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Council bosses to make final decision on fracking

Fracking site Credit: PA Images

A decision is expected to be made on whether to allow fracking at a site in Lancashire. Last week a key report said the planning application by Cuadrilla should be turned down. Today council bosses will meet to consider the plans for Little Plumpton, applications for Roseacre will be looked at tomorrow. Friday has also been set aside in case officials need more time to come to a final conclusion.

Read more here.

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Fracking regime 'robust', government insists

The Department of Energy and Climate Change, situated on Whitehall in Westminster. Credit: Press Association.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We disagree with the conclusion of this report. We have one of the most robust regulatory regimes for shale gas.

"UK shale development is compatible with our goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions and does not detract from our support for renewables; in fact it could support development of intermittent renewables.

"To meet our challenging climate targets we will need significant quantities of renewables, nuclear and gas in our energy mix. Shale gas has huge potential to create jobs and make us less reliant on imports."

Calls to halt all fracking in Britain

A fracking site in the Lancashire countryside. Credit: Press Association.

There are calls for North West MPs to support a vote for a moratorium on fracking across Britain. It comes on the day parliament has the chance to vote on legislation. Campaigners want it delayed for at least 2 and a half years whilst the risks are assessed.

The Environmental Audit Committee, appointed by the House of Commons have today published a report into the risks of the controversial technique. It claims; 'The necessary regulatory arrangements must be determined and put in place before any further expansion of the industry.'

“Ultimately fracking cannot be compatible with our long-term commitments to cut climate changing emissions unless full-scale carbon capture and storage technology is rolled out rapidly, which currently looks unlikely. There are also huge uncertainties around the impact that fracking could have on water supplies, air quality and public health.”

“We cannot allow Britain’s national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty to be developed into oil and gas fields. Even if a national moratorium on shale drilling in the UK is not accepted there should be an outright ban on fracking in such special sites.”

– Committee Chair Joan Walley MP

Last week a key Lancashire County Council report said it should not go ahead in Little Plumpton and Rosacre.

Click here to read more on that story.

Fracking 'funeral march' in Lancashire

Cuardrilla wants to drill for shale gas Credit: PA

Anti-fracking campaigners are staging a 'funeral march' for Lancashire saying that a go ahead for the controversial procedure would amount to death for the Fylde countryside.

The fracking firm Cuadrilla has applied to explore two sites at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood for shale gas.

Councillors are due to make a final decision on the planning application but a report earlier this week by Lancashire County Council recommended rejecting it.

Organisers say the march will be from the stocks in the centre of Poulton Le Fylde at 10am walking to Blackpool.

Cuadrilla has said any issues raised in the report can be resolved.

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  1. Amy Welch, ITV News

Council officials say Lancashire should reject plans for fracking

There's been a setback to hopes of a fracking industry in Lancashire, after a key council report said it should not go ahead at two sites between Blackpool and Preston. Cuadrilla was seeking permission to use the controversial method of extracting shale gas in tests at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood, near Roseacre.

But planning officials have recommended the applications be rejected over concerns of noise and traffic pollution.

Our correspondent Amy Welch reports:

Cuadrilla 'disappointed' over Lancs officials' fracking view - read the company's statement in full

Cuadrilla still hopes it's application will go through. Credit: Press Association.

In a statement, Shale Gas firm Cuadrilla said it was disappointed with the recommendation made by Lancashire County Council's planning officers.

But the firm said it hopes concerns about noise and traffic pollution could be resolved ahead of the Council's crucial vote on the matter next week.

We are very disappointed that Lancashire County Council’s Planning Officers have recommended that the Councils’ Development Control Committee refuse planning consent for both our applications.

"Officers have recommended refusal at Preston New Road only on grounds of night-time noise and at Roseacre Road on noise and traffic concerns.

"We note that the Planning Officer’s report is satisfied with all other aspects of the planning applications.

"Our applications are to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells at each of our proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.

“After an extraordinarily lengthy period of consultation and review of around seven months we are surprised that, at this late point, the Planning team at Lancashire County Council has raised objections about background noise for both sites. "We believe, supported by independent experts Arup, that we have come forward with measures that would mitigate the noise of drilling and fracturing and the proposed noise levels are within the limits set out in government guidance.

“For our application at Roseacre Wood we had already supplied within the last week extra information regarding traffic routes which we and our expert advisers believe addresses all the new issues which have recently been raised.

"We believe these issues should have been more widely discussed. In the end the Councillors on the Development Control Committee will have to weigh the relatively minor impacts which affect only a small number of households and for which we have proposed adequate proposals for mitigation against the wider local and national economic and energy security benefits.

“We will await the Councillors’ decisions on both these applications and we believe that all of the limited issues that have been raised can be resolved.”

– Cuadrilla

Greenpeace says Lancashire councillors 'in the spotlight'

Greenpeace said it "applauds" the recommendation council officers published today and urged councillors to follow the advice.

The council now faces a clear choice: They can listen to the planners, and the Lancashire residents that elected them - almost two-thirds of whom want a moratorium on fracking.

Or they can kowtow to the corporate and political interests keen to force through fracking at almost any cost.

The whole country is looking to Lancashire to protect its communities from the unnecessary risks that fracking plays with our futures.

– Simon Clydesdale, Greenpeace
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