Lancashire Group Loses Anti-Fracking Legal Challenge
For immediate release
Wednesday 12th April
Preston New Road Action Group react with heartfelt disappointment that Mr Justice Dove has ruled in favour of the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid MP, following a Manchester High Court hearing.
The group challenged the lawfulness of Sajid Javid’s overruling of Lancashire County Council’s solid decision to refuse Cuadrilla planning permission to frack at the Preston New Road site. The group sought to have Sajid Javid’s determination declared unlawful, weighing on five points of law having being breached.
Today’s decision also sets a terrible precedent for other communities facing the unconventional gas industry. The fracking industry does not constitute as sustainable development and is a backwards step for the UK’s commitment to mitigating climate change and upholding the Paris Agreement.
Pat Davies, Chair of Preston New Road Action Group said:
“The ramifications of allowing an unwanted industry to proceed, against the express wishes of the democratically-elected local planning committee and local community’s wishes, are immense.
“Residents are suffering ill health and overwhelming anxiety about their future, with concerns for the the environment they and future generations live in. The Fylde Coast will become the guinea pig for this dirty industry and no longer be a safe or desirable place to live, work or retire to.
“For residents to have no say in shaping the community they live in, is also against the overarching commitment outlined as a key aim within the government’s own National Planning Policy Framework.
“This contradictory approach smacks of muddled thinking at best, or autocracy at worst. If a planning process can be controlled by external corporate interests and the government policy of the moment, it is neither fit for purpose and begs the question whether local democracy now plays any valid part in the planning process.”
Ironically, 46 miles down the road from Preston New Road, the government has devolved power from Westminster to Manchester to allow local determination.
Theresa May’s already-worn oratory platitudes of “a government for all” and “righting burning injustice” has proved worthless and it is not the reality experienced by communities at Preston New Road.
Claire Stephenson from the group said:
“Justice and democracy have not been observed in Lancashire. We are truly dismayed at this decision. We will now take time to reflect on the ruling and liaise with our legal counsel to advise us further. We said no and we will continue to say no. This is not the end.”