UKOOG responds to Preston New Road planning decision
29 June 2015
UKOOG notes the extremely disappointing news today that Cuadrilla’s application at Preston New Road in Lancashire for a temporary exploration site has been rejected by Lancashire County Council.
This rejection comes despite a recommendation from the council’s planning officer and advice from the council’s own legal officer backed up by QC opinion that “a refusal which is not backed by substantial objective evidence cannot be described as unlawful, it nonetheless can readily be described as unreasonable in planning terms.”
UKOOG is also disappointed that legal advice it made public yesterday at the same time as others was completely ignored by the committee.
UKOOG also notes that two very similar planning applications were heard by the Committee with respect to monitoring and seismic equipment with one accepted and one rejected.
Ken Cronin said
“An important plank of the Government’s energy policy and manifesto commitment has been reduced to a position that despite all the advice a rejection has been given. This after 15 months of a long drawn out process cannot be right and I urge the government to urgently review the process of decision making.
“There is a growing coalition in this country including manufacturing industries and trade unions that support the need for shale from an economic, environmental and energy security perspective.
“80% of our homes are supported by gas for heating and the chemical industry supports 500,000 jobs that use gas as the raw material to make products as diverse as toothpaste and computers.
“The Government needs to take a strategic review of how to ensure these planning decisions are made in the prescribed timescales – this one has taken 15 months as opposed to a guideline of 16 weeks. This lengthy delay is bad for the industry and the communities involved.
“This is just one adverse planning decision, where the professional judgement of planning officials, leading counsel and expert agencies was to approve based on the fact that all of the environmental, safety, health and local issues had been addressed. Other exploration companies have already stated they will be putting in their own applications very shortly.”
0207 680 6550
Deborah Saw/Jason Nisse
0207 680 6550