Latest News

Fracking: The Wild West Comes to the UK

An excellent TEDx talk by Emeritus Professor (Glasgow) David Smythe on fracking in the UK.

He exposes the fracking industry as being both unprofitable and environmentally damaging. He also describes how the industry has been misleading the public.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYCMrcjtBWg

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 11.35.20

Lancashire County Council Unanimously Reject Cuadrilla’s Traffic Plans

cows on road

 

PRESS RELEASE

 Frack Free Lancashire

Lancashire County Council Unanimously Reject Cuadrilla’s Traffic Plans

 

For immediate release

Thursday 25 January 2018

Yesterday, Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee voted unanimously to reject Cuadrilla’s revised traffic proposals for the Roseacre Wood exploratory fracking site, and the committee will now submit evidence against Cuadrilla at the Public Inquiry in April 2018.

The councillors stated that all three proposed routes were unsafe and unsuitable for large HGVs and that public safety is paramount.

Having experienced travelling through all three routes, one councillor said he was appalled by what was being proposed; another stated he was totally unconvinced with the applicant’s case and their attempts at mitigation had actually made things worse. The councillors also stated that “locals know best” when it comes to deciding on large-scale applications.

Andy Rhodes, Lancashire Police’s Chief Constable also submitted a written objection to the planning committee, stating that the requirement of policing the Roseacre site would “place significant demands on Lancashire Constabulary’s resources”.

Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group, Barbara Richardson said:

“I can not believe we are still having to fight this after four years, when it has been rejected at every level; from the residents, all the parish councils, Fylde Borough Council, who by the way also voted emphatically and unanimously against the plans saying the impacts would be severe, LCC’s Highways and Planning Officers, and our two Conservative MPs.

“These poorly-devised mitigation measures actually make matters worse putting even more lives at risk.  It is not about ‘if’ a serious accident occurs but ‘when’.

“The Planning Inspector said when rejecting the previous plans that:

‘The national need for shale gas exploration cannot be pleaded in support of this appeal …the need to ensure the safety of members of the public is paramount and would strongly      outweigh that important consideration’.
“It is time Cuadrilla accepted defeat and stop trying to override the democratic decision by trying to explore for shale gas in totally unsuitable location which puts people’s lives in danger. They seem to disregard the safety of our residents in their pursuit of profit. Enough is enough.

“Perhaps the UK just isn’t large enough to accommodate a full-blown unconventional, onshore shale gas industry after all.

“We will continue to fight this application every step of the way and look forward to presenting evidence again at the Public Inquiry alongside LCC and the parish councils.”
ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

  1. Cuadrilla began work at their Preston New Road (PNR) site in Lancashireat the beginning of January 2017, following Sajid Javid MP and central government overturning Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission for Cuadrilla’s fracking applications at PNR and Roseacre Wood. Heavy protests by local groups have been continuous since January of 2017 and will be ongoing for the foreseeable future.
  1. Image attached of a rural road around Roseacre village, Lancashire.
  1. For all further enquiries and information, please contact Barbara Richardson (07918) 106875

Fracking Challenges Fail in Lancashire: Campaigners to Fight On

PRESS RELEASE

12 January 2018

Frack Free Lancashire today expressed deep disappointment that two high court challenges brought by local campaign groups against the Secretary of State and Cuadrilla, have failed in their attempts to halt drilling in Lancashire

In 2015, Lancashire County Council democratically refused planning permission for Cuadrilla’s application to carry out exploratory hydraulic fracturing at Preston New Road, on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire.

Cuadrilla subsequently appealed to the Secretary of State, who in October 2016, controversially overturned the local council’s decision and gave Cuadrilla the go-ahead for planning permission. An ongoing legal battle has continued since then, with the campaign group, Preston New Road Action Group, bringing a judicial review at Manchester Court of Appeal earlier this year and a subsequent appeal at the High Court in London.

Lord Justice Simon, Lord Justice Lindblom and Lord Justice Henderson today handed down the decision at the High Court in London, dismissing both cases.

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“We are hugely disappointed that these appeals were dismissed today. We remain resolute and determined to counter and challenge any plans for fracking in Lancashire and beyond, and additionally, continuing to support those communities who are subjected to this industry being forced upon them.

“Public opposition to this filthy technology continues to grow, as does ourwillpower to fight this insidious industry which poses far too many risks to our health, environment and ultimately our climate change targets.

“The fight continues.”

ENDS

  1. For further information, please contact a member of the Frack Free Lancashire media team.

Time running out to respond to Cuadrilla’s revised traffic management plans for Roseacre

If you haven’t done so already please take a few minutes to respond to Cuadrilla’s revised traffic manangement plans for Roseacre. The consultation closes on 10 January.

The consultation on a revised transport route strategy and related environmental information can be found here.

You can email or post your comments. Some pointers to comments you might like to raise are available on the Frack Free Lancashire website.

All representations should be emailed to devcon@lancashire.gov.uk
or in writing to:

Development Management Group
Lancashire County Council
PO Box 100, County Hall
Pitt Street
Preston PR1 0LD

Quoting appeal reference: (APP/Q2371/W/15/3134385)

It would be wise to copy your responses to  the Planning Inspectorate – contact:

Leanne Palmer
Major Casework
Planning Inspectorate
3 / O, TQH,
2 The Square, Bristol,
BS1 6PN

leanne.palmer@pins.gsi.gov.uk

 

http://frackfreelancashire.org/actions-to-take/

Frack Free Groups Mark One Year in Lancashire Without Fracking

crowdbf

FRACK FREE GROUPS MARK ONE YEAR

IN LANCASHIRE WITHOUT FRACKING

05 JANUARY 2018

For immediate release 

Over 250 local residents and visitors from other communities under threat of fracking, gathered on the Fylde Coast today, marking a full year of resolute opposition to Cuadrilla’s operations at the Preston New Road site.

Representatives of groups from Cumbria, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Somerset joined Frack Free Lancashire in a demonstration of solidarity to mark the first anniversary of the start of Cuadrilla’s development of the fracking well pad.

Although the event was called Black Friday, there was a carnival atmosphere with music and speeches, with local police and protesters mingling on the road.

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“It has been a full year now since Cuadrilla started work on this pad. A year in which there has been a continual presence of local people at the side of the road, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“A year in which residents have been witnesses to what is happening on and around the site. This has ensured that Cuadrilla is aware, in no uncertain terms, of the growing discontent of the local community as they have continued their uphill struggle to force this industry upon an unwilling community.

“A year in which, in spite of a lot of promises, Cuadrilla have disappointed their investors by failing to frack a single well. Frack Free Lancashire have stood united and proud against this unwelcome industry for a full year and will continue to do so for as long as it takes.”

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors:

1.     A high-resolution photograph from the event can be downloaded from Frack Free Lancashire here.

Anti-fracking campaigner cycles from Spain to Lancashire to raise awareness of fracking and climate change

Simon-Peter

FRACK FREE LANCASHIRE

PRESS RELEASE

ANTI-FRACKING CAMPAIGNER CYCLES FROM SPAIN TO LANCASHIRE TO RAISE AWARENESS OF FRACKING AND CLIMATE CHANGE

4 DECEMBER 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

An anti-fracking campaigner from Nelson will today arrive at the Preston New Road fracking site, following a 750-mile cycle journey from Southern Spain, raising awareness for a clean energy future without the need for fracking.

Leaving with just a bike and a trailer, 50-year-old Simon Peter began his mission from El Mar Menor, close to Murcia, on October 13 2017, travelling through the Basque region to Bilbao, where he travelled by ferry to carry on his cycle journey to Lancashire.

Simon has had several delays, incurring dozens of inevitable tyre punctures and damage to his bike and trailer, but has persisted and carried on with his journey.

Simon stated:

“My Wake Up Cycling Call isn’t all about fracking – that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m planning to continue and cycle Scandinavia and then Africa and back again, but under more planned circumstances. This journey, I just felt I needed to do now – to go to Preston New Road fracking site to see for myself and learn what’s going on there.”

Simon travelled to Spain in April, to learn Spanish before his journey began, refusing to speak English whilst travelling through Spanish regions. He has found the locals incredibly helpful with directions: he also refused to use GPS so he could maximise his use of the language to stop and ask for help.

During his travels through Spain, Simon was impressed with the warm hospitality and charity of the country, being offered extra nights for free in hostels and even a free bike from a shop in Valencia to carry on his mission.

