(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors)
The prospects for British shale gas firms got a boost today as a local planning officer in Lancashire recommended a proposed fracking programme should be approved.
Fracking is deemed legal in the UK subject to planning and environmental approval though operations have been minimal thus far.
Cuadrilla is at the vanguard of the UK’s nascent shale industry and it has been pursuing applications for two separate fracking projects near Blackpool.
Decisions were previously deferred in January and the applications will be discussed at the council prior for a decision anticipated next week.
Lancashire’s most senior planning officer has in a report recommended that the council should approve the application for fracking at the Little Plumpton site subject to certain environmental conditions relating to water courses and noise pollution.
It is recommended meanwhile that the application for the Roseacre site should be rejected due to the impact on local traffic.
Cuadrilla said in a statement: “In January 2015 officers recommended refusal at Preston New Road only on grounds of night-time noise and we duly submitted additional information on mitigation measures which was publicly consulted on to further bring down noise levels well below limits set out in government guidance.
“We note that as in January the planning officer’s report is satisfied with all other aspects of the planning applications in particular with regard to drilling and fracking.”
Cuadrilla also said it was disappointed that the planning officer’s report did not support the company’s proposed solutions to the traffic concerns for the Roseacre site.
“Whilst we remain confident that our original proposed route was adequate the alternative route suggested also met with all necessary guidelines in our view.”
The company highlighted that aside from traffic concerns the planners are satisfied with all other aspects of the Roseacre Wood planning applications.
An approval of Cuadrilla’s fracking applications would be a boon to the energy sector which needs to advance significantly in the coming months and years if the sector’s early stage promise can be realised.
Ken Cronin chief executive of industry group United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) said: “It is good news that the Lancashire County Council planning officer is recommending that the planning application at Preston New Road is approved reflecting the hard work Cuadrilla has done to address concerns that have been raised.”
Cuadrilla believes its acreage in Lancashire could host at least 200 trillion cubic feet of gas.
According to the British Geological Society there could be in the order of 822 and 2281 trillion cubic feet of gas within the Bowland shale basin.
quoted IGas () is another of the leading early stage UK shale gas firms. IGAS is partnered with INEOS GDF Suez and Total. It has also has acreage in the North West as well as Scotland and southern England.
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