Sajid Javid has overturned Lancashire council’s rejection of a fracking site, paving the way for shale company Cuadrilla to drill in the county next year and provoking outrage from local groups, environmentalists and politicians.

The council cited visual impact and noise when it turned down the company’s two planning applications to frack on the Fylde last year, but a month later Cuadrilla submitted an appeal.

What is fracking?

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a way of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations that are often deep underground. It involves pumping water, chemicals and usually sand underground at high pressure to fracture shale – hence the name – and release the gas trapped within to be collected back at the surface.

The technology has transformed the US energy landscape in the last decade, owing to the combination of high-volume fracking – 1.5m gallons of water per well, on average – and the relatively modern ability to drill horizontally into shale after a vertical well has been drilled.

On Thursday, the communities secretary, Javid, said he had accepted the appeal for one of the sites, at Preston New Road. The move marks a major step up in the scale of exploratory fracking in the UK, as it green lights four wells compared to the single well approved for fracking in North Yorkshire earlier this year. …continue reading at The Guardian

 

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