Cuadrilla application refused by Lancashire County Council – implications for Fracking

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Cuadrilla application refused by Lancashire County Council – implications for Fracking

July 2015

rural consultancy news

Does Lancashire County Council’s decision mark the end of the road for fracking (Shale Gas production as the industry prefers to call it) in the UK or is it merely a hiccup on the long road to a greener energy policy?

The battle lines have been clearly drawn for some time between the two sides of the argument and there was little that was new to come out in the planning process.  It may only prove to be a short delay for Cuadrilla as the application did have a recommendation for approval from the county’s planning officers which may make it hard for them to defend an appeal should one be lodged.  The new Conservative Government have made it clear that they are behind the shale gas industry as a key step to a greener climate and a means of energy security for the UK. 

Of greater impact however might be the effect that this refusal will have on other companies who are thinking of submitting planning applications.  These may now be delayed until the outcome is clear and the prospect of this becoming a precedent for the whole industry.  The grounds for refusal quoted of landscape impact and noise do not appear to be insurmountable so it’s potential as a precedent looks slim.  This decision though must however present a threat to the industry that the level of regulation in the UK, combined with the global energy price, will make extraction in the UK unattractive and importation a commercial reality.  

It is worth noting that the current round of applications for Exploration Licences closed in October and no decision has yet been made regarding these.  Whilst this was undoubtedly delayed by the General Election we will watch with interest to see when these come forward and if the successful bidders start their exploratory work in the near future.  If not it may be that those opposed to fracking scored a significant success.

William Gagie of Fisher German comments “given the new Government’s strong support for shale gas extraction I don’t think this is the last we will hear of fracking, but it will bolster those opposed to it for a while and make life harder for the industry.  However in the end the need for UK energy security and a coherent energy policy will mean we will see it across the UK.

 
For further information please contact William Gagie on 01530 410859 or email william.gagie@fishergerman.co.uk

 
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