MANCHESTER anti-fracking campaigners gathered outside the high court yesterday as the government’s decision to introduce fracking at a site in Lancashire is challenged.
Preston Road Action Group, a residents’ group in Lancashire, is challenging Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to overturn the government’s decision to approve test drilling at fracking sites in Lancashire.
Mr Javid granted planning permission on 6 October 2016 for Cuadrilla, an oil and gas exploration and production company, to begin work on a Preston Road site. He had overturned Lancashire County Council’s rejection of plans for the site.
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The case will be heard over several days alongside another case by Lancashire anti-fracking campaigner Gayzer Frackman, who will seek to bring action against the secretary of state over climate change and human rights impacts from fracking.
There are other legal challenges being brought against the government from local community associations that oppose fracking.
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Retired fracking campaigner Barbara Richardson, 60, who lives close-by to another Cuadrilla proposed site in Roseacre Wood, is part of a fracking campaign group that will also challenge the government in April or May this year.
Barbara Richardson said: “We are just residents and have researched this industry now for three years, we are not scaremongers, we’ve done our research properly, and we’re of the firm opinion that onshore, unconventional fossil fuel extraction is not a good thing for communities.
“This is not about people, this is about money, this is about profit for the industry.” – Barbara Richardson
“It is not a not in my backyard thing, there will be potentially hundreds of sites and thousands, well 63 per cent of the country, is licensed so this industry could impact on thousands of communities across the country. It’s unacceptable in terms of risk to our water, our air, and soil, there’s too many risks of pollution, there’s too many risks of earthquakes, there’s too many risks to people’s health.”
The case will continue over the next few days at Manchester High Court.
Cuadrilla have been contacted for comment but no comment is available as of yet.