Legal challenge to fracking decision

Campaigners have launched a legal challenge against the Government's decision to allow fracking to go ahead in Lancashire.
Francis EganFrancis Egan
Francis Egan

Lawyers for the Preston New Road Action Group, Leigh Day, have written to the Secretary of State for Local Government.

They argue that his decision to overrule Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission for fracking, Lancashire, was unlawful and was fundamentally flawed in its misapplication of planning laws and policy.

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It is also claimed that the Government did not properly consider the disproportionate effect that fracking on the site would have on vulnerable residents such as the elderly and school children nearby.

In June 2015, Lancashire County Council refused planning permission to gas exploration company Cuadrilla to use a site off Preston New Road near Little Plumpton for fracking. However, the company appealed and their appeal was upheld by the Sajid Javid on October 6. The letter before action from Leigh Day requests that the Government reconsiders its decision.

If the government refuses then the group will consider bringing a statutory challenge under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against the decision.

Rowan Smith, of law firm Leigh Day, said: “The decision appears to have been taken in breach of the Council’s development plan, which restricts these types of developments, as well as contrary to the correct planning law tests.”

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Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla said: “Clearly this is a matter for the Government to respond directly on. However after an extraordinary thorough assessment this application was recommended for approval by the county council planning department.

“The planning inspector recommended approval and the Secretary of State came to his decision on giving planning consent. PNRAG are of course entitled to disagree and follow their democratic right to question the decision.”