Commenting on the decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse planning permission for a key shale gas extraction site — with implications for fracking across the UK — Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director for Policy and External Affairs for the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“In the face of the pressing energy security problems Britain faces, today’s decision is perverse, short-sighted and timid. Fracking must be part of the solution to the UK’s energy crunch, and could also provide a real fillip to our economy.

“We hope this perverse decision is overturned on appeal, and that further delays are minimised.

“The government now needs to step in — both to look at the long-term energy security and economic considerations, and to act in the national interest. It should also make sure that there is generous compensation in place for those affected by crucial energy projects, so that they are not mired in compensation disputes.

“The UK still lacks a clear, long-term energy strategy, with domestic conventional and unconventional oil and gas sitting alongside nuclear and renewable energy in our supply mix. We urgently require a 50-year energy security strategy and the Government should make this a priority.”

Michael Damms, chief executie at East Lancashire Chamber added:

“This decision in Lancashire, the home of manufacturing which provides much of the wealth and many jobs both directly and indirectly, is disturbing.Manufacturing is essential to rebalancing the economy and to closing Britain’s unsustainable balance of trade.

“Manufacturers need a reliable, secure and cost effective supply of energy, with Lancashire especially well-positioned to benefit in the supply chain.

“Today’s decision not only introduces delay until the appeal is heard, but means that today the UK has an even less incoherent energy policy if the rest of the UK follows Lancashire’s example – hardly positive as industry considers its international options and investment decisions. If the rest of the UK doesn’t prevaricate then Lancashire’s advantage may be permanently lost.

“While laudable, renewables are not capable of meeting manufacturers’ needs in the short or medium term and the timescales for nuclear new-build keep moving back.

“We hope that this decision will not now haunt us in Lancashire”