Plans to extract shale gas from underneath the Fylde coast will be put under the microscope by county councillors.
Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) development control committee is to meet tomorrow at county hall in Preston to review the plans from Cuadrilla for two sites at Roseacre Wood near Treales and Preston New Road in Little Plumptons.
The application includes the construction and operation at the two sites for drilling up to four exploratory wells and hydraulic fracturing of the wells.
A supporting application for the installation of a monitoring array of 80 boreholes for seismic and water quality within the surrounding area has also been submitted.
LCC planning officer Stephen Perigo said both applications had “generated a considerable amount of interest” but recommended councillors visit both sites before making any decision.
He added: “Given the nature of the proposal and level of public interest received to date, it is considered that the committee visit the site before determining the application.
“This would have the benefit of members being familiar with the site and the environment before determining the application and so having a clear understanding of the issues associated with the proposal.”
Shale gas exploration involves the firing of a mixture of water and chemicals underground at high speed to crack, or fracture shale rock, releasing shale gas.
Cuadrilla insists the process is safe, but anti-fracking campaigners have raised concerns about pollution and the possible impact of seismic activity.
Bob Dennett, of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking said: “We plan to submit 17,000 signatures to Lancashire County Council against fracking.
“We will continue to do so. The Government and fracking companies do not have a social licence to do this. It (fracking) was not part of the Government’s manifesto.
“The upset throughout the country is amazing. There are many more people against fracking than for it.”
Last week, Cuadrilla supported farmers with an application for an interim injunction at Manchester High Court to prevent anyone from trespassing on land at Preston New Road following a three week-long protest camp in August.
Earlier this year, Francis Egan, Cuadrilla chief executive, said the applications would help unlock Lancashire’s shale gas in a “safe and sensible” way.
He added: “These applications could be a really important milestone for Lancashire and the UK as we seek to unlock Lancashire’s shale gas potential. We have undertaken extensive consultation and engagement with the local communities on these applications and have listened carefully.”
A decision by LCC on the two sites is expected in November.