Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Lancashire Fracking Councillors and Residents Found Guilty of Obstruction

PNR_12

 

Twelve local residents who took part in the direct action of a lock-on at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire over the summer of Rolling Resistance, were sentenced today at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

County Councillor Gina Dowding, borough Councilor Julie Brickles, town Councillor Miranda Cox, Nick Sheldrick, Michelle Martin, Sarah Boyle, Barbara Cookson, Nick Danby, Daniel Huxley-Blythe, Catherine Jackson, Alana McCullough and Jeanette Porter, took part in the group action on Monday 03 July 2017.

All 12, including three councillors, were found guilty of wilful obstruction of the highway, under the Highways Act 1980, section 137(1), but the charges relating to the Trade Union Act and Labour (Consolidation) Act 1992, section 24, were all dismissed due to the Crown Prosecution failing to provide sufficient evidence to their case. The judge stated that he saw “no evidence of civil wrong” in relation to the Trade Union charge.

Each defendant was each given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay court costs and victim surcharge totaling £270. There were no fines issued.

The trial began on Monday 13 November 2017, hearing evidence against 12 local residents, including three councillors, who locked-on to weighted objects in the early morning to raise awareness against the increasing threat of a shale gas industry in Lancashire.

Green Party County Councillor Gina Dowding said:

“Shale gas is neither needed nor wanted. The UK government’s commitment to go all out for shale and impose this on the British people, and particularly to impose the risks on the people of Lancashire, is nothing short of perverse.

“The biggest risk to our local and national interest is that of climate change:  it is the overriding national issue. I was driven to take direct action to raise publicity and persuade our national politicians to act now to try and prevent it.”

Retired civil servant, Nick Danby issued a statement to the industry:

“Speaking directly to the fracking industry, its supporters and apologists: you will never have the social license here or anywhere. You will meet sustained resistance.

“You are not welcome and we will do all that we can to protect our friends and families, our homes and our communities. And to those that invest in this industry – pull out now – you will never get your money back.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  1. Original press release from July 03, 2017: Lancashire Councillors and Residents Lock-Down Fracking Site
  2. Attached: Group photo of local residents. Additional photos available via Flickr.
  3. Video interview of Day One of the court case can be found here.
  4. 3. Reclaim the Power is a UK-based direct action network fighting for social, environmental and economic justice. They have been working to oppose fracking since 2013 when they organised mass action at Balcombe. Since then, they have hosted anti-fracking action camps in Blackpool and at Didcot Power station, and taken countless actions to expose and resist the industry as well as the businesses in its supply chain. In April this year, Reclaim the Power implemented a fortnight of action against the fracking supply chain – leading to a number of companies cancelling their contracts. Read more at reclaimthepower.org.uk

Cuadrilla hit with more environmental breach warnings at Preston New Road

03 NOVEMBER 2017

For immediate release

Frack Free Lanacashire are once again dismayed to learn of three separate reports showing that fracking company, Cuadrilla, have breached their environmental permits and the transport management plan.

Last month, Spinwatch reported that Cuadrilla had breached their environmental permits and have been censured by the Environment Agency for failing to store drilling waste adequately and safely.

The same week, DeSmog detailed Freedom of Information requests, which revealed Cuadrilla have managed to take the wrong turning into their Preston New Road fracking site, 115 times in only three months of operations. The A583 already has dangerous road sections, with accident blackspots. By Cuadrilla flaunting the traffic management plan when not always necessary, they are endangering all road users and the local community.

Today, Spinwatch reported another set of breaches where Cuadrilla released silt-contaminated water from their operations which ended up in a tributary of Carr Bridge Brook.

A spokesperson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The Planning Inspector, Wendy McKay, clearly believed that the traffic management plans were an adequate protection for the local community. She was told in submissions that ‘given the monitoring condition, any breach could be acted on very promptly by the council’.

“She could not have anticipated this reality – that far from acting promptly, the council would allow Cuadrilla to amend the traffic management plan to suit their own purposes on multiple occasions and ignore flagrant breaches, such as when the rig was brought in in the early hours of the morning. This is not the gold-plated regulation promised us by our government. It is a tawdry imitation of the real thing and the thin covering is wearing off in front of our eyes. ”

“The robust regulations that the UK government have repeatedly promised residents, have not and will not ever materialise. The regulatory system on fracking is not fit for purpose, placing residents’ health and lives at risk by it’s repetitive failures to take action against company breaches and ensure that regulations live up to the tough tests they must face.

