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Fracking firm 'confident' planning issues can be fixed

The fracking industry has received a setback by planning officers who recommended that proposals for two sites in Lancashire should be rejected over concerns about noise and traffic.

But while campaigners celebrated today, Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, told ITV News the objections focused on smaller local issues that the company says it is "confident can be addressed."

ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman reports.

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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


Lancashire fracking proposals 'should be refused'

Council officers have recommended Lancashire County Council refuses permission for "fracking" for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire.

Council leaders should refuse to allow fracking at two sites in Lancashire, planning officers say. Credit: PA Wire

The Lancashire County Council report said bids for the sites, at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood, should be turned down because of concerns over noise pollution and "an unacceptable impact" on residents.

The council is due to make a final decision on the applications from shale company Cuadrilla next week.

The Government is heavily in favour of shale gas exploration in the UK saying it would create jobs, growth and cheaper energy bills.

If council leaders agree with the report's recommendations, it will be seen as a major blow to the industry.

Independent polls show 'less than half back fracking'

Greenpeace has called a new survey into fracking "smoke and mirrors", after it found that the majority of Britons backed the controversial production. A spokesman said:

Surely it's no coincidence that the only survey out there showing this level of public support for fracking has been commissioned by the industry lobby. All independent polls show less than half of Britain backs shale drilling.

– Greenpeace

Fracking 'to lessen dependency' on foreign suppliers

Britons would like to see a balanced mix of shale gas and renewable energy, the chief executive of a trade body has said, after a survey found that a "majority" supported fracking.

This survey shows that most people across the country think that shale gas should be developed. More than four out of five of us heat our homes with gas, and Britain's shale resource gives us the opportunity to become less dependent on foreign energy supplies, create tens of thousands of jobs and support our manufacturing industries.

Whilst these results are positive, our industry needs to continue to do all it can to listen to and engage with the views of local communities.

– Ken Cronin, UK Onshore Oil and Gas

Majority of Britons 'in favour of fracking'

Natural gas production from shale enjoys widespread backing across the country, with more than three times as many supporting production as opposing, according to a new survey.

Test site for fracking at Barton Moss, Manchester Credit: PA

The findings, which give a boost to controversial proposals for commercial fracking, come from a survey by Populus of 4,000 adults, commissioned by UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the trade association representing the UK's onshore oil and gas industry.

The study found that 57% of people support the production of natural gas from shale in the UK, compared with 16% who oppose and 27% who are undecided.


National Trust: Protect nature reserves from fracking

Nature reserves are not currently among the protected fracking areas. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive

The National Trust has welcomed new government guidelines dictating that applications for fracking in protected areas such as National Parks should be refused in all but "exceptional" circumstances.

The organisation said it was "right" that the Government addressed concerns about the impact on "special places", but called for the measures to be extended to nature reserves and other wildlife sites.

This is a significant change in approach from DECC. We hope it will reflect a much more cautious approach that recognises the risks of turning some of the most special places in the country over to industrial scale extraction of shale gas and oil.

– Richard Hebditch, National Trust

'Giant loophole could allow fracking in National Parks'

Campaigners have argued that rules protecting National Parks from fracking could be bypassed due to a "giant loophole".

Many local communities have shown resistance to plans for fracking in their areas. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive

The Government has said fracking in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and the Broads should be refused other than in "exceptional circumstances and in the public interest".

But environmentalists warned that as ministers have indicated that developing shale gas and oil resources is in the interests of the country, the rules could allow fracking in protected areas.

Official guidance states that if proposed development for shale oil or gas would lead to substantial harm or to loss of a World Heritage Site, planners should refuse consent "unless wholly exceptional circumstances apply".

Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said: "By introducing an exception under a vague 'public interest' case, they've created a giant loophole that could allow fracking all over these protected areas, potentially causing serious environmental damage to our unique natural heritage."

Campaigner: We should be getting out of fossil fuels

Britain should be looking at renewable energy options rather than widespread fracking, an environmental campaigner has told ITV News.

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth’s Policy and Campaigns Director, says to tackle climate change the country should be "getting out of fossil fuels, not getting into them".

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