Lancashire fracking decision delayed again

24th April 2015

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A decision on whether fracking can go ahead in Lancashire has been deferred for a second time after the county council asked shale gas company Cuadrilla to revisit part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA).

Cuadrilla applied to drill, frack and test gas flows at sites in Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. In January, planning officers at Lancashire county council recommended the applications be refused on the grounds of noise and traffic.

However, Cuadrilla proposed extra measures to mitigate both problems and requested extra time for these to be considered.

The council agreed and moved the deadline for a decision on the application to 30 April. Cuadrilla submitted proposals to reduce noise levels at night to 37dB and erect a 7–10 metre high sound-barriers around major parts of the drilling rig.

The council has also suggested that Cuadrilla could reduce the maximum height of the rig to 35 metres, according to a letter from Stuart Perigo, head of development management at the council. This would reduce the visual impact of the project and light glow at night, the letter stated.

It also asks Cuadrilla to review the landscape and visual amenity section of the EIA in order to assess the impact of the mitigation measures, and to determine whether it could commit to a shorter drilling rig.

Submission of the extra information has delayed the start of the three-week consultation, according to another letter from the council to Cuadrilla. It states: “Clarity on some of the further information had to be sought which took the applicant some time to prepare and submit.

“This meant that the further information could not be advertised as soon as had been hoped and consequently the determination of the application is unlikely to be achieved within the agreed period.”

The consultation ended on 17 April. Council planners need some time to assess the responses and the new information from Cuadrilla, a spokesman for the council said.

The council and Cuadrilla have now agreed a deadline of 30 June for a decision on the application, he added.


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