Reacting to the announcement that Lancashire County Council has unanimously rejected planning permission for a shale gas fracking site at Roseacre Wood in Lancashire on the grounds of increased traffic, Flick Monk, Unconventional Gas Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“It is good news that Lancashire County Council has listened to the concerns felt by local people and refused planning permission for this risky and highly polluting industry. Local campaigners should be applauded for their passionate and informed defence of their communities and their environment.”

A second site at Preston New Road will be decided upon on Monday in a crucial vote by the Council’s Development Control Committee.

Flick Monk continued:

“We urge Lancashire County Council to reject planning permission for Preston New Road. Fracking has been halted in Scotland because of the serious risks it poses to the environment and health, and its potential major contribution to climate change. It is time for a full moratorium across the UK while health and environmental concerns are fully examined.”

On Wednesday (24 June 2015) it was revealed that two Scottish academics had urged Lancashire County Council to reject the planning application on the grounds that “fundamental uncertainties” remain “unresolved” at the sites. Stuart Haszeldine OBE, Professor of Geology at the University of Edinburgh, said that a full moratorium should be in place “so that truly scientific investigations can be undertaken.” Prof Haszeldine was a member of the Scottish Government’s Independent Expert Scientific Panel on Unconventional Gas.

On Saturday (20 June 2015), elected officials in New York State, which banned fracking in December, wrote to councillors in Lancashire to urge them to refuse planning permission for Cuadrilla’s two fracking applications. And a report by the CHEM Trust charity on Sunday (21 June) warned that chemicals from fracking could cause significant pollution and damage to wildlife.

Flick Monk continued:

“England should join Scotland and Wales in taking a precautionary approach to an industry that has proved disastrous for public health and the environment in the US and around the world.

“Despite the UK Government’s gung-ho approach to fracking, concerned communities will keep up their opposition to these companies wherever they try to set up this dirty industry. Industry mistakes and community protests have meant that no fracking has taken place in the UK since 2011. If we want to tackle climate change then we cannot afford to open up a new frontier of fossil fuels.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The Scottish Government announced a moratorium on Shale Gas and Coal Bed Methane extraction, including fracking, on 28 January 2015 pending a health impact assessment report, a public consultation, regulatory reform and planning reform: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/fracking-moratorium-scotland

2. New York State elected officials urge counterparts in Lancashire to refuse fracking [Saturday 20 June 2015]: https://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/new-york-state-elected-off…

3. Chemicals from fracking could cause significant pollution and damage to wildlife | CHEM Trust [Sunday 21 June 2015]: http://www.chemtrust.org.uk/chemicals-from-fracking-could-cause-signific…

4. A poll of 500 Lancashire residents in October 2014 found that nearly two thirds (63%) were in favour of a fracking ban, with an even stronger majority (69%) saying more time should be allowed for a public debate to take place before planning authorities decide on drilling licences. The survey was commissioned by Greenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/media/press-releases/two-thirds-lancashire-…

5. Councillors deferred the Preston New Road fracking decision until Monday 29 June after recieving legal advice over whether they could turn the application down: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fracking-decision-on-lanc…

6. Scottish academics David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at Glasgow University and Stuart Haszeldine, OBE, Professor of Geology at the University of Edinburgh advised that fracking should not go ahead in Lancashire before health and environmental risks were adequately addressed: http://www.thenational.scot/news/academics-intervention-may-have-forced-…

7. Fracking operations in Lancashire were suspended for two years when Cuadrilla’s operations cause earthquakes in 2011.

8. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk