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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.”


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.                                                 

Cuadrilla Public Inquiry




The Public Inquiry is currently underway at Blackpool Football Club. Anyone can attend the hearings. Please do try and go along and offer support to the Roseacre and Preston New Road residents. After some members of the public were turned away for wearing Frack Free Lancashire T-shirts, Green Party jackets, etc, the issue has now been resolved and you can wear whatever you like. The taking in of banners and the like is forbidden. It is cold in there, so you are advised to wrap up.



Cuadrilla is webcasting each of the sessions and a live link is provided below. Previous broadcasts can be viewed here. There have been (still unresolved) problems with the sound of these broadcasts.

  • Link to live webcast – all sessions are being recorded and will be available to the public for 30 days only. The sound is very poor on some of them, especially the earlier ones. By the beginning of the third week the sound is much improved.
  • Core documents for the inquiry can be accessed here
  • Proofs of evidence can be accessed here
  • All the Public Inquiry details, and copies of the documents being presented as part of the Proof of Evidence, can also be found on the Programme Officer’s website
  • An inquiry programme  available here
  • Updates from Lancashire County Council


Please note that the most recent day’s proceedings is listed first. Please scroll down for previous days. Most coverage is provided by Counterbalance and Drill or Drop.


Day 19 – Final Day – Inquiry closes

The Planning Inspector heard the closing statements from Elizabeth Warner for Roseacre Awareness Group/Wharles, Roseacre & Treales Parish Council, Alan Evans for Lancashire County Council and Nathalie Lieven for Cuadrilla. Cuadrilla made an application for the costs of its appeal for Preston new Road.

A rally and photo opportunity was held during the lunch break.

Steve Becker

During the day we heard the very sad news that BBC Radio Lancashire journalist and broadcaster Steve Becker had tragically died on his way to the hearing. Steve had covered the Public Inquiry every day and was known to us all for his fair reporting and balance on fracking in Lancashire. We offer our sympathies and condolences to  his family.

We have set up a collection in his memory. If you would like to contribute the link is here



Drill or Drop



Day 18 (11 March 2016) Closing Statements

Closing statements from Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council, Preston New Road Action Group, Roseacre Awareness Group, Friends of the Earth and North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.



Drill or Drop

Day 17 (10 March 2016) 72 Personal Statements

Today 72 people are providing personal statements to the Inquiry. Only three individuals are speaking for compared with 69 against. If you were unable to attend today listen to the recordings of the amazing statements made by our residents.



Drill or Drop


Day 16 (9 March 2016) Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council Conditions



Drill or Drop



Day 15 (8 March 2016) Preston New Road – Noise, Planning and Landscape

We attended this morning when noise expert Mike Stigwood was giving  Cuadrilla’s QC a good run for her money. The session spilled over well into the afternoon and at 3.00 pm Mr Stigwood was followed by Steven Scott-Brown, an independent planning consultant with 40 years experience.

This evening, from 5.30 – 9.30 pm, is for interested parties, ie both pro and anti-fracking supporters have the opportunity to speak for five minutes. There are only a handful of pro-speakers, the rest are all anti. Once again, no Conservative Fylde Councillor has elected to speak, nor has Fylde’s MP Mark Menzies. There’s maybe an excuse for Menzies not turning up personally mid-week but we would have thought he could have sent a representative. As for our Tory councillors, are they scared of being seen to be not toeing the party line? Is the party more important than their residents?

You can read more about the details of today’s sessions on Counterbalance and Drill or Drop.




Drill or Drop

This evening’s session included some amazing presentations from local residents on a wide range of topics – technical aspects, economics, recreational activities, personal experiences of residing near the proposed fracking sites, etc. It’s humbling to see the expertise of ‘ordinary’ residents and we are full of admiration over the amount of knowledge people have acquired. Only five of the seven pro-fracking parties turned up, compared to 25 anti-fracking parties. Once again, Counterbalance and Drill or Drop has them covered.



