Decision details

Potential Health Impacts of the Proposed Shale Gas Exploration Sites in Lancashire

Decision Maker: Executive Scrutiny Committee

Decision status: Recommendations approved

Is Key decision?: Yes


The Cabinet will be asked to:


-  Receive the report on the initial health impact assessment of the proposed shale gas exploration sites in Lancashire;

-  Authorise the Director of Public Health to take the necessary steps to address the potential influence of shale gas exploration activities on the health and wellbeing of local communities.



County Councillor Liz Oades attended for this item and spoke with the permission of the committee in accordance with Standing Order 19(1).


The Committee received a report setting out the potential health impacts of the proposed shale gas exploration sites in Lancashire. This was as a result of the health impact assessment undertaken on the two proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.


The main key risks, identified by the health impact assessments, to the health and wellbeing of residents living near to the two proposed sites included:

·  Lack of public trust and confidence, stress and anxiety from uncertainty that could lead to poor mental wellbeing;

·  Noise related health effects due to continuous drilling;

·  Issues related to capacity for flowback waste water treatment and disposal.


It was reported that the intention of the impact assessment was to provide an analysis specific to the current state of shale gas exploration in Lancashire, and that, whilst evidence from elsewhere in the world was taken note of, the work had been conducted in direct reference to the two sites in consideration, part of which involved direct engagement with local people. It was explained that an important part of the work had been to establish a baseline, and, as part of that, it was recognised that the current data available may not be able to identify issues at a very local, sub-ward level.


The report set out a total of 45 recommendations to address how the above risks, and other issues set out in the report, could be mitigated by the County Council, Environment Agency, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Health and Safety Executive. It was confirmed that the County Council would continue to press the case for industry specific regulation with the government.


The Committee supported a proposal to add the wording 'and a rigorous inspection programme' be added to the end of Recommendation 39.


Resolved: That the recommendations in the reports to Cabinet be noted and that Cabinet consider the words 'and a rigorous inspection programme' be added to the end of Recommendation 39.


Date of decision: 04/11/2014

Decided at meeting: 04/11/2014 - Executive Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: