Local people ‘will have fracking voice’

John Hayes, energy minister
John Hayes, energy minister
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Lancashire people will be placed at the heart of regulating the county’s ‘fracking’ industry, a Government minister has claimed.

Energy minister John Hayes said the community would be “very important” in ensuring controversial hydraulic fracturing operates safely if it progresses to commercial extraction of shale gas from under the county.

Last week, the Government gave the green light for work on the process, known as ‘fracking’, putting a new regulatory regime in place.

Mr Hayes said that bodies, including Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency, would play a role in ensuring regulation was stuck to.

He said: “There will be the normal planning regime, which is important, and Lancashire County Council will play its part in that, the involvement of the local community will be very important.

“Mark Menzies, the local MP (for Fylde), has been assiduous in making representations for local people and I think it is very important we take local people with us on this and, to that end, I am very happy to have discussions with the community in Lancashire.

“Local people’s concerns will be listened to, they should also understand the potential of this in terms of local jobs and skills and that we have a regulatory regime which guarantees their safety an security.”

Cuadrilla Resources, the company exploring for shale gas in Lancashire, has confirmed it plans to progress with ‘fracking’ will resume at its sites at Banks, near Preston, and Anna’s Road at Westby, if it secures approval from the county council.