The fiasco of allowing fracking at Preston New Road has been an exercise in trampling over democracy and the wishes of local people
Fracking is due to begin at a site in Lancashire “in the next few weeks” after the government gave the final nod to a second test well.
The site already had planning permission and environmental permits in place, and exploratory fracking at the first well was signed off in July, subject to the company providing proof that the Cuadrilla had sufficient funding to back the operations and decommissioning the site afterwards.
Lancashire County Council had originally blocked planning permission for fracking at the site, but the government “called in” the case and gave permission for up to four exploratory wells.
Caroline Lucas, former Green party co-leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion, criticised energy minister Claire Perry for announcing the decision while Parliament is in recess over the party conference season.
Lucas said: “Claire Perry has deliberately signed off this second well during recess so that MPs - including many from her own party who are opposed to this move - can't hold her to account.
"The fiasco of allowing fracking at Preston New Road has been an exercise in trampling over democracy and the wishes of local people,” she added.
Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla said: “We are delighted to receive this consent. We are currently completing works on site in readiness to start hydraulically fracturing both wells in the next few weeks.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that some 20 Conservative MPs were planning to vote down government proposals, currently under consultation, to allow exploratory fracking to go ahead without planning permission.
Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for the Ecologist. She was formerly the deputy editor of the Environmentalist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.