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Lancashire County Council calls for clarity on local fracking consent

Posted on - 18th October, 2022 - 10:50am | Author - | Posted in - Campaigns, Fylde News, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wildlife and Conservation, Wyre News
Anti-fracking campaigner Pic: Tony Worrall
Anti-fracking campaigner Pic: Tony Worrall

Lancashire County Council this month has urged the government to clarify how residents will give consent for local fracking sites.

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The council has asked the government to ensure that local councils make any decisions on fracking. The government has said fracking will only be allowed where there is local community support but has not yet set out how consent is measured or who is asked.

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At a meeting of the full council on Thursday, 12 October, members approved the motion. They called on the government to commit to ensuring that planning permission for fracking is made solely by the county council.

Read more: ‘Astounding’ – Preston and Lancashire groups speak out after fracking ban lifted

County Councillor Aidy Riggott, the cabinet member for economic development and growth, said: “When the moratorium on fracking was introduced in 2019, it was welcomed by Lancashire people because local residents had seen years of disruption to their lives, and there was considerable cost to the public purse to manage the protests.

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“The new prime minister lifted the moratorium but offered a clear commitment that fracking will only happen in areas where there is local community support. We welcome this, as it is right that local people should have the final say about whether fracking happens in their area or not.

“We now need clarity on what local consent means in practice, which is why we’re writing to the government to ask them. As the body responsible for planning applications for fracking, we need this information, so we update our policies on how any proposals that come forward will be assessed.”

Read more: Frack Free Lancashire pleased to see Preston New Road fracking site abandoned by Cuadrilla

Riggott said the council believes that planning decisions should lie with the county council as local representatives are best placed to understand the needs and wishes of their local communities.

The council said any plans to frack after the moratorium lifting would be subject to planning approval from Lancashire County Council. The council has a legal duty to prepare a local plan on how the applications will be assessed and must account for government guidance and policy.

Riggott said: “Because it is the planning body for fracking, the council should remain neutral on whether it is right or wrong that the moratorium has been lifted.

“This is so that any application that may come in can be considered in an unbiased way and avoids ‘predetermination’, which can leave decisions open to legal challenge.”

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