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« Thought for the day | Main | On namecalling »

Plans coming to fruition

The tsunami of deception and misinformation that has characterised the greens' response to the prospect of an unconventional oil and gas industry in the UK seems to have had the desired effect:

Fracking should not be allowed to take place at two sites in Lancashire due to concerns about noise and traffic, the council's planning officer has said, in a major blow to the Government's plans for shale gas development.

Proposals by Cuadrilla to drill and frack at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood should both be refused by councillors at a vote next week, the official said, in documents published on Wednesday.

Fracking at both sites would lead to "unacceptable" levels of noise pollution for neighbouring properties, the planning officer said.

This is pretty remarkable stuff. Preston New Road (here) is a field next to an A-road. The idea that the noise levels will be unacceptable is patently absurd.

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Reader Comments (80)

So is noise pollution now a valid reason to object to windfarms?

Jan 21, 2015 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

What, no mention of chemicals?

Who are the neighbours?

They could be offered a six week holiday, at the appropriate time. :)

Jan 21, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Just appeal. It'll cost the Council a fortune, and the Inspectors' decision in favour of Cuadrilla will set a nationwide precedent.

Jan 21, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered Commentertolkein

In the R5 interview one of the antifrackers an exGreen party candidate said it was a ruse, ie something small to object to that So Cdra could show mitigation, and permission would be given, without it looking like it was the councillors that gave the green light.
- I imagine they've had the normal green threats.

Jan 21, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

It's up to Cuadrilla to submit supplementary information arguing the case for Preston New Road on the basis that the officials decision is flawed. They ought to have been given sight of the officials' recommendations and the reasons behind them.
As you say, on the face of it there appears to be no valid reason for refusing that site on the grounds of road access (and a condition can always be included requiring a limited road widening to ensure a turning slot into the site). The argument for noise disturbance is farcical. There are only three (four?) residential properties within 1km of the access to the site and all appear to be in close proximity to commercial or industrial buildings.
Any planning committee worth its salt would throw out the recommendation for Preston New Road and I can see no way that consent would not be granted on appeal. This has all the signs of a delaying tactic for political reasons, usually known as CYA.

Jan 21, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Does the council also object to any and all new buildings going up? Even a modest home generates months of extra traffic and noise - let alone commercial premises or a block of flats.


Jan 21, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

A house, not on my road, but on the nearby main road about 300m away, was the subject of substantial alterations for the best part of last year.

The noise was unbelievable a lot of the time...

But - hey - it wasn't a fracking site - so that's presumably alright, then...

Jan 21, 2015 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Hopefully, a planning inspector - sat in his London office - will reverse this decision on appeal as being 'in the national interest...'

Jan 21, 2015 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Greens have probably been more successful at infiltrating local councils where few people bother voting, than getting elected to parliament.

Greenpeace are against fracking, the only thing that has actually (rather than theoretically) succeeded in reducing CO2 output by a major emitting nation. Quelle surprise. Seems what they hate most is their irrelevance.

Jan 21, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Its really good to know you guys over there have a reliable supply of electricity when it gets cold. !!

Good lucky over the next couple of months !!

Look out for you older neighbours etc !!

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterthe Griss

And how long is this noise and disruption likely to last? At least an appeal might highlight the fact that a working fracked supply is no different from a conventional well-head, being quiet and inconspicuous. No wonder the greens don't like it!

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I live close to these locations. I'm surprised to see that noise pollution is raised as an issue, given that both sites are under 1 Km from the M55.

As for traffic, the Preston New Road site is not far from one of the M55 junctions and on a decent-sized A road, so has good access. Roseacre Wood can only be accessed via country roads/lanes, so would be more difficult for HGVs to access.

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterASK

People like Anders and his followers make it abundantly clear that mitigation for them really means zero CO2 emissions. Hence they hate shale gas with a vengeance. It is because there is an unknown and unquantifiable risk of something unknown happening that disturbs them, to the point that the world has to shut down.

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Planning Officers at local councils are required to make recommendations based on law, and relevent local and county policies. Generally, they do.

Planning Committees at local councils, are made up of locally elected politicians, who make decisions based on, what seemed politically, like a good idea at the time.

