Anti-fracking campaigners lose High Court battle

Campaigners have lost a battle against fracking in Lancashire after a High Court ruling. Preston New Road Action Group had challenged Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to give the go-ahead […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Campaigners have lost a battle against fracking in Lancashire after a High Court ruling.

Preston New Road Action Group had challenged Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to give the go-ahead for Cuadrilla to frack.

It followed Lancashire County Council refusing the application in 2015, following which Cuadrilla launched an appeal.

The government then overturned the council’s rejection, giving the energy firm the green light in October last year.

The action group sought to have Mr Javid’s decision declared “unlawful”, however the High Court ruled in favour of the Communities Secretary today.

The campaigners believe the decision sets a “terrible precedent” for other communities facing the unconventional gas industry and that Flyde 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”.

Pat Davies, Chair of the action group added: “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.”

Campaigners recently occupied Centrica’s main office to throw an anti-fracking protest party and staged an animal-themed invasion of a public relations firm to protest against fracking.