The UK shale company Cuadrilla Resources has suffered another setback, when The Development Control Committee of the Lancashire County Council refused the company’s application for pressure monitoring and testing of the rock formations in Grange Road, Singleton.
Back in 2010, Cuadrilla obtained planning permission for the Grange Hill site, and the well was safely drilled to its target depth of 10,700ft in 2011. Cuadrilla then applied for retention of the site for a further three years to use the existing well to carry out seismic and pressure monitoring, after which the well was to have been plugged with cement and the site restored to greenfield status. It is this permission that has been denied.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “The Development Control Committee voted for the application to be refused on the grounds that it considered the application to be contrary to policies in the development plan.”
Cuadrilla was at pains to explain that the application did not entail any drilling or hydraulic fracturing operations.
In a statement issued yesterday, Cuadrilla said that they “are perplexed and disappointed by the decision of Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee,” and pointed to the fact that the “refusal was contrary to the advice of Lancashire County Council planning officers, the HSE and the EA all of whom recommended it for approval.”
The statement further argues that there’s a lack of clarity about the technical basis of the Council’s decision, and points to the fact that, as a consequence, “the Grange Hill well appears to be in planning limbo since permission to plug the well and restore the site has been refused.”
The company said they are awaiting clarification from the Council before deciding on next steps.
Meanwhile, Cuadrilla is also waiting for the fracking permissions on two of its sites – in Preston Road and Roseacre Wood near Blackpool – which have been deferred at the company’s request, and are expected to be made before the end of April.
Friends of the Earth’s Energy Campaigner Donna Hume welcomed the Council’s decision, telling Business Green that: “This decision is yet another blow for Cuadrilla. Refusing the application was the right decision by Lancashire County Council, as it is clear that the people of Lancashire do not support shale gas extraction,”
“The council must say no to fracking anywhere in Lancashire and turn down Cuadrilla’s two applications which will be considered in the next few months. Fracking is not compatible with tackling climate change, and carries serious risks to the local environment and people’s health – that’s why the Scottish and Welsh Governments have both called moratoriums. The government in Westminster must follow their lead and instead pursue renewable energy and energy efficiency, which will create more jobs and help us avoid devastating damage to our climate.”
Image: Retired Gas Well.
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