Drill or Drop Opponents of Cuadrilla’s fracking plans

Drill or Drop Supporters of Cuadrilla’s fracking plans



Day 14 (4 March 2016) Roseacre Residents

[From Counterbalance] The morning began with Cuadrilla’s barrister Ms Lieven producing two new documents: one explaining the issue of the alleged erroneous flowback figures which, as we thought and as we suggested to our readers  last Friday, is because the wording in Cuadrilla’s Waste Management Plan – (which was then re-quoted by the Environment Agency) – is inaccurate.

The figures are broadly correct, but the word ‘site’ has been omitted from one paragraph, thus one of the figures related to flowback per well, and the other to flowback per site, and because the proposals involve four wells per site one figure is 4 times the other.

We thought the fact that an error like this reached version 7 of the Waste Management Plan and it took those opposing the scheme to spot it, it didn’t increase the confidence we can have in the information that has been provided.

The second document was the spreadsheet of the raw transport figures which Cuadrilla had said they would prefer not to provide, but which the Inspector formally requested be presented to the Inquiry.

The Planning Inspector heard from Roseacre’s barrister and local residents.



Drill or Drop Day 14



Day 13 (3 March 2016) Roseacre Residents Evidence

This was the day when discussing traffic numbers to the fracking sites, Cuadrilla’s QC, Ms Lieven said:

“We’re not at all willing to produce the detailed spreadsheets of every day and the calculations in respect of every day. I’m instructed there are commercial confidentiality issues around that and I don’t accept in the least that it is material to you or the Secretary of State.”

So decisions are expected to be made without the Planning Inspector or the Secretary of State having access to vital traffic data because Cuadrilla says it is confidential. This is unacceptable and is the second time we have been fobbed off with the ‘confidentiality’ plea at the Inquiry. Last week information on flowback treatment sites was also deemed commercially sensitive. For ‘commercial confidentiality’ read ‘something to hide’.



Drill or Drop



Day 12 (2 March 2016) Health and Planning


Drill or Drop

Day 11 (26 February 2016) Climate Change & Waste

Today’s hearings were on climate change and dealing with waste (blowback). Before the hearings began a group of Lancashire residents and supporters of Renewable Energy Alliance Lancashire -(REAL) gathered outside Blackpool Football Club to highlight the harmful effect of fracking and shale gas on the climate, and called for a greater ambition in renewable energy and green jobs. A press release is available here.


Today’s evidence from waste management expert Alan Watson was compelling. His Proof of Evidence can be read here but for a real flavour of this witness’ knowledge and authority, it’s worth watching the video recording. Cuadrilla’s QC was plainly out of her depth. Watson’s evidence revealed that there are limited waste treatment facilities available to Cuadrilla; Cuadrilla’s statements about where the waste will be treated are confusing; information is being withheld because it is ‘commercially sensitive’ – some had been redacted; and much more.

However the most significant item concerned the amount of waste, with Watson claiming that Cuadrilla’s Environmental Statement had underestimated the amount of flowback  by four times. This revelation was one of the best moments of the hearing so far – Cuadrilla’s QC tried to pass of the error as a typo – Alan Watson pointed out that this was the revised 7th edition of the document, so how could they have made the same typo on seven separate occasions! Watching their QC stutter and flounder was pure entertainment.

What it does mean is that the planning authority was given incorrect data. Watson said that dealing with the true amount of flowback would lead to either greatly increased traffic movements or the storage of waste on the site – both of which are planning-related issues. On this basis he said that the planning applications should be rejected. Surely the revelation over the greatly increased amounts of flowback must be a game changer?




Drill or Drop Day 12 Climate Change & Waste – topics include:
Kevin Anderson introduction
“Erroneous to regard any fossil fuel as low carbon”
Is shale gas “lower carbon”?
Will coal be replaced or displaced by shale?
The role of gas as a bridge fuel
Emissions for exploration alone “irresponsible use of carbon budget”
“Energy security should not be a driver for shale gas”
Wytch Farm “not a good comparison for shale gas”
Cost of electricity generation
“Cuadrilla under-estimated methane emissions”
Amber Rudd’s statement
“Foolhardy” to develop shale gas for a five year window
Professor says he would not support shale gas applications in the UK: the maths don’t add up
Inspector’s questions
Alan Watson
Flow back fluids
UK Treatment capacity
Capacity at proposed treatment centres
Big discrepancy in flowback figures, inquiry hears
“High flowback would threaten viability of projects”
Cuadrilla “between a rock and a hard place” on flowback
Is waste a planning issue?
Who is responsible for waste?
Preese Hall
Dispute over flowback data
Cuadrilla claims onsite treatment not possible
Inspector’s questions



