Rivals must wait for fracking legal ruling

The court hearing into the decision to allow fracking to go ahead on the Fylde ended half a day early.

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 10:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:03 am
Members of the Preston New Road Action Group after the hearing ended with a misspelled court place marker

The legal challenge to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to allow Cuadrilla’s appeal against plans to drill and frack at Preston News Road was brought by a residents group and by Lytham campaigner Gayzer Frackman.

Protesters maintained a vigil outside the Manchester courtroom as inside High Court judge Sir Ian Dove heard evidence over two days.

On day one, the Preston New Road Action Group said Mr Javid had misconstrued local and national planning policy in letting the fracking scheme go ahead while Mr Frackman argued the minister failed to consider climate change and to protect public health as regulation was not up to standard and the development was production in disguise.

On day two, Rupert Warren QC, for Mr Javid, said any harm to the landscape would be temporary and mitigated and that the opponents had used planning law arguments which could not be applied.

Nathalie Lieven, QC, for Cuadrilla, said the climate change argument was flawed and not applicable while the inquiry inspector had accepted there would be no harm to residents’ health.

Sir Ian Dove, ending the hearing on Thursday evening, said his work was now beginning in ruling on the appeals.

He could give no firm timescale on when the judgement would be released, although interested parties thought it could be expected within two to three weeks.

Pat Davies, chairman of of Preston New Road Action Group, speaking afterward, said: “We are grateful to our legal team for their hard work and case presentation.

“Our community said no, Lancashire County Council development committee said no and we look forward to the outcome.”

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “Cuadrilla was happy to actively defend the challenge alongside the Government and we remain confident that the planning consents will not be overturned.”

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