Fracking to start in Lancashire as legal challenge fails

An anti-fracking campaigner has lost a last-ditch legal effort to stop the first fracking in the UK in seven years, The Guardian reported Friday.

Lancashire resident Robert Dennett had won a temporary injunction last week to stop shale natural gas company Cuadrilla from fracking in a well near Blackpool in northwest England. At a hearing Thursday, his lawyers argued that Lancashire County Council had not adequately planned for an emergency at the site on Preston New Road. But on Friday, a high court judge ruled that the council’s planning was adequate and that fracking could go ahead.

The decision comes the same week as a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that says we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

Fracking to start in Lancashire as legal challenge fails

“Cuadrilla can now carry on regardless, ignoring the urgent warning issued this week by the IPCC about the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but all of the fracking companies need to know that fracking will never get a foothold in the UK because they will meet resistance at every stage of their projects,” a spokesperson said.

Fracking opponents have pledged to hold a national climate change rally at a farm near Cuadrilla’s site later this month. As well as opposing fracking at Preston New Road, the event will call for the release of three fracking activists who were recently jailed over their protests at the site last year.

Cuadrilla’s well will be the first to be fracked since one in 2011, which triggered minor earthquakes and led to a moratorium and stronger regulations.

Inconveniently for ministers, the return of fracking also coincides with the launch of the government’s first ‘Green GB Week’, which is billed as a celebration of 10 years of the Climate Change Act, the UK’s law enshrining an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050.

On Monday the government is expected to formally instruct its climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, to explore whether that target should be reviewed in light of the IPCC’s 1.5C report.

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