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Fracking refused at second site in Lancashire

image captionEnergy firm Cuadrilla applied to frack at Roseacre Wood

The government has refused planning permission for fracking at a second site in Lancashire.

Energy firm Cuadrilla's application for Roseacre Wood was refused by the local council and was the subject of a public inquiry.

The company, already drilling at nearby Preston New Road, appealed.

But the secretary of state said highway safety issues have not been "satisfactorily addressed" and refused planning permission.

Cuadrilla said it was "naturally disappointed" with the decision.

image copyrightFriends of the Earth
image captionAnti-fracking campaigners staged a demonstration outside the public inquiry in Blackpool

Lancashire County Council refused permission to extract shale gas at both Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton in 2015 on the grounds of noise and traffic impact, but Cuadrilla appealed.

Analysis - Judy Hobson, BBC North West Environment Correspondent

This was all about planning policy, not fracking. Today's ruling made clear there were no concerns about water quality or earthquakes as the roads were unsuitable for the trucks.

However it is another blow for Cuadrilla. The company has already expressed concerns about the future of the shale gas industry due to the fact they must stop drilling every time an earth tremor of 0.5 is registered.

They say if that 0.5 limit - they hit it eight times in October - is not raised it could "strangle the industry."

For now Caudilla say there is a lot of gas under Lancashire and they plan to continue at their current location but they have already moved all the fracking equipment off the site.

I doubt we will see any more fracking applications unless that limit is lifted and there is no sign yet the Government will do that.

In October 2016, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid approved plans for fracking at the Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton.

But the second proposed site, Roseacre Wood, was not given permission and Cuadrilla was told to "think again" about how Roseacre's country lanes would cope with heavy lorries.

Cuadrilla submitted three revised routes for traffic, but Secretary of State James Brokenshire said "the proposed development would have a serious and very significant adverse impact on the safety of people using the public highway".

'Fantastic news'

A department letter added Mr Brokenshire "considers that it is not possible to conclude that the demonstrable harm associated with that issue would be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level".

It said the "highway safety issues carry very substantial weight against the proposal" and therefore planning permission was refused.

Cuadrilla wanted to drill up to four wells at the site.

A spokesperson said: "We are naturally disappointed about the decision on Roseacre Wood and will examine the details in full before reaching a position.

"However, we continue to be focused on the shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, where we have recently released very encouraging flow test results from the UK's first horizontal shale gas well."

Jamie Peters, from Friends of the Earth, said the decision was "fantastic news that will come as a huge relief to Roseacre residents".

"It's also a triumph for the tireless campaigners who have worked long and hard for this outcome," he added.

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