Roseacre Wood fracking bid rejected by Lancashire councillors

Roseacre Wood site Image copyright Rumeana Jahangir
Image caption The Roseacre Wood site is situated between Blackpool and Preston

An application to start a fracking operation on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at Roseacre Wood but the application was unanimously rejected.

The county council tweeted that the proposal had been refused because of the "impact on traffic".

Cuadrilla said it was "disappointed but not surprised" and would "consider our options including our right to appeal".

The application was being considered after fracking was suspended in the UK in 2011.

Councillors deferred a decision on a second bid to begin fracking another site at Little Plumpton until Monday, after legal advice.

The Little Plumpton bid has been recommended for approval, subject to working hours, noise control and highway matters.

Protests were held outside the hearing in Preston, which began on Tuesday.

'Tremendous victory'

All 15 members voted to refuse the Roseacre Wood application, in line with officers' recommendations.

A related application for a monitoring array, to monitor seismic activity and water quality was approved.

In a statement Cuadrilla said: "We are committed to the responsible exploration and development of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath Lancashire.

"If we can unlock this shale gas potential it will help create jobs, generate economic growth, help fuel and heat local businesses and homes, and boost local tax revenues for Lancashire."

The council meeting will resume on Monday.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Anti-fracking protests were held outside Lancashire County Hall in Preston

Analysis: BBC Lancashire reporter, Steve Becker

This decision is very significant. It is the first test case on whether fracking will be given the go-ahead in Lancashire and it has been turned down because of traffic.

Speaker after speaker said the proposal would make local roads too dangerous.

Business leaders said the county needed fracking to go ahead for jobs and the local economy, but councillors felt overwhelmingly the application should be turned down.

Whether this will have any effect on the Little Plumpton decision on Monday remains to be seen.

Friends of the Earth North West campaigner Furqan Naeem said the decision was a "tremendous victory" for people across Lancashire and the UK who campaigned against the application.

But he said the "fracking threat still hangs ominously over the community near Preston New Road".

He added: "Poll after poll shows people want renewables, not fracking - and the clean energy and long-term jobs they would provide."

Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - is a technique in which water and chemicals are pumped into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.

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