Lancashire

Legal challenge to Preston New Road fracking decision

Preston New Road site on 5 Jan 2017 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption UK shale rock will be fracked horizontally at the Preston New Road site, which is expected to yield more gas

A legal challenge has been launched against the government's decision to approve fracking in Lancashire.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid gave the go-ahead last year for shale gas extraction at Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site in Little Plumpton.

Campaigner Gayzer Frackman said the government did not fully assess the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from the site over the next three years.

A government spokesman said it was "not appropriate" to comment at this time.

Environmental law barrister Marc Willers QC, of Garden Court Chambers, is representing Mr Frackman.

He said the appeal also questioned "whether it was safe for the government to grant permission for fracking in the absence of a robust regulatory system".

A previous High Court challenge by Mr Frackman failed last month. He is challenging this ruling at the Court of Appeal.

The court will decide whether he can appeal that decision.

Mr Frackman, from Blackpool, claims the government "is simply putting corporate interests above safety, environmental concerns and the concerns of local communities".

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "It would not be appropriate for the government to comment on a legal case at this time."

Energy firm Cuadrilla said it had "noted that Mr Frackman has sought permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal the High Court decision that dismissed his original claim against the Secretary of State's decision to grant planning permission for our Preston New Road shale gas exploration site.

"We will wait to see if the appeal is given permission to go ahead, however in our view the High Court's decision was both very detailed and robust and we remain confident the planning permission will stand."

Lancashire County Council (LCC) refused permission to extract shale gas at the site in 2015 on the grounds of noise and traffic impact, but Cuadrilla appealed to the secretary of state who subsequently ruled in their favour.

The decision means for the first time UK shale rock will be fracked horizontally, which is expected to yield more gas.

Cuadrilla started construction work at the site in January and it has been the scene of continued protests by anti-fracking campaigners.

Image caption Protests have been held regularly near the Preston New Road site since work began in January

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