The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, should not have approved Cuadrilla’s fracking plans because shale gas regulation was not good enough, the High Court heard this afternoon.
The argument was part of a legal challenge brought by a Lancashire resident to Mr Javid’s decision to grant permission for drilling, fracking and testing up to four shale gas wells at Preston New Road, near Blackpool.
Mr Javid’s decision, announced in October 2016, followed the recommendation of an inspector at a public inquiry and overruled the refusal of permission by Lancashire County Council.
Marc Willers QC, for the resident Gayzer Frackman, told the court in Manchester this afternoon:
The press regulator has received multiple complaints about an article by the Telegraph referring to arrests at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking site.
The article, about protests at the Preston New Road site, near Blackpool, said:
“There have been a dozen arrests related to verbal death threats and physical assault against workers at Cuadrilla’s site in the last month but some forms of legal protest action are carried out with the police in attendance.” (posted on the Telegraph website 7pm, 18 February 2017)
“At the time of the quakes, Hilcorp was conducting a “zipper” fracture, a technique where two parallel, horizontal wells are fracked in tandem. Pelepko says this technique enlarges the pressure zone near the wells during hydraulic fracturing, stimulating the release of oil and gas by injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into rock formations. Pelepko says pressure can also be a factor in inducing earthquakes.”
An eye witness to a two-car accident outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site near Blackpool this morning said a truck preparing to make a delivery was breaking agreed traffic rules.
John Tootill, whose basic account of the accident has been confirmed by police, said a cement truck had stopped outside the Preston New Road site to turn right before two cars on the other side of the road collided.
Whilst this has been covered by the BBC, they gave very little mention of the road traffic incident instead focusing on demonising the protectors. Excellent coverage as always from Ruth Hayhurst, Drill or Drop .
Second supplier pulls out of Cuadrilla fracking contract
Residents living near Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire have called for tougher action from the authorities.
At a meeting yesterday there were complaints that regulation of the Preston New Road site near Blackpool was fragmented and there was no overall control.
Residents who have been calling for radon monitoring said drilling should be delayed for six months so that baseline data could be collected.
There were allegations that planning conditions had been breached and calls for round-the-clock monitoring. One group of opponents said it would it was now watching the site 24-hours a day.
The meeting at Wrea Green brought together eight staff from the Environment Agency, along with officers from Lancashire County Council, Public Health England, Health and Safety Executive, Oil and Gas Authority and Fylde Borough Council.