Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Sign Now! Last chance to tell Greg Clark to uphold Lancashire county council’s democratic right to say no to fracking

Message from Greenpeace:

Bad news: Earlier this year, leaked letters exposed how the government is plotting to overrule councils that vote against fracking [1].

Good news: Our petition to push back has surged past 130,000 signatures!

We’re set to hand in the petition tomorrow (14 June 2016), but we’ll be even stronger if thousands more of us join in. Can you quickly add your name?

Tell the government ‘don’t silence us on fracking’, before we hand the petition in tomorrow:
Sign the petition

With such overwhelming opposition to shale gas drilling in towns and villages across the country, our local councils can still play a crucial role in keeping fracking firms at bay. We’ve already seen some councils stick up for the views of local people and slam the doors on fracking firms when they’ve tried to drill [2].

But now one man in Westminster could change everything. If Greg Clark – the man who David Cameron’s put in charge of overseeing local government – overrules councils that vote against fracking, he’ll be undoing democracy with the stroke of a pen.

In the past, Greg Clark has told council leaders to “take power” back from central government, so let’s make it clear: we won’t let him back track on his own words. Please sign:
Sign the petition

After Lancashire council voted against fracking last year, it looks like this is where Greg Clark will turn his attention first. If he overturns Lancashire council’s decision to block the fracking industry, it could pave the way for even more councils to be overruled.

We’ll be outside 10 Downing Street tomorrow, handing in our petition and making sure the government knows we’re watching. But we’ll be even more powerful with thousands more of us on board.

This one’s urgent. Please sign now before we hand in the petition tomorrow. You can sign here


Anti-fracking campaigners threaten to set up protest camps

RAFF has pledged to help the residents of Kirby Misperton in Rydale, North Yorkshire, following the North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to grant Third Energy permission to carry out test drilling there. An item in The Guardian, published 25 May 2016, quotes RAFF Chair Ian Roberts saying: “We will go over there if they want us.” He warned the energy firms that they had picked on the wrong group of people. “They’ve chosen exactly the wrong people to do battle with: Lancashire and Yorkshire folk are no pushover. There’s a resilience, a tenacity. It’s perhaps no coincidence that a lot of us own terriers.”

Members of RAFF have taken part in previous camps at Balcombe and Barton Moss and, if invited, will join any camps in North Yorkshire. Together with members of many other local groups, RAFF folk also went over to North Allerton last week to offer support to residents while the planning committee was deciding the outcome.

Campaigners fury as planners approve fracking application without social licence


Campaigners have reacted with fury and dismay after North Yorkshire county councillors approved plans to carry out hydraulic fracturing at Kirby Misperton, near Malton.

The eleven-member Planning Committee voted 7 votes to 4 to grant planning permission to Third Energy to frack just ½ mile from the picturesque North Yorkshire village.

Over 1,000 people attended an anti-fracking rally outside the meeting at County Hall on Friday 20th at Northallerton and many returned on Monday to hear the councillors make their ruling. Nearly 4,000 letters of objection to the company’s plans were received also at the County Council, set against only 32 letters in favour.

Ian Conlan from Frack Free Ryedale said:

“It is just appalling that despite the strength of public opposition to this application it has been pushed through by councillors, who are being told what to do by a government that is determined to support the fracking industry.

“What faith can local people have in democracy if the members of the planning committee can just completely ignore both the strength of local opinion and the sound planning grounds that objectors have raised? It is a sham.

Our Government is making a mockery of ‘democracy’

Tonight’s (11/05/16) Gazette is once again carrying the story of the proposed National College for Onshore Oil and Gas, planned to be built at Blackpool Airport, to provide training for the onshore oil and gas industries. The item reports that the Government is to invest £5.6m in the college.

Last week we learnt that Cuadrilla is to seek permission to drill four groundwater boreholes at the Preston New Road site, in anticipation of fracking going ahead.

Both of these actions make a mockery out of democracy. The Secretary of State has yet to consider the yet-to-be-published Planning Inspector’s report and make a decision as to whether fracking will go ahead in the Fylde. The confidence with which industry spokespeople, together with Cuadrilla, assume that it will suggests that permission to frack is a foregone conclusion.

Was the Public Inquiry a farce – solely a tick box exercise to show that due process had been observed? What about the residents of Preston New Road and Roseacre who spent tens of £000s on hiring barristers, specialist witnesses and the like, not to mention the huge costs to their physical and mental health and wellbeing? Has it all been for nothing?

News of the proposed college isn’t new, so why has it reared its head again? In the face of increasing opposition is it a bullish attempt by Cuadrilla and the industry to get some positive spin in the local paper or is it indicative of an industry that has been given the nod that, regardless of what the Planning Inspector’s report says, Greg Clarke has already made up his mind that keeping the Tory donors – ie the oil and gas companies – happy, is more important than the health of a few thousand residents in the Desolate North?



Cuadrilla plans to drill boreholes despite not having permission to frack

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, has written to local residents notifying them of the company’s plans to seek permission to drill four groundwater boreholes at the Preston New Road site. The company said that it also plans to submit a similar notification to residents living close to the Roseacre Wood site. Cuadrilla is behaving as if full scale fracking will go ahead, despite the fact that a decision has yet to be made by the Secretary of State, after Lancashire County Council rejected the company’s two planning applications to explore for shale gas at both sites.

Under UK legislation, the company is required to establish a baseline of the natural groundwater conditions in the vicinity of the proposed shale gas exploration works before any fracking begins. The work will involve drilling 30-metre deep bore-holes for approximately 16 days, using two truck-mounted rigs, which are less than 12 metres high.

Francis Egan told the BBC: “Whilst we wait for the outcome of our appeals for planning permission for both exploration sites, we want to ensure that if we do get the go ahead we are fully prepared to meet our obligations on baseline monitoring of the ground water.” In the same news item, a council spokesman said: “Cuadrilla has notified the county council of its intention to exercise the company’s right to permitted development for water monitoring at Preston New Road. This means that planning permission would not normally be needed. We will assess these proposals and respond to Cuadrilla within the statutory 28 days.”

Not only did LCC refuse Cuadrilla’s plans to frack, it also refused permission for a monitoring array at Preston New Road. But in another example of the government bending over backwards to favour the frackers, two months after LCC’s decision, the government changed the rules on permitted development rights to allow monitoring boreholes to be drilled without the need for planning permission.

The arrogance of Cuadrilla is astounding. Not only is the company being presumptuous in assuming that the Secretary of State will give permission, but it is posturing as a ‘responsible neighbour’ when, in fact, it has previously ignored the impacts of fracking on noise, traffic, light, etc. on local residents. The truth is that legislation obliges Cuadrilla to conduct baseline monitoring of groundwater. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is doing so as a favour to residents.

Support for Fracking Hits an All-Time Low

Thursday 28 April 2016A new Government survey of public attitudes on energy shows that support for fracking has hit an all-time low, while support for renewable energy has reached record highs (1).Only 19% of people support shale gas energy, with a significantly higher 31% of people opposing it outright, the highest level of opposition yet since the Government starting surveying public opinions on energy in 2012 (2).

Support for renewable energy in contrast is “consistently high” at 81% of people supporting the use of renewables, with opposition “very low” (3).

Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) said:

“This survey shows that the Government has lost the argument on fracking – despite the millions spent on PR campaigns by the fracking industry and their friends in power, the public’s opposition to fracking is getting higher.

“The only way the Government could get fracking is by forcing it on communities against our wishes and democratically elected councillors.

“With support for clean renewable energy at record levels it seems the general public is way ahead of the Government in understanding the real solutions to our energy security.

” It’s clear from the results that fracking companies have no social licence to explore for shale gas.”


A Message from Emma Thomson

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

As you read this, I’m occupying a field in Lancashire earmarked for fracking.

Very soon, Cuadrilla could be drilling for dirty energy at my feet – but not if I’ve got anything to do with it! I’m here with my sister Sophie and we’re using whisks and wooden spoons (and a bit of humour!) to expose the dangers of fracking.

We desperately need your help to amplify the noise we’re making. Click to watch and share our unique anti-fracking protest live from Lancashire:

The people of Lancashire are our inspiration for this unusual, illegal protest. In 2014, twenty-or-so mums and grandmas – known as the Lancashire Nanas – set up a protest camp in the same field I’m stood in now. For three weeks they protested peacefully, giving out cakes and tea as they explained the dangers of fracking to people who passed by.

After the Lancashire Nana’s occupation, Cuadrilla got desperate – they took out a legal injunction to block more protestors from trespassing on their fracking site. But if Cuadrilla thinks their injunction will stop us making ourselves heard then they’re wrong.

