April 13, 2017

For the first time in the UK, shale rock will be fracked horizontally as two High Court challenges against the government’s decision to give fracking the go-ahead in Lancashire have failed. At a hearing at Manchester Civil Justice Centre last month, the judge was told the planning application by developer Cuadrilla was refused by Lancashire County Council in 2015 but later granted following an appeal and a planning inquiry. Mr Justice Dove, giving his ruling on the Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) case, said none of the grounds argued have been made out in substance. Lancashire County Council refused permission to extract shale gas at the site in 2015 on the grounds of noise and traffic impact, but Cuadrilla appealed to the secretary of state who subsequently ruled in their favour.
Cuadrilla has identified and proposed two locations to develop as temporary exploration sites by drilling, hydraulically fracturing and testing the flow of natural gas from up to four horizontal wells at each site. One of those proposed new exploration sites is just off Preston New Road, in the parish of Westby-with-Plumptons, in the Fylde, Lancashire. The other proposed site is at Roseacre Wood, in the parish of Treales, Roseacre and Wharles, also in the Fylde. Drilling into and hydraulically fracturing the shale rock over a mile beneath the Preston New Road site and testing the flow rates of the large quantities of natural gas locked up in that shale would help us to determine how much natural gas could be commercially extracted from the shale underlying Lancashire. Drilling is expected to commence in Q2 2017.