Cuadrilla Resources have applied for an 18 month extension to their planning application at the Banks site in Lancashire.
The local council have deemed that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required but instead of getting an independent body with some experience of fracking impacts to do it they have asked Cuadrilla to do it themselves!
The name for this kind of thing is “scoping”. You ask the company to tell you what areas you should be worried about and then carry out the EIA more efficiently. Trusting that the company has been honest and knowing that if anything unforeseen crops up it was them that did not foresee it not you…
So this buck passing is in full swing. See document 08/12/1273 on the Lancashire County Council Planning Portal. Cuadrilla submitted their “SCOPING OPINION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT TO ACCOMPANY APPLICATION TO VARY PLANNING CONDITION 1 OF PERMISSION 08/10/0973” in on the 5th December. Local residents have until the 20th December (because of the xmas holiday) to comment and the scoping will be agreed in a meeting on the 28th December.
Having a look at the documents reveals that lots of impacts that could be foreseen have been missed out. This is very concerning as yet again the lessons learned abroad are not informing the process here. See below for some highlights.
- The proposed scope of this EIA is only assessing the impact of the Exploratory stage of Cuadrilla’s activity at the Banks site. The EIA should be assessing the impact of shale gas Production in the area as it is Cuadrilla’s intent to go into production. They are not fracking the shale for purely scientific purposes.
- The list of scoped out topics at 5.10.1 do require assessment. Socio Economic, Landscape & Visual Assessment, Noise, Traffic, Archeology, Climate Change & Agricultural Considerations.