The County Council has stepped into the ongoing story over local 'fracking' fears in the Halsall and Aughton areas.
It comes in the wake of a leaflet distributed by concerned Halsall residents - and discussions at two recent Aughton PC meetings.
A spokesman for LCC told QLocal this afternoon: "3D surveys such as this are covered by permitted development rights and therefore generally do not need planning permission.
"Tesla notified us of their intention to carry out the survey and we concluded it could be carried out with the benefit of permitted development rights subject to the conditions set out in the rights and within the parameters set out in their proposal.
"We have agreed with Tesla Exploration that no works will be undertaken within an area designated as SSSI and that all operations will be completed before the bird over wintering season as many of the fields forming part of the survey area are used in the winter by birds associated with the Ribble Estuary."
In response to three specific assertions, LCC has sought to set the record straight
1. "Planning law does not require 'permission' to be sought from the Borough Council for this activity, whose only role is to assess whether the proposed activity meets the necessary legal criteria."
Permitted development rights grant planning permission in their own right. Planning law requires a developer to serve prior notification for proposals of this nature on the County Council as planning authority for mineral exploration developments of this nature, rather than the borough council. The County Council's role is to determine whether a planning application should be submitted and if so set out why. We concluded the survey could be done with the benefit of permitted development rights subject to the conditions set out in the rights and adherence to the parameters set out in their own proposals.
2. "The Council has concluded that this application does meet the legal criteria, and so has no option but to allow the survey to proceed otherwise it could be liable to legal action by the company including the awarding of significant compensation."
We have an option see above. If we conclude a planning application should be submitted they can either submit one or refer the matter to the Secretary of State. There is no legal action that we could be liable to or at risk of having to pay any compensation.
3. "We understand the surveys are aimed at mapping the deep geological structure of the region; the council will take all necessary steps to ensure the protection of wildlife habitats and archaeological sites during the survey work."
This is partially correct the survey is aimed at mapping the geology. However, it is not our responsibility to ensure the protection of wildlife. If they adversely affect wildlife they may be in breach of the Wildlife and Countryside Act if they are it would be an offence and pursued by the police. We have specified precautions to be taken in respect of archaeological interests.
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