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Court of Appeal to hear residents' appeal against decision to allow fracking in Lancashire

A group of residents are appealing a decision by the planning division of the High Court to allow fracking in Fylde, Lancashire.

No fracking

30 August 2017

The appeal will be heard at the Court of Appeal from today (Wednesday 30 August 2017) and is expected to last two days. The judgment is likely to be reserved.
On 29 June 2015, Lancashire County Council refused planning permission to Cuadrilla Bowland Limited to use a site off Preston New Road for fracking.  Cuadrilla appealed this decision, which, following a public inquiry, was recommended for approval by an Inspector and then confirmed by the Secretary of State on 6 October 2016.
In response to this Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG), made up of local residents who live near the proposed fracking site, wrote to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, in October 2016 requesting the Government reconsider its decision, however, this was refused.
As a result, PNRAG’s solicitors at law firm Leigh Day applied for a statutory review of the decision under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. However, the planning division of the High Court dismissed this challenge in April 2017.
The residents group applied for permission to appeal the High Court judgment and this was granted in June 2017.
The appeal is based on four grounds, namely that the Secretary of State and the Inspector made errors of law by: 
  1. misinterpreting a policy protecting against harm to the landscape; 
  2. wrongly applying the National Planning Policy Framework; 
  3. denying a fair hearing during the planning inquiry; and 
  4. using a wildly different test for assessing the impact on the quality of life of those living nearby.
Rowan Smith, the solicitor at the law firm Leigh Day dealing with the case, said:
“The Republic of Ireland’s recent ban shows how controversial it would be to allow fracking in Lancashire’s valued countryside. 
“Throw in the fact that central government is seeking to overturn the decision of a locally elected council, and it is obvious why Preston New Road Action Group is taking this fight all the way.”

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