Simon’s cycle crusade has all been about highlighting the environmental crisis we’re currently facing, with climate change impacting the world around us. He told the Pendle News:

“I just can’t sit back. I started at a place called El Mar Menor as it’s a beautiful lagoon, a unique ecosystem, collapsing with problems of contaminated waters. Ten years ago I visited El Mar Menor [for the] first time and the waters were transparent and clear with beautiful swarms of fish. Today is a different story: the water has changed colour and 70% of the vegetation and fish have died.”

Simon is expecting to arrive at the Preston New Road fracking site on the afternoon of Monday 4 December, where his cycle journey will end.

ENDS
 

Breaking: INEOS Fracking Injunction Continues

Judge Justice Morgan has ruled that an injunction obtained against anti-fracking protesters by INEOS Shale should continue.

Drill or Drop says:

Mr Justice Morgan ruled that the interim injunction should remain in place. A future trial would be needed to make it permanent.

Mr Justice Morgan said he wanted to change some of the wording to the order to clarify what it covered. He has removed a clause in the original order preventing harassment of INEOS staff and contractors. We’ll have more details of the order when it is available.

The case has been seen as a test of rights to protest and is regarded as important because it may encourage other companies to take similar action aginst opponents of their activities.

INEOS sought the original injunction in July after saying it faced “a real and imminent risks of being targeted by unlawful protests”.

The company, which has yet to be granted planning permission for shale gas exploration, said the injunction aimed to prevent unlawful activity, not curtail lawful protest.

The order is directed against “persons unknown” and prohibited them from interfering with the lawful activities of INEOS staff and contractors. People who breached the order risk prison or having their assets seized.

It specifically named two protest techniques used by anti-fracking campaigners: slow walking in front of deliveries and climbing on top of vehicles, known as lorry surfing.

The slow walking clause was a key issue during previous hearings. Some police forces regularly facilitate slow walking protests at fracking sites. Campaigners have been acquitted of allegedly obstructing the highway during these protests. Slow walking, “lorry surfing” and unlawful obstruction of the highway without unreasonable excuse remain in the order.

Campaigners Joe Corre, son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Joe Boyd, argued that order breached human rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

They said it was unnecessary and based on flimsy evidence that over-stated or misrepresented the risk.

The order threatened law-abiding people and was already having an “impermissible chilling effect” on the rights to protest, they said.

The full Judgment can be read here.

 

Netpol report raises serious concerns around the policing of anti-fracking protests

Frack Free Lancashire

PRESS RELEASE

NETPOL REPORT RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS AROUND THE POLICING OF ANTI-FRACKING PROTESTS

 A report published today by Netpol, a collective of activists, campaigners, lawyers and researchers, working together to challenge disproportionate policing of protests and of communities, has raised serious concerns about the policing of anti-fracking protests nationwide, but particularly in Lancashire.

Citing concerns about collusion between fracking companies, the government and the police; disproportionate and inconsistent policing and the police’s public relations strategy which appears to be designed to divide communities, Netpol has called for an urgent review by the National Police Chief’s Council on the guidelines for the policing of fracking protests.

As Green MEP Keith Taylor explains:

“If local residents are beginning to question whether officers are working to protect them or just the interests of the oil and gas industry, the notion of consent has broken down – and trust must be repaired”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire commented:

“Since Cuadrilla started work we have continually expressed concern about the way in which Lancashire Police have facilitated their work, but have not given equal weight to the right to protest of those opposed to the fracking operations.

“We are fighting a David versus Goliath battle against an invasive industry and yet the current policing model has created a skewed narrative that it is protesters versus the police. Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, we need the police to protect our hard-won civil right to protest, but this is simply not happening.

“We are fighting a David versus Goliath battle against an invasive industry and yet the current policing model has created a skewed narrative that it is protesters versus the police. Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, we need the police to protect our hard-won civil right to protest, but this is simply not happening.
“Instead we face inconsistent and oppressive policing, from forces from all around the country, which use legislation intended for industrial disputes to criminalise citizens who have explored all other legitimate means of protest and have seen fracking imposed upon them in spite of a democratic decision to forbid it.

“We once again call upon our MP, Mark Menzies, to recognise the importance of this issue for all of the community that he represents and to ask some serious questions in parliament.”

ENDS

 

Notes to the Editor:

  1. Protecting the Planet is Not a Crime: A NETPOL REPORT ON THE POLICING OF ANTI-FRACKING PROTESTS DURING 2017 

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