group is deeply disappointed with the decision by North Yorkshire County Council.
“The Conservative-majority planning committee struggled to understand the many flaws in the application in front of them, even referring to the flowback fluid as ‘blowback’.
“It was painful to watch. The Third Energy fracking application was a somewhat easier option to pass than here on the Fylde, as there has already been conventional drilling carried out at the well site.
“The decision in Yorkshire is a clear indication that the UK’s vested-interests government is determined to force fracking onto unwilling communities. The membership number in anti-fracking groups across the country increased last night, following the decision.”
Helen Rimmer, from North West Friends of the Earth said: “Communities have no right to appeal planning decisions. However, it is possible to seek judicial review of the decision in North Yorkshire and Friends of the Earth, working closely with local communities, will consider the detail of yesterday’s decision carefully with a view to deciding how best to proceed. As with Cuadrilla’s planning applications in the Fylde, there is huge local opposition – over 99 per cent of responses to the plans were objections, including from the district council.”
But the decision has been welcomed by business groups.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce welcomed the decision and said: “This decision is on course to set a precedent not just for Yorkshire but for the whole of the UK. It will provide secure, homegrown energy to hard-working families and businesses for decades to come and will release significant economic benefits for a for large number of businesses, workers and families across the country”.