“It is high time that our political representative, Conservative MP, Mark Menzies, stepped out of the shadows and deals with the disjointed regulators to ensure that action will be taken.”

Only last month, Mr Menzies stated:

“I have always called for a gold standard of regulation on the fracking industry if it is to go ahead in the UK.

“Public health and safety is paramount. Quite simply, if fracking cannot be carried out safely, it should not be allowed to commence.”

Frack Free Lancashire’s spokesperson continued:

“With fracking opposition in the UK at a record high and support at its lowest ever, according to yesterday’s government report, Frack Free Lancashire now urge Mr Menzies to put himself at the forefront of his community and represent his constituents, as is his paid role in government.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  1. DeSmog articleCuadrilla’s Fracking Vehicles Took Wrong Turn 115 Times in Three Months, Documents Reveal
  2. Spinwatch articleThird environmental permit breach this year by Cuadrilla at Lancs fracking site
  3. Spinwatch article: Cuadrilla environmental breaches tally rises to five this year at Preston New Road
  4. 5. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker: Wave 23

Fracking Planning Inquiry to Reopen in Lancashire

Cows on the road, Roseacre

cows on the road, Roseacre

 

Roseacre Awareness Group, Press Release

26 October 2017

For immediate release

A date has been set for the reopening of a planning inquiry for Cuadrilla’s second Lancashire fracking site at Roseacre Woods, which will take place on 10 April 2018 in Blackpool.

The earmarked land in the tiny rural village of Roseacre, was originally refused planning permission by Lancashire County Council in 2015. On an appeal brought by Cuadrilla in 2016, at great expense and time to the local community group, the application was further recommended for refusal by planning inspector, Wendy McKay.

She stated that the impacts from the development would present “a serious and very significant adverse impact on the safety of people using the public highway.”

After calling in the appeal for a governmental decision in 2016, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, confirmed he would be “minded” to grant planning permission to Cuadrilla, if they could present new evidence to mitigate the traffic and highway safety.

The pre-inquiry meeting will convene on 31 October 2017, 11.00hrs at Blackpool Football Club.

Roseacre Awareness Group chairman, Jim Nisbet said:

“The people of this rural parish are, once again, seeking to defend themselves from having this insidious industry foisted upon them. Wendy McKay recommended to Sajid Javid that Cuadrilla’s application for exploratory wells at Roseacre Wood should be refused but he is “minded” to approve if they can come up with new mitigation.

“This pre-inquiry meeting will merely set the parameters for the re-opened inquiry next April, allowing Cuadrilla a fourth bite of a diminishing cherry to get it right. How many chances would an ordinary person in the street get with a planning application? Not as many as the fracking industry, it appears.

“We are still awaiting the new proposals from Cuadrilla so as yet, we have no idea what we need to do to prepare our case. The odds it seems, always stack up in their favour.

“It is interesting to note that a report issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy only this month stated unequivocally, that there is no risk to energy security in the UK for the next two decades at least, and that is without any reliance on shale gas or bio methane.  Even in the worst case scenarios tested by experts, the UK’s supply of gas would not be compromised. It is therefore about time that this government, Francis Egan and the rest of the shale gas industry stopped scaremongering by insisting this continued dash for shale gas is all about energy security: it is not.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to the Editor

 

  1. Fracking given the go-ahead as Lancashire County Council rejection is overturned

 

Cyclists, Roseacre road

Cyclists, Roseacre road

Major Environmental Groups Join Forces to Lobby Minister on Fracking

FRACK FREE UNITED

PRESS RELEASE 

25 October 2017

For immediate release

Major Environmental Groups Join Forces to Lobby Minister on Fracking

Frack Free United has joined a host of major national environmental groups in an open letter to Greg Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in a bid to urge the UK government to reconsider their support for fracking.

Greenpeace, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Frack Free United, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, 10:10 Climate action, Campaign for National Parks, Salmon and Trout conservation, the Angling Trust and the World Wildlife Trust co-wrote the letter to Mr Clark, to request answers on the climate impact of fracking on the UK’s climate change commitments to the Paris Accord. The letter also states that concerns from local residents to the sites aren’t being addressed.

Additionally, the letter mentions the environmental impacts of fracking and the already-dangerous levels of air pollution in the UK. The government is currently facing repeated attacks on its inaction on air pollution levels.

Scotland’s analysis on shale gas is also detailed, with the low financial benefits that fracking would bring offset against their worrying finding that shale gas is incompatible with climate change mitigation. This makes fracking a risk that the Scottish government isn’t prepared to make with a vote on a ban taking place this week.

Steve Mason from Frack Free United said:

“Giving the final sign-off for fracking to start is a crucial decision for the Secretary of State and we urge him to consider it very carefully before he puts pen to paper.

“It is a decision that will affect communities across the country and future generations to come.

“Frack Free United believes that the government should halt all fracking activities and rethink its outdated energy policy. The development of a new extreme fossil fuel industry across England would have negative and far-reaching consequences for local communities, the environment, public health, climate change and our future energy strategy.”
Elisabeth Whitebread, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said:

It would be deeply disappointing if UK government gave the green light to new fossil fuel projects, just before the UN Climate Change Conference invites international action to protect the climate. We already have more gas than we can afford to burn if we are to meet our climate targets.

“With fracking to be banned in Scotland, the Westminster government is now isolated in backing this unpopular industry. Their own recently published energy plans made no reference to fracking, and showed that fracked gas is not necessary for energy security. The government should stop forging ahead with fracking and focus their efforts on clean, cheap and popular offshore wind and tidal power instead.”

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:


  1. Letter to Greg Clark attached
  1. For further information, interviews and photographs contact:
    Di Keal (Frack Free United) 07593682402
    Claire Stephenson (Frack Free Lancashire) on 07929 969664
  1. Frack Free United is a network of residents, communities and campaign groups who are coming together to protect our countryside and communities from the threat of fracking, strengthening and building a coalition from all walks of life and working together to oppose fracking across the UK.
  1. For more information, please contact Steve Mason steve@frackfreeunited.org(07793) 821242
  1. Frack Free United was set up in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale, is at the forefront of anti-fracking campaign with a ‘test frack’ planned imminently by Third Energy. Planning permission for the ‘test frack’ was given by North Yorkshire County Council in 2015. All planning conditions for the frack have been approved, with the only hurdle still remaining being approval from Greg Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Mark Menzies on Sunday Politics show, 29 October

Nina Warhust will interview Fylde MP Mark Menzies on the BBC’s Sunday Politics North West show on 29 October.

Please email and Tweet comments and questions to Nina Warhurst; email: nina.warhurst@bbc.co.uk Twitter: @NinaWarhurst

Suggested topics include: policing costs at Preston New Road; environmental safety; Cuadrilla planning breaches; no social licence – most of population don’t want fracking; why does he support this industry when it’s clear that regulations are poor; why hasn’t he visited the Community Hub at Maple Farm to talk to his constituents, etc, etc.

Community Strategy Conversation – For A Frack Free Lancashire II

18 November 2017, 1.00 pm – 4.30 pm

Holy Trinity Church, Dean Street, Blackpool FY4 1BP

This *second* public meeting is part of a ‘Community Strategy Conversation’ to bring together people involved in anti-fracking across Lancashire to share ideas, hopes and dreams and make powerful plans to win on fracking. It follows on from the first, very successful meeting held on 21st October building on those initial discussions and looking in more detail at plans and proposals and possible future actions.

This process is a chance to sit down together as a community and give it our best thinking. It is an open invite for those interested in working together to win.

Please register for the event using Eventbrite at
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/community-strategy-conversation-for-a-frack-free-lancashire-meeting-2-tickets-38652312106

LCC refuse Cuadrilla’s application for another extension at Beaconsall

LCC Councillors have voted to refuse an extension of Cuadrilla’s planning application t Beaconsall and to start enforcement.

The drilling company had asked for more time to restore a shale gas site near the Ribble Estuary.The county council’s development control committee voted instead enforcement action  against the company for not returning the Becconsall site to farmland by the agreed time. Cuadrilla should have completed the restoration in 2011 but didn’t and and has since asked for and been granted five extensions.

You can watch the Development and Control Committee meeting here.

Drill or Drop has also reported on the meeting and outcome.

Cuadrilla Clock-up More Fracking Breaches in Lancashire

25 October 2017

For immediate release

Frack Free Lanacashire are dismayed to learn of two separate reports showing that fracking company, Cuadrilla, have breached their environmental permits and the transport management plan.

