Frack off: Britain’s potentially lucrative fracking industry suffered another setback on Monday, as Lancashire County Council ignored their own legal advisors and voted against an application for a drilling site.
Cuadrilla were denied permission to drill and hydraulically fracture four exploratory wells, with their application being turned down because of an “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”, and “unacceptable noise impact”. The sites, near the village of Little Plumpton between Preston and Blackpool, had a population of 1,205 at the 2011 census.
Cuadrilla triggered earth tremors in the only shale gas well to have been fracked in Britain so far, causing a ban to be enforced on the practice, which was only lifted in 2012. They are now expected to appeal against the council’s decision, and should they win, the council may have to pay six-figure legal fees.
Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) is the process where by high-pressured water, sand and chemicals is pumped into layered shale rock to fracture it and release the gas trapped inside. Shale forms in low-energy water, and forms with organic components that metamorphose under heat and pressure to form oil or gas over millions of years. The Bowland Basin in the north-west of England is shale-rich. Due to the potential for jobs, northern growth, and reduced energy prices and dependence, is reason why the government has claimed it is going “all out for shale”.
Fracking companies are now demanding a change in the law so that councils have less power to block applications. Lancashire County Council’s QC had said that it would be “unreasonable” to prohibit exploratory wells in Little Plumpton on environmental grounds.
Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said that their application was denied as the council committee had taken “legal advice put forward by protesters, yet legal advice sought by the industry was not even considered.
“It’s not good news for UK plc. There’s competition for investment and money doesn’t have a passport. You end up with industry voting with its feet.”
In the US, the boom of the fracking industry has helped cause a decrease in energy prices.
His experience in editing includes work on behalf of the European Commission, the Financial Conduct Authority, and numerous county councils. He has worked extensively for Plain Language Commission.