Fylde MP welcomes fracking site appeal refusal

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has welcomed the Government's decision to block a hydraulic fracturing site development in Roseacre.

Secretary of State Kit Malthouse today ruled against an appeal by Cuadrilla to develop the site at Roseacre Wood, stating: "Safe and suitable access to the site for all people would not be achieved and there would be an unacceptable impact on highways safety."

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “It was clear from the outset that these particular rural roads were in no way suitable for the safe development of a hydraulic fracturing site.

“That was reinforced to me when I spent time with local residents walking down the roads in question including looking at how an HGV, which they brought in for the day, would negotiate junctions on those roads.

“It was because of these concerns that I opposed this at every stage in the process and I highlighted and reiterated these concerns just a few months ago when I held a Parliamentary debate on the matter.”

Mr Menzies met with members of Roseacre Awareness Group several times throughout the initial planning application and subsequent appeal, objecting to the scheme on highways grounds at all stages of the proceedings.

The Secretary of State's decision letter states: "The Secretary of State considers that since safe and suitable access to the site for all people would not be achieved and there would be an unacceptable impact on highways safety, the scheme would be contrary to paragraphs 108 and 109 of the revised NPPF.

"The Secretary of State considers overall that the proposal does not represent sustainable development. He considers that highway safety issues carry very substantial weight against the proposal, and given the potentially very serious consequences identified in paragraphs 96-123 above, he concludes that in this case highway safety is a determinative issue.

"He further considers that the economic impacts on local business, and the impacts on community recreation and amenity carry moderate weight against the proposal.

"He has given careful consideration to the other objections raised, but is content that other matters of concern could be satisfactorily controlled by planning conditions or by other regulatory regimes, and as such, they can be attributed little negative weight in the planning balance."

The letter further states: "Overall the Secretary of State agreed with the original Inspector at IR12.499 and IR12.849-12.851, that whilst the actual duration of the highest HGV flows would be relatively short, the volume and percentage increases in HGV traffic that would arise at those times would be high.

"He agreed that this, combined with the deficiencies of the route, would be likely to result in a real and unacceptable risk to the safety of people using the public highway, including vulnerable road users. He agreed that in the absence of satisfactory mitigation measures, it could not be concluded that the use of the preferred route would represent a safe and sustainable approach."

Cuadrilla can appeal against the decision.