Judge to rule on fracking decision today

Campaigners fighting a Government decision to give the go-ahead for a fracking site in Lancashire will find out the result of their High Court action today.

Wednesday, 12th April 2017, 8:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:53 pm
Anti-fracking protesters including Gayzer Frackman outside County Hall

The Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) and campaigner Gayzer Frackman have urged a judge to find that the decision to approve a planning application for the site in Fylde was not fair or lawful.

At a hearing at Manchester Civil Justice Centre last month, Mr Justice Dove was told that the planning application by developer Cuadrilla was refused by Lancashire County Council in 2015, but later granted following an appeal and a planning inquiry.

The scheme was given the go-ahead last October by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

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David Wolfe QC, on behalf of PNRAG, told the judge that the action group was ‘’wrong-footed’’ because a planning inspector’s decision to approve the site was based on an argument made after their closing submissions at the inquiry, when the group’s advocate was not present.

He said the inspector’s decision that the site would not have a significant impact on the landscape because it was only granted permission for a temporary period was not lawful and breached the council’s development plan.

Marc Willers QC, on behalf of Mr Frackman, said the site would lead to a ‘’considerable quantity of greenhouse gas emissions’’.

He said the gas produced at the fracking site would go directly to homes and industry.

Mr Willers told the court: “There will be no assessment of these greenhouse gas emissions arising from the gas being pumped through the gas grid to homes and industry.’’

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and developer Cuadrilla were represented at the hearing, but the court was told Lancashire County Council was not taking part in the proceedings.

Mr Justice Dove is to announce his decision at the High Court in London today.