|Demonstrators outside County Hall today|
Photo by Miles Newman
Members of Lancashire County Council's Development Control Committee have voted to defer consideration of applications relating to a site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, until 10am on Monday 29 June 2015.
The deferral will give councillors time to consider written legal advice requested during today's meeting.
The written legal advice will be shared with the committee at the beginning of Thursday's meeting (10am, 25 June, 2015), which will then continue with its scheduled agenda, to consider applications to explore for shale gas at Roseacre Wood, by drilling, hydraulically fracking and testing the flow of gas, and for monitoring their operations.
The advice will then be published on the county council's website, via a link from its planning page www.lancashire.gov.uk/planning.
Crowds of protesters came by coach, train and tractor convoy to demonstrate their opposition to Cuadrilla's applications for exploratory fracking at Preston New Road and at Roseacre Wood.
Despite overwhelming regional and national opposition to fracking, the Council has been threatened publicly and privately by political and business interests. The government has made changes in legislation eroding the powers of the local authority to protect local communities from damaging developments, prioritising the interests of business over democracy or public welfare.
So, from the day that Cuadrilla set its sights on Lancashire, it was always going to be an expensive business to defend the county against a company with the government in its pocket.
As Chancellor George Osborne's leaked email made clear, it was always going to be the case that if Cuadrilla's applications were declined, Cuadrilla would appeal and the regulatory framework would be modified as necessary to allow the Secretary of State to recover and allow the applications. If this was not threat enough, it now seems that there is an implied threat that Cuadrilla may use ISDS legislation to sue the Council if it should have the temerity to do the job it was elected to do.
The council faces a difficult decision which will be costly whatever is decided. But if fracking is refused, the damage is recoverable. If it goes ahead, the damage will blight the region for generations to come.
Every generation has its predatory forces to face and its battles to fight. This is ours.
38 Degrees campaign video:
Lancashire people talk about fracking