That’s why today we’re back on the fracking site the Lancashire Nanas occupied. This time we’re using Bake Off – the UK’s best-loved TV show – to help get fracking onto the front pages of newspapers and onto politicians’ lips. You might have friends and family who don’t know much about the dangers of fracking, so please click the link to tune in to our Frack Free Bake Off and help get the message out:

In Lancashire public opposition to fracking is overwhelming, just as it is in so many other parts of the UK. But it looks like David Cameron’s government could still give the industry the go ahead here.

That’s not what I call democracy – and I know that there are so many who agree. That’s why more than 100,000 of us have told the government not to silence communities that vote against fracking. So today it would mean a lot to me if you can spare a minute to spread the word about how we’re pushing back. Click here to join in:

Thank you so much for everything you do!

Emma Thompson, together with Greenpeace UK

Coal dumped outside Energy Department as world signs up to climate deal

A tonne of coal has been dumped outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change by Friends of the Earth today [Friday 22 April] in protest at opencast coal mining in the UK. The pile includes one lump of coal for each of the almost 10,000 people who signed the petition calling for ministers to change the planning rules so that no new opencast coal mines are allowed.

The protest comes on the day politicians gather in New York for the signing of the historic Paris climate agreement, which commits governments to holding global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. If this aspiration is to be met, we need to stop burning fossil fuels, such as coal, and instead leave them in the ground.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:

“To meet the Paris Agreement, the Government must leave fossil fuels, like coal, in the ground – yet we’re still permitting vast new opencast coal mines to be dug up next door to communities and beauty spots across the UK.

“No-one likes a view of dirty coal outside their door, so we’ve dumped this pile of coal to remind ministers to do the right thing and leave coal in the ground.”

Last November, the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, pledged to phase out coal power stations within a decade. Three UK coal power stations are closing this year alone but new opencast coal mines are still being permitted. The Government has the chance to change this nonsensical policy with a simple change to the planning rules which would prevent new coal extraction in the UK.

Guy Shrubsole added:

“Encouraging solar and wind energy projects would create many thousands more jobs than new coal mines and would be good for our environment too.”


Editor’s notes:

1. The coal dumped by Friends of the Earth has been sourced from opencast coal mines in the UK and it will be disposed of in a way that makes sure it never gets burned.
2. The Paris Agreement commits governments to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”. It is being opened for formal signing this Friday 22nd April; 160 governments are expected to sign.
3. Analysis by Carbon Tracker has shown that to have a better-than-even chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees, 80% of proven reserves of fossil fuels have to be left in the ground. To meet the 1.5 degree goal, and for the UK to undertake its fair share of emissions reductions as a rich nation, this percentage increases.f
4. In November 2015, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd pledged to phase out all coal-fired power stations by 2025. At least 3 UK coal power stations are closing this year: Longannet (closed March), Ferrybridge C (closed March), Eggborough (closing April, with standby reserve for winter 16/17). Three out of four turbine units at Fiddlers’ Ferry are closing in April 2016. Rugeley is closing summer 2016. More details here.

New North West website aims to be the ‘go to’ resource on fracking

This month sees the launch of a new website – Frack Free NorthWest (FFNW). The new site has been developed as part of an expanding national movement that opposes the development and extraction of shale gas worldwide. Still in its infancy, Frack Free North West aims to become the ‘go to’ resource for all matters relating to fracking, UCG, etc., providing news, information on events, links to groups, NGOs, businesses against fracking, opportunities to donate, and much more.

The site says: ‘Our mission is to protect our environment for our children and for future generations. Taking action now will safeguard the health and wellbeing of our communities from the effects of air pollution, water contamination, seismic movement and toxic & radioactive waste.

‘The anti-fracking movement is growing in strength. Hundreds of localised groups have developed across the UK over the last five years and communities have come together in solidarity to form their own anti-fracking groups.’

The area covered includes Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Liverpool and Merseyside, Manchester and Greater Manchester. A page of links to an ever increasing list of North West anti-fracking groups is testament to the strength of the movement in the NW region.


Ecotricity      Britain's leading green energy supplier     

Ecotricity promises 100% green electricity and Britain’s greenest gas, complete with a Frack Free promise – that it will never use shale gas as part of its energy mix. It offers one tariff and one price for all of its customers.

If you are considering switching to a greener energy supplier then please choose Ecotricity. Please go to the Ecotricity web site here and select RAFF  on the right hand side of the page. For each new customer RAFF will receive a £60 donation from Ecotricity, which will help us fight fracking in the Fylde and beyond. Thank you.                                                 

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