As others have identified above, this appears to be a decision deliberately delegated upwards, to the Planning Inspectorate, which is subject to political interference.

Any appeal, will not be determined until after the next General Election.

The Planning Committee (of local politicians) will be able to say, now, that they were obliged to conclude as they did, based on information and policy presented to them. They will then be able to take the credit for the Planning Inspectors decision, for the same reasons, whatever the decision.

Sir Humphrey Would be so proud of this demonstration of "democracy".

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

I've worked on land rigs situated in farmland in many countries . Properly noise-suppressed, they are not very disruptive at all compared to the farms nearby.

Most memorably, one rig in dairy-farming area in NZ twenty years ago, was so quiet that we could hold a normal volume conversation on the drill floor during drilling ops. The only time we couldn't hear each other was when the farmer came past on his noisy tractor. The same farmer who had protested loudly and held up the start of drilling, until he was handsomely compensated for the claimed distress the noise would cause his cows.

Yes there will be more traffic movements, but not as much or as for long as most building sites. Nowhere near as much as the nearby A-road.

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

As something of an aside, I had this turn up from 38 Degrees...

Dear David,

The government is trying to change the law so big energy firms can drill for gas under our homes without asking us. [1]

But together we can stop these plans in their tracks. To change the law, they need MPs to vote for it in parliament. And the vote’s in just a few weeks. [2] Let’s make it clear that backing dirty energy companies over constituents would be a toxic move.

A huge people-powered petition against the plans - which we can hand-in to our MPs - will make sure all MPs know the way they should vote. Will you stand up for your home - and everyone elses? Click here to sign the petition:


The plans - simple changes to existing trespass law - could mean your home surrounded by noisy machines, and your local park turned into a gas field. All without your permission. The process - known as fracking - could also poison our water and produce toxic waste. And it’s known to cause earthquakes. [3]

All over the country, people and local councils have been refusing planning permission to dirty energy companies for fracking. [4] But this change in the law takes away our power to say no to it happening under our homes.

When we work together, we’re stronger. And we’re not alone. Greenpeace supporters, Friends of the Earth members and thousands of grassroots campaigners are all standing hand-in-hand to stop these plans, for each other's homes. [5] It’s a truly people-powered effort. Will you join us?


Thanks for being involved,

The 38 Degrees team

[1] The Guardian: Government confirms plan to let fracking companies drill under homes:
[2] Parliament website: Infrastructure Bill 2014-2015:
[3] BBC News: Fracking tests near Blackpool ‘likely cause’ of tremors:
[4] Campaigns By You: WCBC, reject applications to explore and extract shale gas and coal bed methane:
The Guardian: Fracking firm lodging appeal after council rejects its planning application:
BBC News: Tamboran: Licence for fracking plans terminated:
[5] Greenpeace UK: Fracking:
Friends of the Earth: Fracking:

I didn't respond.

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:37 PM | Registered Commenterdjy

Wait till the Planners start considering birds bats and bees.

If you want to look for incompetancy and an organisation working against the national interest start first with planning departments. Not all but many.

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey


This is one of those things we need a power cut for. Even '38 degrees' supporters might sit up and take notice if the absence of sufficient power stations actually affected them directly.

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:45 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

BBC radio on at work now. They can barely contain their excitement at their predicted "Green Surge" in elections, repeatedly stating that these reactionary Luddites are the natural place for disaffected Labour voters to go.

"Your local park turned into a gas field". Where do they get this nonsense? Or to be more precise - why does the media not question it?

Jan 21, 2015 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Golf Charlie
Wind currently supplying 0.78GW so noise not a problem from that quarter today ;-)

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

My local community council objects to everything, and their standard grounds for objection is traffic. If the real council doesn't want a given development, they use this as evidence of community objections. If they do want it., they ignore them.

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

The protestors must be complaining about the potential noise from protestors.

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

Robert Christopher,
Re: free holidays for the neighbors.
We once had to take an ancient stone bridge over a railway out of service for a couple of months for a modification. One house was now served by the bridge. The owner had a right of access which required that if the bridge was taken down or out of service, he must be provided equivalent access. This would have been very expensive as there was no other way for him to get to his house because of the geography. Whatever we did would have to span the operating railway.

