Decisions over fracking plans will be delayed

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Planners have asked for more time to decide on controversial applications to start fracking at two sites, including one at Roseacre.

Lancashire County Council
had previously said that it would decide on two fracking applications from energy firm Caudrilla by November 18.

Now planners have written to Caudrilla to request more time to work on the applications – until December 31 for the site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, and until January 31 for the site at Roseacre.

A council spokesman said: “The planners have been working since the applications were received in June to consult with the public and other statutory agencies, and assess the applications, to ensure all the information needed to determine them is put before the Development Control Committee.”

The two applications to start drilling for shale gas have proved highly controversial, with Lancashire County Council receiving almost 10,000 objections during the public consultation period.

A protest group, Frack Free Lancashire, had set up camp on one of the sites, but a court order now bars it from returning to the agricultural land.

A spokesman for Caudrilla said: “We have accepted Lancashire County Council’s request for a further extension to the determination period for our planning applications to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas at our proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.

“Following such a long and comprehensive consultation and review period for both applications we look forward to a final determination for both applications.”

Fylde Council has already voted to object to the application, but the final decision belongs to the County Council.