Public to examine frack bid

Drill bid: A Cuadrilla drilling rig exploring for gas at Preese Hall on the Fylde
Drill bid: A Cuadrilla drilling rig exploring for gas at Preese Hall on the Fylde

Members of the public can put environmental issues related to fracking under the microscope through the Environment Agency.

The agency is currently examining issues surrounding energy company Cuadrilla Resources application to drill and frack for natural gas at two sites on the Fylde.

As part of the process Cuadrilla has submitted planning applications to Lancashire County Council to explore at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton and at Roseacre Wood.

Public consultation on the planning permission at the former is now closed but people can comment on the Roseacre bid until next Friday.

In tandem with the planning Cuadrilla has applied for environmental permits to go ahead with the process which campaigners fear will damage the environment, countryside and water supply.

Tony Poole from the Environment Agency said: “As part of our permitting process we review applications in detail and carefully consider comments received during the consultation to establish whether the information is complete; to enable the permit to be determined or to understand whether further information is required.

“As such it is not unusual for us to ask for additional information to help our assessment. Due to the interest in these applications we believe it is right that we publicise receipt of this information.”

He said the public could comment on the new information. He said if the permit process is allowed to continue the consultation will continue in a second phase and a further document will be published allowing people to see the EA’s position.

“It gives us an opportunity to obtain further comment, which will inform, and could alter, our final decision.

“If we are to carry out further consultation we will notify people when any second consultation is to open; to welcome any new comments people wish to submit for our consideration before we make a final decision.”

He said that second procedure would last four weeks.

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “We support public involvement in the decisions being made on our proposed exploration sites.”

The public can view the details at https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk.

l Residents across the Fylde coast are still able to give their views on plans to drill a test well at a proposed fracking site on the Fylde coast.

People wishing to make representations to Lancashire County Council about the site at Roseacre Wood have until Friday, September 19, to do so.

A consultation on another proposed site, off Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton, expired on Friday.

It received around 11,000 letters from members of the public.

People can respond to the consultation on Roseacre by email at devcon@lancashire.gov.uk, in writing, or online at www.lancashire.gov.uk.