LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - British shale gas firm Cuadrilla hit another obstacle to getting the gas out of the ground when a local council refused it a permit on Wednesday for a site where it wanted to take geological measurements.
Lancashire County Council in northwest England said it had rejected Cuadrilla's request for a three-year extension of a planning permit at its Grangehill site, where no hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was planned to take place.
The rejection is the latest sign that local authorities are increasingly reluctant to grant shale gas development permits after the same council's officials last month recommended two other Cuadrilla shale gas applications should be rejected.
Environmental groups are strongly opposed to shale fracking which they claim can contaminate groundwater supplies and trigger earth tremors.
Growing public concern was underlined over the past weeks by the Scottish and Welsh governments both imposing planning moratoria on shale gas fracking.
"We are perplexed and disappointed by the decision," said Cuadrilla regarding Wednesday's permit rejection.
"We are awaiting clarification from the council before deciding on next steps."
The council, which confirmed the decision, did not immediately provide its reasons for the rejection.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
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