The industry body that represents the U.K. onshore oil and gas industry has asked the Government to review the decision-making process after councillors rejected energy firm Cuadrilla’s application to start hydraulic fracturing in Lancashire.
The decision is seen as a setback for Cuadrilla and the U.K. shale gas industry.
U.K. Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) said on Monday that Lancashire County Council’s decision on the Preston New Road site was “extremely disappointing” and goes against a recommendation from the council’s planning officer and advice from the council’s own legal officer, as well as other legal advice.
Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, commented: “An important plank of the Government’s energy policy and manifesto commitment has been reduced to a position that despite all the advice a rejection has been given. This after 15 months of a long drawn out process cannot be right and I urge the government to urgently review the process of decision making.”
Cuadrilla said it was still “committed to the responsible exploration of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath Lancashire”.
The company continued: “We will now take time to consider our options regarding an appeal for Preston New Road, along with also considering appeals for the planning applications recently turned down, against officer advice, for monitoring and site restoration at Grange Hill, and last week’s decision to refuse the Roseacre Wood application.”
Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokeswoman, responding to the council’s decision, told the BBC that the Government respects the planning process, adding: “We will continue to look at how we can develop this industry in the U.K.”