Government gives green light for fracking at Lancashire site

The government has given the go-ahead for fracking at a site in Lancashire, overturning the county council's decision on the scheme.

The controversial process can now go ahead at Preston New Road, Fylde, after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid gave the green light for shale company Cuadrilla to drill up to four wells.

But fracking has been denied at Roseacre Wood amid concerns over impacts on the local area.

Following a public inquiry into the two schemes, the planning inspector recommended the Preston New Road scheme, originally supported by Lancashire County Council officials but turned down by the planning committee.

The inspector recommended that Cuadrilla's appeal to be allowed to frack at Roseacre Wood be dismissed.

Fracking at Roseacre Wood has not been given the green light. Credit: ITV Granada

But Mr Javid said he was giving Cuadrilla and other people further opportunity to address concerns about the site. He added that he was "minded" to allow the appeal and grant planning permission if issues surrounding highway safety could be dealt with.

Environmentalists and local campaign groups reacted angrily to the decision, which they said went against the wishes of residents.

Pat Davies, chairwoman of Preston New Road Action Group, said:

Anti-fracking protestors in Blackpool in February. Credit: PA

The fracking process has been mired in controversy since it caused two minor earthquakes in Lancashire, prompting a temporary ban on fracking in the UK.

The ban was later lifted, with controls put in place to prevent tremors, but fracking continues to attract opponents who fear it can also cause water contamination, noise and traffic pollution.

Environmentalists also warn that pursuing new sources of gas - a fossil fuel - is not compatible with efforts to tackle climate change, and that the focus should be on developing cleaner sources of renewable energy.

Fracking will take place at Preston New Road despite local opposition. Credit: ITV News
The fracking site near Preston New Road in the village of Little Plumpton. Credit: PA

Earlier, Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "The fact is that this is a temporary development. There is traffic, obviously, you can't do this without it, but we're talking about 25 trucks a day at peak."That's for a maximum of six weeks spread out over a two year period.

"But the country needs gas. The country is running out of gas, and without some form of energy development, we're going to end up importing all of our fuel from overseas, and we've seen that just last week with the ridiculous situation where Scotland is importing shale gas from America, which frankly is crazy."