Time extension approved for shale gas exploration

A ministerial written statement from last September has helped persuade an inspector to grant a further three-year temporary permission for shale gas exploration in Lancashire.

The proposal involved retaining a compound, exploratory well and seismic and pressure monitoring in open countryside crossed by public rights of way. Permission had initially been granted in 2010.The inspector agreed that the coastal plain landscape in which the site lay was not particularly sensitive to change. Although other equipment would be brought in from time to time, she was satisfied that the overall impact would be temporary and reversible.

She found that the proposal would not have significant impacts on local residents or the setting of a grade II listed church and that groundwater would be protected by encasing the well in steel and cement. Since the scheme did not involving hydraulic fracturing, she concluded that any impact from seismic events or vibration would not cause land instability problems.

Inspector: Elizabeth Ord; Written representations

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