Companies looking to carry out exploratory investigations, followed by testing and possible extraction of onshore oil or gas, including shale gas, must apply for planning permission from the county council.
As the strategic planning authority, the county council is responsible for managing the planning process and determining planning applications in line with legislation and planning rules set out by the government as well as the policies of the local development plan
On the 6 October 2016, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government allowed Cuadrilla's appeal against the County Council's decision to refuse permission for fracking at the Preston New Road site and granted planning permission, subject to conditions.
In the same decision, the Secretary of State said that he was minded to allow the appeal relating to the Roseacre Wood site but that the public inquiry should be reopened to allow further evidence to be submitted by the appellant in relation to highway impacts. The reopened public inquiry will commence on 10 April 2018. The Inspector appointed to hold the inquiry is Mr M. Middleton. A pre-inquiry meeting will be take place at 11.00am on Tuesday 31 October 2017 at Blackpool FC Hotel & Conference Centre, Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool, FY1 6JJ to discuss how the inquiry will be run.
Cuadrilla applied for planning permission for retention of the existing site compound and access track, installation of seismic and pressure monitors within existing well, seismic and pressure monitoring, plugging and abandonment of existing exploratory well and restoration of the site. In February 2015, the County Council's Development Control Committee and refused the application. The full reports can be read here.
In November 2015, Cuadrilla lodged an appeal with the Secretary of State against this decision. The Inspector's decision was received on 23rd February 2016 and was to allow the appeal and grant planning permission for the retention on the existing compound. The appeal documents are available for inspection under application no. LCC/2014/0084
The County Council carries out monitoring of all minerals and waste sites in Lancashire to ensure that conditions of planning permissions are complied with. This includes shale gas development.
The site monitoring reports for the Preston New Road Exploration site can be viewed here:
There are other sites in Lancashire that have been granted planning permission for hydrocarbon exploration. There are no current plans to carry out 'fracking' at these sites.
Find out about these existing sites and other related planning permissions.