A holiday in Mallorca, 24/7 guard on the house and proper local care of his dog did the trick. And it cost far less.

In this case, there was but a single resident. I would think it challenging to decide who gets the holiday and who doesn't in the situation identified above.

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterjferguson

They did the same in south wales. There were no technical grounds for rejecting the proposal but 'noise' did the trick - in fact I believe the council/officers went as far as admitting that that was what they were doing it, just stopping it because they wanted to/thought it was 'bad thing'..

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

I am sure Putin will be proud of the work his Green lackeys have done!
Russia is proud of you Green Eco-Warriors and your work to damage the UK's economy!

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

I wonder if the planning officer is a member of a green blob organisation?

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:27 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

jferguson, as similar thing happened in a certain German-speaking country where a local farming couple was sent on holiday to Italy for a week while the gas company did the rig move using their access lane. The drilling manager asked the site engineering supervisor why he was trying to expense a week in a hotel in Italy, until situation was explained.

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

SandyS. Intriguing that windfarms only produce noise, when they are producing power.

Noise surveys produced in support of proposed windfarms, do not state the amount of noise, when the windfarm is operating at its maximum rated capacity.

Planning Committees and Green Luvvies only refer to maximum rated capacity, of windfarms, not the average power generation over a year.

The BBC only reports what current and former Grauniad employees, deem to be the correct message., which is that fracking must be opposed (obviously).

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

50 years ago there would have been very little complaint at a planning officer recommending refusal in the grounds that he thought it was a "bad thing", mainly because planning officers then had the interests of the community at heart while at the same time being able to see the "bigger picture".
We had a family friend in the 60s who was a local Town Councillor and he said that many of the decisions they came to were based, at least to some extent, on officers' hunches (officers being honest enough to admit that they were only hunches). Since the Councillors were railwaymen and shopkeepers and a barber and a market gardener and the officials had been at it a damn sight longer than they had they tended to trust these hunches and, he said, they were rarely wrong.
Now of course, as davidchappell says, there is at least a chance that the planner has a (political or sociological) vested interest which he sees no reason to declare, he is not interested in the community because he quite likely doesn't live in it, and he is also probably a theoretician and wouldn't have any truck with anything as "unscientific" as a hunch.
So you end up with bad decisions. Not just in planning.

As an ex-community council chairman I can assure you that if your local community council "objects to everything" then they will be ignored. And quite right too.

Jan 21, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

In my experience down 'ere, most planning officers are now young, female and green. Councillors on planning committees are a mixed bunch, but are generally aware that if they refuse a planning application, the decision to refuse must be based on the local plan (if it is up-to-date) and national policy, and if they lose a subsequent appeal, the council could have costs awarded against them. Bad decisions by the councillors can cost your local council (ie you) a lot of money.

Jan 21, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Mike Jackson, for many wannabe district councillors, decisions about local planning are a major motivation.

Once elected, the most desired committee to sit on, is Planning.

It provides instant power, and scope for prejudice, corruption, interfering with things you don't know anything about, etc.

On any "politically hot" planning application, they tend to vote in accordance with what their political bosses say, for no better reason than to oppose whatever the other lot propose to agree to. It is called democracy, and gives the political classes something to do, and justify their existence, and expenses. All parties are guilty, no matter what colour political flag they fly under.

Sadly, the local person, who genuinely cares about local issues, is considered an old fashioned dinosaur, or to put it politically correctly, "not on message".

Jan 21, 2015 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Mike Jackson, the current cohort of planning officers have been indoctrinated with Green propaganda from the get-go. At uni, they are taught that private transport is bad and public transport is good - whatever the cost. They are taught that closing off roads to make pedestrian malls is an unmitigated good (which it isn't, as anyone who has seen the empty, crime-ridden, windswept malls in cities knows). They are taught that "urban sprawl", which means people having a block of land with room for a garden and space for kids to play, is a terrible thing.

No amount of evidence to the contrary sways them.

In the 1970s, when this nonsense began, the trendy thing was what is called "Radford" style urban planning in Australia. This involved making houses oriented away from the street, communal areas instead of private yards, discouraging cars, and so on.

