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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.

Man charged with having sex with corpse of missing girl

A man has appeared in court charged with having sex with the corpse of a missing teenage girl.

The 15-year-old girl, Paige Chivers, was from Bispham in Blackpool and was last seen in August 2007. Despite numerous appeals, there have been no corroborated sightings of her since then.

Paige Chivers was last seen in August 2007 Credit: Lancashire Police

Gareth Dewhurst, 45, of Duncan Avenue, Blackpool, appeared before magistrates in the resort accused of sexual penetration of a corpse, assisting an offender and intending to pervert the course of justice.

Co-defendant Robert Ewing, 59, of Duncan Avenue, Blackpool, is charged with Paige's murder and intending to pervert the course of justice.

Both were remanded in custody to next appear at Preston Crown Court on September 30.

Read more on ITV Granada

Police search for more body parts after human leg found

A dog walker that found a human leg has sparked a hunt for other body parts.

Lancashire police said the adult leg was discovered on land behind Healey Conservative Club in Whitworth, near Rochdale, Greater Manchester, this afternoon.

Police dogs are being used by officers searching the area. It is not yet clear how long the leg has been there or whether it belonged to a man or a woman.

Police were called at shortly before 2.45pm today to a report that a member of the public had found a human leg on land behind Healey Conservative Club at Whitworth. Police are now searching the area to see if there are any further body parts and inquiries are ongoing to try to establish to whom the leg belongs.

– Lancashire police

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Murder inquiry after mother and toddler found dead

Police are investigating the suspicious deaths of a woman and a toddler in a Lancashire village.

The bodies of the 26-year-old woman and 22-month-old boy - understood to be a mother and son - were discovered after officers were called to an address in Euxton at about 6.55pm yesterday.

The village of Euxton is located about 25 miles north-west of Manchester. Credit: Google Maps

Detectives are treating the case as a murder inquiry but are not looking for anyone else over the deaths.

Post-mortem examinations are due to take place to establish the causes of death of the pair.

Detective Superintendent Eddie Thistlethwaite, of Lancashire Constabulary, said:

This is a tragic case. It is being treated as a murder inquiry, although we are not looking for anybody else in connection with this incident.

We are still in the very early stages of this investigation but we are conducting a number of inquiries in order to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the deaths.

– Eddie Thistlethwaite

Zoo delighted at monkey returns but baby still missing

Blackpool Zoo has said it is "absolutely delighted" that four of the five monkeys stolen from their enclosures have been found safe and well but saddened that the baby was not among them.

Two female cotton-top tamarins and two male emperor tamarins were returned to the zoo after they were found abandoned in Bradford overnight.

The four adult monkeys have been checked and reintroduced back into their group, but the baby remains missing. Credit: Lancashire Police

Charlotte Pennie, head of primates at the zoo, said: "We are extremely relieved that four of the monkeys have been found safe and well, although we are also saddened that the baby cotton-top Tamarin has not been found."

The zoo joined Lancashire Police in thanking the public help with the search, while officers appealed for more help in their ongoing investigation into Tuesday's planned theft.

Two care home staff sentenced for abusing patient

The two care home staff were secretly filmed physically and verbally abusing the patient. Credit: ITV Granada

Two care staff from the Priory Highbank Centre in Lancashire, who were secretly filmed abusing a brain damaged patient, have been sentenced today to seven months for each offence, to run concurrently.

Rita Page and Lynette Crook both pleaded guilty to offences of verbal and physical abuse towards a person without capacity. Page pleaded guilty to two offences while Crook pleaded guilty to three.

The 22-year-old victim was left with no mental capacity and was unable to do anything for himself after a road accident in 2008.

His family made a number of complaints about the nature of his care which was not the "round the clock" attention from "professionally-trained staff" he needed.

ITV Granada obtained the secret footage of the care workers abusing the patient.

Four police forces 'failing domestic abuse victims'

Just eight of 43 police forces responded well to domestic abuse and the most vulnerable victims faced a "lottery" in the way their complaints were handled, inspectors said.

The forces singled out by inspectors as being of particularly serious concern were:

  • Greater Manchester
  • Bedfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Gloucestershire

Lancashire Police was hailed as having the best response to domestic abuse.

Read more: Police 'failing' domestic violence victims

Among the forces found to be of serious concern, Bedfordshire had one officer working in its domestic violence unit, and in a case in Greater Manchester, the 13-year-old daughter of a victim was asked to act as a language interpreter for officers investigating allegations against her father.

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