Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners' delight at High Court ruling on Government's planning guidance

Dame Vivienne Westwood, mother of Joe Corre, outside the High Court in December for the hearing which anti-fracking campaigners won
Dame Vivienne Westwood, mother of Joe Corre, outside the High Court in December for the hearing which anti-fracking campaigners won

Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners have claimed victory in a court challenge to the Government’s support of  onshore shale gas.

Justice Dove in the High Court has ruled that the Government was wrong in incorporating support for shale gas into a revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework which guides councils nationally on planning issues such as whether to allow a fracking site to be built.

Claire Stephenson

Claire Stephenson

Talk Fracking member Claire Stephenson, from the protesters opposing Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking, had argued in court in December that the planning guidance published in July 2018 used outdated and discredited science that claimed that fracking had a lower carbon footprint than imported liquid natural gas.

The judge said that the Secretary of State had not considered the latest science, adding: “The consultation on the draft revised framework 204a was so flawed in its design and processes as to be unlawful.”

Claire Stephenson said: “The acknowledgement from the judge, that climate change is a valid concern for campaigners and councils facing fracking planning applications, is a big win.”

Joe Corré, from Talk Fracking said: “I’m very pleased that the court has confirmed that the Government has behaved irresponsibly and recklessly with our democratic rulebook. Their consultation was a farce. Their claim that fracking is a bridge to low carbon economy is not based on scientific evidence.”

The judge said he would allow the Government and Talk Fracking time to consider the ruling and make submissions.