Last week, Spinwatch reported that Cuadrilla had breached their environmental permits and have been censured by the Environment Agency for failing to store drilling waste adequately and safely.

Today, DeSmog detailed Freedom of Information requests, which revealed Cuadrilla have managed to take the wrong turning into their Preston New Road fracking site, 115 times in only three months of operations. The A583 already has dangerous road sections, with accident blackspots. By Cuadrilla flaunting the traffic management plan when not always necessary, they are endangering all road users and the local community.

A spokesperson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The Planning Inspector, Wendy McKay, clearly believed that the traffic management plans were an adequate protection for the local community. She was told in submissions that ‘given the monitoring condition, any breach could be acted on very promptly by the council’.

“She could not have anticipated this reality – that far from acting promptly, the council would allow Cuadrilla to amend the traffic management plan to suit their own purposes on multiple occasions and ignore flagrant breaches, such as when the rig was brought in in the early hours of the morning. This is not the gold-plated regulation promised us by our government. It is a tawdry imitation of the real thing and the thin covering is wearing off in front of our eyes. ”

“The robust regulations that the UK government have repeatedly promised residents, have not and will not ever materialise. The regulatory system on fracking is not fit for purpose, placing residents’ health and lives at risk by it’s repetitive failures to take action against company breaches and ensure that regulations live up to the tough tests they must face.

“It is high time that our political representative, Conservative MP, Mark Menzies, stepped out of the shadows and deals with the disjointed regulators to ensure that action will be taken.”

Only last month, Mr Menzies stated:

“I have always called for a gold standard of regulation on the fracking industry if it is to go ahead in the UK.

“Public health and safety is paramount. Quite simply, if fracking cannot be carried out safely, it should not be allowed to commence.”

Frack Free Lancashire now urge Mr Menzies to put himself at the forefront of his community and represent his constituents, as is his paid role in government.”
ENDS

 

Community Strategy Conversation – political, social and operation strategies identified and developed

frackphoto

 

Reclaim the Power and Frack Free Lancashire organised Community Strategy Conversation for a Frack Free Lancashire last Saturday (21 October) in Blackpool.  The aim of the meeting was to discuss anti-fracking campaigning in Lancashire – to come up with ideas for the future.

It was a wonderful opportunity for the local movement to come together and brain storm in a relaxed environment. A number of operational, social and political strategies were identified and developed.

The event also provided a photo opportunity for the people of Lancashire to show our solidarity with our Yorkshire friends fighting fracking at Kirby Misperton.

 

Government Finally Tells The Truth: We Don’t Need Fracking

Three important reports released this month on the UK’s future in clean energy, climate change, and the Northern Energy Strategy have flagged the critical need to urgently prioritise low-carbon energy generation and the climate change obligations that the UK must meet by 2030.

And essentially for campaigners against fracking, only one of the reports mentions the industry. The report where fracking is discussed, briefly mentions it in a minimised capacity and doesn’t include it in UK future energy projections.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy released their Gas Security and Supply report yesterday, with a strategic analysis on outline energy projections for the coming years. The government indicated that shale gas is not needed for energy security and did not include it as a contribution to energy production figures for the UK.

The Clean Growth Strategy was also released this week, with positive talk from the UK government of a low-carbon future for the UK on ‘decarbonising the gas grid by substituting natural gas with low carbon gases like biogas and hydrogen.’

Theresa May stated within the report:

“Clean growth is not an option, but a duty we owe to the next generation, and economic growth has to go hand-in-hand with greater protection for our forests and beaches, clean air and places of outstanding natural beauty.”

Additionally, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) released their A Northern Energy Strategy this week stated:

“Shale gas has garnered significant opposition from local communities and may be too environmentally risky to proceed with.”

Claire Stephenson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“It’s unbelievable that the UK government are still insisting on forcing fracking onto unwilling communities when all scientific and public opinion is pointing the other way. If we are to meet our climate change obligations and truly have a chance at a clean future, we must immediately abandon the dangerous and misguided folly that is fracking.”

Steve Mason from Frack Free United said:

“This is getting ridiculous. All the so-called arguments for fracking are toppling like dominoes. The evidence is stacked so high against the industry, only their corporate muscle keeps fracking on the agenda.

“This Tory government is backing fracking and forging on with a ludicrous dirty energy policy. It is time for them to wake up and listen to their own reports, the voice of the public in areas under threat and halt all fracking activity now.”

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