Lancashire County Council seeks clarification over local consent to fracking

Anti-fracking campaigner Photo: Tony Worrall

Lancashire County Council this month urged the government to clarify how residents will give consent for local fracking sites.


The council called on the government to ensure local councils make decisions on fracking. The government has said fracking will only be allowed if there is local community support, but has not yet clarified how consent is measured or from whom it is sought.

At a full board meeting on Thursday, October 12, members approved the motion. They called on the government to commit to ensuring planning permission for fracking is issued only by the county council.

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County Councilor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for Economic Development and Growth, said: ‘When the fracking moratorium was introduced in 2019 it was welcomed by Lancashire residents as local residents had seen years of disruption in their lives, and there was a considerable cost to the public purse to manage the protests.

“The new Prime Minister has lifted the moratorium, but made a clear commitment that fracking will only happen in areas with local community support. We welcome this, because it is right that local people have the final say on whether or not fracking is happening in their area.

“We now need clarity on what local consent means in practice, which is why we are writing to the government to ask. As the organization responsible for planning hydraulic fracturing applications, we need this information, so we are updating our policies on how submitted proposals will be evaluated. »

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Riggott said the council believes that planning decisions should rest with the county council, as local officials are best placed to understand the needs and wishes of their local communities.

The council said any fracking plans after the moratorium is lifted would be subject to planning approval from Lancashire County Council. The council has a legal obligation to prepare a local plan on how applications will be assessed and must take into account government direction and policy.

Riggott said: “Because this is the planning body for hydraulic fracturing, the council should remain neutral on whether it is good or bad that the moratorium has been lifted.

“This is so that any request that may come in can be considered impartially and avoid ‘pre-determination,’ which can leave decisions open to legal redress.”

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