Storm Callum delays start of fracking in Lancashire after High Court rules against campaigners

Workers at the Cuadrilla site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire (Danny Lawson/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

High winds have delayed the start of fracking at a site in Lancashire.

Work was expected to get under way at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, near Blackpool on Saturday after an environmental campaigner failed in a High Court bid to block operations.

But energy firm Cuadrilla said fracking had been postponed until Monday as the region felt the effects of Storm Callum.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said on Saturday: “Due to the weather conditions yesterday afternoon and this morning, we will now start pumping on Monday.

“In high winds we couldn’t use the crane to manoeuvre some equipment into place.”

Fracking is now expected to begin on Monday. Credit: PA

At a hearing in London on Friday, Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed Bob Dennett’s application for an injunction preventing the company from fracking the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well pending his proposed legal challenge.

Mr Dennett claimed Lancashire County Council’s emergency response planning and procedures at the site are inadequate, but the judge ruled there was not a “serious issue” to be tried which would justify an interim order.

In a statement after the ruling, Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said: “We are delighted to be starting our hydraulic fracturing operations as planned. We are now commencing the final operational phase to evaluate the commercial potential for a new source of indigenous natural gas in Lancashire.

Bob Dennett said he is likely to now take the case to the Court of Appeal. Credit: Sian Harrison/PA

“If commercially recoverable, this will displace costly imported gas with lower emissions, significant economic benefit and better security of energy supply for the UK.”

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday, Mr Dennett said: “We have been advised that there are two clear errors in this judge’s determination that leave the way open for us now to take this to the Court of Appeal, which is what we are obviously going to do.

“We remain defiant. This started in Lancashire and we are going to finish this in Lancashire.

“I’d like to say a really big thank-you to our legal team, they have worked so hard for so long.

“We didn’t get the result we were looking for, but we will fight on.”