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In a landmark decision, the UK Department of Communities and Local Government upheld on Thursday an appeal by gas exploration company Cuadrilla Resources, allowing it to plan for exploratory horizontal fracking at a site in Lancashire in northwestern England.
Cuadrilla had said in July of last year that it would appeal the Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse it planning permission to drill, hydraulically fracture, and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells on each of two sites, Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.
On Thursday, the department overturned the Lancashire County Council decision to refuse Cuadrilla applications for planning permission to frack at the Preston New Road site. The department also deferred a decision on the Roseacre Wood site to give more time to the company to provide further analyses and to allow other parties to express their opinion.
“It is clear that the government supports the development of a shale gas industry, but I would ask them to do more to address the concerns of local communities and the councilors who represent them by supporting the best environmental controls,” County Councilor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said in a statement.
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Local community organizations said they were ‘disgusted’ at the decision, according to a statement by Residents Action on Fylde Fracking.
In May of this year, councilors of the county of North Yorkshire approved industrial tests in a move that would allow fracking in the UK for the first time in five years.
Then in August, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a plan to pay more shale gas proceeds to residents than originally planned. Under the new plan, the Prime Minister believes that options to share proceeds of shale should include money directly to residents, compared to previous proposals, which included money for community trusts or councils only.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.