The day-long meetings will consider representations from opponents and supporters of two planning applications by Cuadrilla to develop new sites in Fylde to explore for shale gas by drilling, hydraulically fracturing (fracking) and testing the flow of gas. If granted permission, these would be only the second and third sites in the country where fracking for shale gas would be carried out. The first site, at Presse Hall, which was fracked in 2011, caused two seismic events, leading to a moratorium on fracking which was in place until December 2013. Lancashire County Council's planning officers have recommended that permission be granted on one site (Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Fylde West), and be refused on the other (Roseacre Wood, Roseacre, Fylde East).
Friends of the Earth oppose the recommended grant of permission at Preston New Road and support the recommendation for refusal at Roseacre Wood (made on the grounds that the development would generate an increase in traffic, particularly HGV movements, that would result in an unacceptable impact on the rural highway network and on existing road users, particularly vulnerable road users and a reduction in overall highway safety that would be severe). Friends of the Earth has objected to both applications on the grounds of inconsistency with national and local planning policy; inconsistency with Government policy and targets on climate change; inconsistency with the precautionary principle and the Water Framework Directive; evidence of unacceptable adverse environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated through conditions and inadequate consideration of adverse socio-economic and public health impacts.
The planning applications will be decided at meetings to take place on 23-24 June (Preston New Road) and 25 – 26 June (Roseacre Wood).