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High Court gives Lancashire fracking site campaigners permission for a judicial review

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Lancashire County Council faces further legal action regarding Roseacre Wood – a site identified for potential fracking – due to the fact that it failed to consider the effects of seismic monitoring in the area.

The council initially gave planning permission to Cuadrilla for the monitoring array – which monitors water quality and seismic activity – so they could explore the possibility of fracking in the area.

Cuadrilla is an independent energy company based in the UK, and its assessment of the area’s shale gas reserves led to a full fracking application being submitted to the council.

However, due to potential traffic problems in the immediate area, the company’s application for a site at Roseacre Wood was rejected.

The legal challenge is expected to argue that the local council did not consider the cumulative effects of the monitoring array before giving permission to Cuadrilla to install buried seismic monitoring stations, surface seismic monitoring stations and three boreholes, all of which were located within a 4km radius of Roseacre Wood.

Campaigners will also state that the council contravened its own development plan policies when it gave permission to the energy firm.

The UK Government has already made it clear that if a local authority does not act quickly on planning applications for fracking operations then MPs would have the power to intervene.

However, critics have claimed that the policy does not consider the environment or impact on local communities, saying that it is solely aimed at ensuring more fracking projects go ahead to appease energy firms.

The Centre for Policy Studies, meanwhile, has this week stated that shale gas extraction’s negative connotations have been “greatly overestimated”, highlighting that previous estimates for methane leakage during energy production have not given a fair indication.