Fracking: Doubt cast over house price impact

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Campaigners have questioned claims that fracking would have no impact on house prices if energy firm Cuadrilla is given the go ahead to drill in Lancashire.

A new report, commissioned by the pro-fracking North West Energy Task Force, looked at thousands of transactions close to two onshore gas sites – at Preese Hall and Elswick – and compared them to the rest of Lancashire.

The study found “no clear evidence” that drilling at either site had an impact on property prices.

The research, carried out by property consultants JLL, looked at transactions within three miles of the two sites where gas had already been extracted – but where fracking is no longer taking place.

Cuadrilla, which hopes to frack at two sites in Little Plumpton and Roseacre, pulled out of Preese Hall in 2013. The other site on Roseacre Road, near Elswick, was hydraulically fractured – or fracked – in 1993, before being bought by Cuadrilla in 2010.

The study found house prices within three miles of Preese Hall are down 12.4 per cent on their pre-recession peak – less than the 19.7 per cent and 22 per cent falls in Lancashire and the North West respectively.

It also found prices have gone up 7.1 per cent since 2011 – when fracking began at the site – while across Lancashire they have continued to fall.

But Bob Dennett, of Frack Free Lancashire, said: “This is not an independent report and I would question the validity of it.”

He said he was told when he sold his own house in Kirkham that the uncertainty surrounding plans to drill for shale gas nearby would lower the value of his home.