Fracking due to go ahead in Lancashire after High Court appeal fails

Cuadrilla is now free to begin work on the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well in Lancashire after an attempt to temporarily block the firm failed at the High Court on Friday.

Anti-fracking campaigner Bob Dennett, who applied for the interim injunction, claimed emergency response planning and procedures at the Preston New Road site were inadequate.

But Mr Justice Supperstone ruled there was not a “serious issue” to be tried which would justify an interim order.

Mr Dennett said he would continue to fight.

“We have been advised that there are two clear errors in this judge’s determination that leave the way open for us now to take this to the Court of Appeal, which is what we are obviously going to do,” he said.

An additional legal challenge brought by Friends of the Earth regarding regulation at the site is still being considered by the High Court.

Jamie Peters, Friends of the Earth fracking campaigner, who was at the High Court, said: “In a week in which the scale of action needed to stop climate chaos has dominated the headlines, it is simply wrong to be heralding the start of a new fossil-fuel industry.”

“You can have fracking or you can deal with climate change – you can’t do both,” he added.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, called the ruling “bitterly disappointing” and urged the government to ditch “its reckless dash for gas and invest instead in a renewable revolution of solar, wind and tidal power”.

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan welcomed the ruling, saying in a statement: “If commercially recoverable this will displace costly imported gas, with lower emissions, significant economic benefit and better security of energy supply for the UK.”

Protesters have set up camp outside the site virtually around the clock since it opened, concerned about, among other things, the contamination of drinking water and earthquakes.

Fracking had been suspended since 2011 after it caused two earth tremors – one of 2.3 magnitude.

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