The UK’s burgeoning shale gas industry was dealt another blow yesterday after it was revealed that Lancashire County Council’s planning officers have recommended that Cuadrilla’s applications to develop sites in the region be refused.
The natural resources exploration and production company has applied to drill, hydraulically fracture, or frack, and test the flow of gas from four wells at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.
The council, which is set to reveal its final decision on the applications next week, has been advised to refuse their consent due to issues of potential night-time noise at Preston New Road. Noise and traffic concerns were cited as the reasons for turning down the application at Roseacre Road.
Cuadrilla is currently the only company in the UK with planning applications for onshore hydraulic fracking underway. A source told City A.M. that if the company is granted permission to drill in Lancashire, it could be fracking by the end of 2015.
A Cuadrilla spokesperson said the company was disappointed by the Lancashire planning officers’ recommendation, and commented: “After an extraordinarily lengthy period of consultation and review of around seven months we are surprised that, at this late point, the planning team at Lancashire County Council has raised objections about background noise for both sites.” The spokesperson added: “We will await the councillors’ decisions on both these applications and we believe that all of the limited issues that have been raised can be resolved.”