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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

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.