Lancashire

Anti-fracking group seeks review over Roseacre monitoring

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

Campaigners in Lancashire are seeking a judicial review of a council decision to allow seismic monitoring on a planned fracking site.

In June, Lancashire County Council rejected Cuadrilla's fracking application at Roseacre Wood but backed the firm's bid for a monitoring array.

Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG) said the fracking refusal removed the need for monitoring and is lodging papers at the High Court.

The council is yet to respond.

Cuadrilla said it recognised the move by campaigners was "part of the democratic process".

The energy firm is appealing against the decision to refuse permission to drill and frack at Roseacre Wood and a second site at Little Plumpton.

It is also appealing against conditions imposed on the monitoring array at Roseacre Wood which it believed were "not necessary".

Cuadrilla plans to install 91 monitors and dig three boreholes, to monitor seismic activity and water quality.

The boreholes are drilled using a very small truck loaded rig, the firm said.

Chair of the Roseacre Awareness Group Elizabeth Warner said: "These conditions are designed to protect people, environment and wildlife.

"The monitoring array is over 4 km and will affect about 10 communities. It would have significant impact."

'David and Goliath'

The decision to grant the monitoring array after refusing the fracking application was "bizarre", she added.

"We're not dinosaurs, we recognise there has to be development but there clearly should be a need for that development.

"The need for monitoring was outlined as mitigation works for the main application, that need dissolved when the fracking application was refused."

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

The group's barrister will set out the campaigners' case at the High Court and a judge will decide if it should proceed to judicial review.

"Our hope is the judge will see the fatal flaw in the process and grant permission to proceed," said Ms Warner.

Campaigners have raised £8,000, through crowd funding and fundraisers, to cover legal costs and potential damages.

Ms Warner added: "This is a David and Goliath situation. Cuadrilla have spent about £100m overall.

"We have raised about £8,000 over the last 18 months to fight them. They have spent loads and loads and we were at Garstang show with a bucket trying to raise funds."

Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - was suspended in the UK in 2011 following earth tremors in Blackpool where Cuadrilla previously drilled.

It is a technique in which water and chemicals are pumped into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.

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