Cuadrilla bid for first UK fracking operation for four years to be debated

Clara Guibourg
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Cuadrilla's exploratory drilling site in Balcombe. (Photo: Getty)

A bid to start the first fracking operation in the UK for four years could be decided tomorrow, as gas exploration company Cuadrilla hope to extract shale gas in Lancashire.

Fracking applications for two Lancashire sites, Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood, now lie with the county council.

Cuadrilla’s application for Little Plumpton is recommended for approval, and a decision is expected on Wednesday. If Lancashire County Council approve the fracking bid, it would be the first time in four years that a UK council backs shale gas extraction.

“I feel confident that councils will slowly dip their toes into the water and allow shale gas exploration,” said Andrew Monk, chief executive at VSA Capital.

In 2011, fracking tests outside Blackpool were believed to have caused earth tremors, and up to 2,000 anti-fracking protesters are expected to protest outside the hearing. While the protesters describe it as a “dirty and dangerous industry”, supporters argue it both creates jobs and lowers carbon emissions.

A vote on a two-year moratorium on fracking was defeated in January, much to its supporters’ relief. Ineos director Tom Crotty described the suggested moratorium as a “disaster for the UK”.

The new Tory-led government will back fracking, according to new energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd.

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