Day one of presentations ends in farce as Cuadrilla asks for deferment for both applications

Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee are currently determining the two applications for Little Plumpton (Preston New Road) and Roseacre Wood. Four dates have been set aside whereby local groups and individuals are given the opportunity to present to the councillors.

The dates are:

  • Friday 23 January (Little Plumpton – 30 minute presentations)
  • Monday 26 January (Roseacre – 30 minute presentations)
  • Wednesday 28 January (Little Plumpton – four minute presentations)
  • Thursday January (Roseacre – four minute presentations)  

Day 1: Friday 23 January

Approximately 30 members of the public – or observers as we were labelled – were allowed into the council chamber for the first day of  the 30 minute presentations for the Little Plumpton. LCC told us that it was unusual to allow so many observers into the chamber at this stage of the process!

There were seven 30 minute slots

  • Preston New Road Action Group – Pat Davies (Chair)
  • Preston New Road Action Group – Mike Hill (independent oil & gas engineer and Fylde resident), Professor David Smythe (Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at Glasgow University)
  • Defend Lytham – Ken Hopwood (Fylde Councillor  and local resident), Janet Lees (DL)
  • Frack Free Fylde – Eve Mcnamara (REAF), Steve Garsed (ex-HSE, sits on various churches environment committees, Damien Short  (Director: Human Rights Consortium and Senior Lecturer in Human Rights, School of Advanced Study)
  • RAFF – Dr. Paul Kelly, (retired GP, ex director of Medact), Ashley Bowes QC
  • FOE  –  Helen Rimmer (FoE NW Campaigner), Jake White (FoE solicitor), Naomi Luhde-Thomson (FoE planning advisor)
  • Cuadrilla – Francis Egan, Eric Vaughan, et al


Preston New Road Action Group started off by showing a short film about the different communities around Little Plumpton that will be affected by the development of a fracking pad. You can watch the film here.

We are hoping to be able to provide access to the presentations when they are made available. In the meantime, below are the Tweets that were tweeted in real time by RAFF from the chamber:

“Preston New Road presentations starting with short film about how fracking will affect ordinary people’s lives  #Lancsdecides

“Preston New Road Action Group pointing out that communities will only be 230 metres from #fracking pad-health implications #LancsDecides

“Mike Hill presentation-to get amount of gas out 3.5k wells needed & 120-200 pads between Preston & Blackpool #LancsDecides

“Prof David Smythe on geology says faulting crucial problem for fracking here & faults will be conduits for contamination #LancsDecides

“Prof David Smythe says #Cuadrilla‘a 3-D geological survey for Preston New Road is inadequate #LancsDecides

“Janet Lees from Defend Lytham says West Lancashire has most top quality agricultural land in W Britain. Will be lost to shale #LancsDecides~

“Breaking-word here is that Cuadrilla is asking LCC to defer planning apps for both sites till later date! Does LCC know? #LancsDecides

“Eve Macnamara from REAF says that #fracking will be a provable economic burden for #Lancashire

“Damian Short says #Cuadrilla‘s application didn’t include a human rights impact assessment. #LancsDecides

“Social science example of Barnett shale shows that costs of development outweigh benefits. #LancsDecides” (Damien Short)

“Dr Paul Kelly director of Medact says evidence shows significant risks for communities in #Lancashire #LancsDecides

“Dr Kelly says current regulatory framework doesn’t come close to protecting health of public. #LancsDecides

“Weight of evidence combined with Precautionary Principle means that councillors must reject applications says Dr Paul Kelly #LancsDecides

“Ashley Bowes QC says LCC in breach of its development plan in terms of landscape impact of high impact fracking #LancsDecides

“Francis Egan just arrived before @CuadrillaUK gives presentations. Public gallery still haven’t been alerted about possible deferment”

“Word from outside County Hall is that planning meeting will still go ahead when committee will consider Cuadrilla’s deferment letter”

“Helen Rimmer, Friends of the Earth, says their consultation revealed that 63% of Lancashire residents want fracking banned #LancsDecides

“FoE planning advisor Naomi Luhde Thomson & FoE lawyer Jake White tell councillors specific aspects they should be considering #LancsDecides

“FoE advises LCC to – yes reject on noise  – but also on grounds of waste, global warming, transport, climate & limited economic benefits:

“Egan up now saying they have new noise mitigation plans & that they are going for deferral on both applications #LancsDecides

“Everyone shuffling about as @CuadrillaUK chap gives charisma bypass presentation mumbling about decibels. Even Cuadrilla look embarrassed!”

“Oh my @CuadrillaUK really need some tuition in how to present. Awful compared with professionalism of all those that went before them”

We were halfway through the proceedings when we learned (from an outside source) that Cuadrilla had asked for a deferment for both applications. We were not informed of this development until Cuadrilla announced it as part of their presentation. Readers will remember that a couple of days before, LCC’s planning officers had announced that they were advising that both the applications be rejected. Curiously they cited noise (both sites) and traffic (Roseacre) as the main reasons, ignoring the major issues such as damage to public health, air/water pollution, disposal of flowback, etc. You can read our thoughts on this development here.

Our advice to Lancs County Council is to refuse Cuadrilla the extra time and reject both aplications outright.  Cuadrilla has had months and months to prepare for this and to push this request onto the councillors and residents at the last minute is grossly unfair. As Friends of the Earth said: “This is yet another example of Cuadrilla trying to circumvent the planning process and creating more uncertainty for communities by doing so.”

Meanwhile, the presentations will  continue and RAFF will be back inside County Hall to hear those on behalf of Roseacre, on Monday 26 January.

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