Friends of the Earth lose Lancashire fracking permit challenge

An anti-fracking protester writes messages on a wall in Lancashire Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Other campaigners have previously lost appeals against fracking at Little Plumpton

Campaigners have lost the latest High Court challenge against fracking at a site in Lancashire.

Friends of the Earth claimed the Environment Agency (EA) failed to consider techniques which could reduce the environmental impact of fracking at Cuadrilla's site in Little Plumpton.

The environmental campaign group was concerned with how contaminated waste fluid was dealt with.

But Mr Justice Supperstone rejected the challenge.

The environmental campaign group said the EA should have considered other techniques that produce less waste when it considered Cuadrilla's application to drill for shale gas at the Preston New Road site in December 2017.

But at the hearing in London, the judge did not uphold the challenge as there were "no substantial changes" to the original permit granted in October 2016.

After the ruling, Friends of the Earth campaigner Tony Bosworth said the group was "obviously disappointed" but vowed to "continue to scrutinise the fracking industry closely".

An EA spokesman said: "We welcome today's court ruling, which affirmed that we correctly made our decision to approve changes to the environmental permit for hydraulic fracturing operations at Preston New Road.

Cuadrilla began the fracking process at the site in October, and announced in November that shale gas had begun flowing at the site for the first time.

The company, however, has repeatedly been forced to halt operations after underground tremors were detected.

Other campaigners have previously lost appeals against fracking at the site.

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