We mustn’t drag our feet over fracking decisions

Anti-fracking protesters celebrate outside Lancashire County Hall after Cuadrilla's fracking application is refused
Anti-fracking protesters celebrate outside Lancashire County Hall after Cuadrilla's fracking application is refused

On Tuesday I was pleased to cheer on the Shrimps for the first home game of the season and draw the prize winning ticket at the half time draw.

Although they were defeated the goal did come in extra time and the team played brilliantly. It is important we as a community get behind our local team and support the Shrimps in their home games. Tickets can be purchased from the Globe Arena or the Morecambe FC website.

David Morris Morecambe and Lunesdale's MP

David Morris Morecambe and Lunesdale's MP

Fracking is an issue which has come up again this week. The Government has announced any applications made to councils for fracking which have not been decided on by the 16 week statutory deadline will be called in and decided by the Secretary of State. Planning is there to protect areas which can’t be developed and these decisions made by the Secretary of State will be taken in full accordance with planning law.

We need to get away from a system where local councils are dragging their feet for a year on applications, prolonging making a decision on something which is of vital importance to the country’s energy security in the future.

The application recently rejected at Preston New Road was recommended for approval by officers and was rejected by councillors on legal advice from Friends of the Earth which means Lancashire County Council would likely lose an appeal at a great cost to the local taxpayer.

There are a lot of scaremongering stories relating to fracking and pressure from lobbying groups, so its understandable councillors are under a lot of pressure but they must not allow this to cloud their judgement and take proper advice from their officers who are well versed in planning law.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark said: “People’s safety and the environment will remain paramount and communities will always be involved in planning applications but no one benefits from uncertainty caused by delays in planning decisions.