Nowadays, the places where it was forced on the community are crime-ridden slums, and action is being taken to reverse the model. Guess what - people are safer and look after the local landscape better when they own their little piece of it. And having the front door at the front of the house makes sense - who'dathunkit!

But these are isolated examples, and for the most, the planners are still locked in to their ideological mindsets.

There is a distinctly totalitarian flavour to these recipes - from the refusal to accept evidence to the notion that we can be made better people courtesy of wisdom from above.

And they hate, really hate, the common people being autonomous by having their own patch of land and their own means of getting about.

Jan 21, 2015 at 3:21 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Sadly, a lot of the problems discussed above is the result of our own political apathy. The greens/left have played a very clever game over a long period, in the case of the left this is particularly so since Militant was booted out of the Labour party in the 80s, and they are now enjoying the fruits of their efforts. As someone mentioned previously, the greens/left have taken an interest in politics at all levels and got their people elected. They have also taken over the UK's biggest propaganda agency the BBC. That is why you don't see idiotic green policies, such as intermittent and expensive windmills, given a proper and objective going over by a media organisation with almost universal domestic reach.

Jan 21, 2015 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

They seem to have taken Oxburgh's word at face value:

"There are other limiting factors in the UK, including the size and density of the population. And the process of fracking was extremely noisy."

Jan 21, 2015 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Philip Bratby, local authorities, like the BBC, have to have what appears to be an open recruitment policy.

Interview panels will be made up of those people considered to be politically correct, who will select the candidate they consider to be correct, politically.

Jan 21, 2015 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

TerryS "the density of the population" could be a euphemism.

Jan 21, 2015 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

This is politics. Cuadrilla will appeal against the decision to the Secretary of State, who will probably overturn the ruling and not have to face the local voters. The Council in turn will be able to say "Not me gov!".Happens a lot in other decisions e.g. opencast mining.

Jan 21, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

Johanna, your Radford equates in the UK to 1960's tower blocks. They solved all the problems of urban overcrowding, wartime bomb damage, scarcity of land, modern lifestyles, affordability etc.

Most have now been demolshed.

Jan 21, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Noise pollution from wells for a few weeks is unacceptable, but truly harmful noise from wind farms forever is acceptable?

"PEOPLE living near wind farms face a greater risk of suffering health complaints caused by the low-frequency noise generated by turbines, a groundbreaking study has found."

Jan 21, 2015 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

TIP Doomsday clock update Thu 4pm ‪#‎knowthetime‬
Atomic scientists set to make 'major announcement' about Doomsday Clock
"It is expected that key topics to be discussed at the event will include evidence of accelerating climate change, terrorism and nuclear modernisation."
"The last time the clock's minute hand was adjusted was in January 2012, when it pushed ahead one minute, from six to five minutes before midnight."

Hint their mag has an article
"What should climate scientists advocate for?
Gavin Schmidt"

I didnt find an official pre-announcement page : only a facebook post

- Other News another event 7 Continent Climate Concert by Gore
A Live Earth music event to demand action on climate change will take place on June 18 across seven continents, including Antarctica, former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and pop star Pharrell Williams announced on Wednesday

Jan 21, 2015 at 4:34 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I hate you!
I lived in a "Radford-inspired" (ie it was a private development, not a Council one) estate and I had to listen to our local greenies banging on for years about how wonderful they were and how this was a classic example with cul-de-sacs and (to my mind pointless) little bits of open space and by doing this, that and the other the local Council were destroying the concept and what was the community council going to do about it.
And I moved 1,000 miles across Europe to get away from them. And what do you do? Start on about Radford estates. When I find that wax effigy .......

Golf Charlie
I spent the best part of 20 years either as a community councillor directly involved in planning matters or as a reporter covering local councils. My daughter thinks my interest in planning is slightly nerdish but, setting aside any changes in planning law in the last 15 years (of which there have no doubt been several) or differences between Scotland and England, which I know exist, I am as a result a bit of an expert.
Which doesn't make me right and you wrong, of course. I'm just putting myself in context.

