Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners lose High Court battle

Fracking looks set to go ahead on a Lancashire site after campaigners lost a High Court challenge.

Opponents urged the court to find a government decision approving planning for the site in Fylde either unfair or unlawful.

The planning application, by developer Cuadrilla, was refused by Lancashire County Council in 2015 but later granted following an appeal.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid gave the scheme the green light last October.

The Preston New Road Action Group lost their challenge at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday.

Fracking looks set to go ahead at Preston New Road. Credit: ITV News

Shale company Cuadrilla originally made an application to drill up to four wells at Preston New Road.

The plan was supported by Lancashire County Council officials but turned down by the planning committee.

But following a public inquiry, the planning inspector recommended the scheme.

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

Fracking is a divisive issue in Lancashire. 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.