Legal advice delays fracking decision

County councillors have deferred a decision on controversial plans to exploit shale gas reserves in Lancashire after legal advice cast doubt on their grounds for refusing permission.

The application by developer Cuadrilla sought permission for exploration and fracking of shale gas at its Preston New Road site in Fylde, Lancashire.

The application was recommended for refusal in January due to noise impacts, but the council agreed to allow Cuadrilla to submit further mitigation plans to reduce noise from a maximum of 42dB to 39dB. Planning officers subsequently recommended approval of the plans, subject to conditions on issues including noise, air quality and traffic.

Yesterday’s council meeting was watched closely by anti-fracking protesters, with many gathering outside to lobby. The council received 18,022 objections to Cuadrilla’s plans and 217 letters in support, according to the planners’ report. Many objections ...

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