Jan 21, 2015 at 4:38 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

We don't need fracking in the UK when we can have all the free electricity we need from windmills. Just look at the magnificent output here:
As demand has increased throughout the day just look how valiantly wind has stepped up to the mark and dived towards zero output in order to meet demand. (1% of UK demand as of 1638 GMT)
If common sense had anything to do with energy policy this is all that would be required to kill off wind 'power'.
Well done Mr Davey and the DECC.

Jan 21, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones


"for no better reason than to oppose whatever the other lot propose"

That is the problem, isn't it? So much for democracy, when people do what their peers tell them, instead of actually thinking or, Heaven forfend, listening to their constituents!

It must surely occur to politicos, if only in the dead of night, that not every idea proposed by the other side is necessarily rubbish, but the only time they ever seem to put their differences aside is for the wrong thing, like the Iraq War or the Climate Change Act. I despair, sometimes.

Jan 21, 2015 at 4:40 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Somebody who understands noise levels (I don't) needs to read this which was sent to Andrew Mullaney and Stuart Perigo at Lancashire planning department on 14th January 2015.

The 9th December document it refers to is This one

Jan 21, 2015 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Wow, Mike, I didn't realise that the Radford thing would go so close to the bone. Sorry about that. :)

It was an awful idea, straight from Comintern central planning. And the lines of argument are still prevalent in "urban planning" today.

Australia, with 23 million people in a vast and mostly empty continent, is still being told that it is wicked for people to want a modest plot of land that they can call their own, because "urban sprawl." It's simply ludicrous. Every Australian could own 100 acres, and there would still be plenty left over.

Social engineering and urban "planning" have become inextricably intertwined. People and society can be remade through forcing them to live in certain ways. It is one of the great victories of the Left in the march through the institutions.

Jan 21, 2015 at 5:06 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Johanna, your Radford equates in the UK to 1960's tower blocks. They solved all the problems of urban overcrowding, wartime bomb damage, scarcity of land, modern lifestyles, affordability etc.
Charlie, we had some of those as well, for the same reasons and with the same results. There are still a few of them around. Genuinely needy, decent folks are on endless waiting lists to get out of them. They are nightmarish places to live if you are not a criminal or a thug.

Social engineering via "planning" and architectural fads is a terrible thing.

Jan 21, 2015 at 5:18 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

At some stage when the scam falls (and I might be dead by then sadly) I think malfeasance in public office charges might be made against some people. Climate Scientists that have doctored data or made demonstrably false statements - and planners who have "doubtful" reasons for anti-fracking decisions based on nothing, should be the first.

when it falls - the politicians will need fall-guys (and gals) to hide behind. They won't volunteer to take the drop.

Jan 21, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Mike Jackson. Thanks for your response. I was not trying to point out wrongness nor rightness, just that the political system is easily manipulated, especially at a local level to get the correct, political solution, and all parties are as guilty. The party that beams with pride at one announcement, does so, knowing the other lot will be scowling. Political revenge may follow the next election, so rigging planning decisions with Environmental Risk Assessments, prepared by Green Luvvies, showed how caring Labour were in Government, and how much they can laugh in opposition.

Jan 21, 2015 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

JamesP assume the following statement is correct,

"Politicians will do or say, whatever it takes, to get re-elected (keep their well paid job) at the next election".

Now review any statements by the reds, blues, oranges, greens and purples made in the last week, month, year etc, and they make a lot of sense, even if you disagree with them.

At a local level, where they may be "expensed" rather than paid, "yah, boo, sucks, with knobs on" to the other lot, whilst bearing in mind the party's national interest is as important. Politics can be very childish.

Jan 21, 2015 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

I was not trying to point out wrongness nor rightness,
Never thought so for a minute, mate. Merely, as I said, putting myself in context.

Not your fault. How were you to know?
Talking about urban sprawl in Australia (yer what?) am I right in the example I have seen quoted (and used) that you could give the entire population of the world ¼-acre of your beautiful country and still have some left over? If so it sure puts the argument about over-population in a different light.
The concept of urban sprawl as something evil seems to be an Anglophone thing. Here in France nobody seems to worry over much if you want to build a house on the edge of town but nothing seems to sprawl very much anyway. You would be surprised how close you have to get to a major city before you actually see any of it.

Jan 21, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

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