Day 10 (25 February 2016) Planning Policy; Supporters & Opponents of Preston New Road

Today we heard from two supporters of fracking and 25 local residents, business people and councillors speaking against it. Presentations were varied and covered health, farming, damage to properties, the effects on well being, stress, animals, planning issues and so on. Some were rousing and others were very moving. The Planning Inspector showed patience and tolerance, as the audience clapped and cheered after each one.



Drill or Drop Day 11 Top 10 points on planning issues

Drill or Drop Day 11 Planning policy

Drill or Drop Day 11 What Supporters say about Preston New Road

Drill or Drop Day 11 What Opponents said about Preston New Road



 24 February 2016 Site Visits

Today, the Planning Inspector, councillors, legal teams etc listed the Preston New Road and Roseacre sites. In an effort to show the Planning Inspector just how high and intrusive Cuadrilla’s proposed 53 metre fracking rig will be, the Preston New Road group organised a blimp (balloon) to fly at the 53 meter height. Comment and a press release from Preston New Road are available here.

That’s Lancashire provided good coverage of the event.

Drill or Drop Day 10 – includes lots of photos taken of the parties at both sites.



Day 9 (23 February 2016) Noise and Traffic




Drill or Drop Day 9 Noise & Traffic – topics include:
“Preston New Road fracking could be refused on noise grounds”
Planning policy on noise
Continuous night-time noise for 8 months
”Inadequate” noise data
“No guarantee night noise can be achieved”
Questions from Cuadrilla
Noise complaints related to “unpopularity of fracking”
“39 decibels would meet planning policy”
Type of noise
Sleep disturbance
UK government guidance on sleep disturbance
Document “not relevant”
“Shifting attention to other guidance”
Daytime noise limit “not properly derived”
Noise effects at Preston New Road
“People will acclimatise to noise pretty quickly”
What happens if Cuadrilla broke night noise limits?
Questions from the inspector
Roseacre Wood HGV traffic would have unacceptable impact
Problems of big lorries on country lanes
Traffic generated by Roseace Wood “uncertain”
Predicted safety problems
Road safety audit



Day 8 (19 February 2016) Landscape




Drill or Drop Day 8 Landscape – topics include
Lancashire County Council evidence begins
Preston New Road would have urbanising effect – landscape witness
Criticism of Cuadrilla landscape assessment
“Drilling rig should be reduced to 36m – if approved”
“Building monitoring stations would have significant landscape impacts”
“Lower rig would reduce impact on Roseacre Wood landscape”
Cuadrilla questions council landscape witness
Landscape value of Preston New Road
Change to Preston New Road landscape
Dominant features
“Fracking will inevitably be in rural areas”
Effect of lighting on landscape
53m v 36m drilling rig
Monitoring at Preston New Road
Rig height at Roseacre Wood
Lancashire county council advice
Council re-examination on landscape issues
Questions from the inspector



Day 7 (18 February 2016) Business and Economics

Day 7 began with a photo opportunity for those local businesses who are worried that fracking will destroy their livelihoods.


photo 1


A press release is available here. Read the press coverage here.




Drill or Drop Day 7 Business & Economics – topics include:
Inskip route too expensive
Chamber of Commerce evidence
“Significant” job creation from shale
“Start of a supply chain”
Benefits “might”/”probably” accrue
Exploration “considered on its merits”
Preston New Road benefits: 11 jobs
Friends of the Earth questions Babs Murphy
Chamber membership in tourism and farming
“Vast majority of members” support shale gas
“Chamber survey elicited the response you wanted”
Farming support for shale gas
Report on rural impacts of shale gas
Industry-supported reports on shale gas benefits
House of Lords committee report on shale gas
American experience
Public questions to Babs Murphy
Lessons from Aberdeen
“Don’t take things for granted”
“Absolutely no guarantees”
“Gas compatible with a low carbon economy”
“Red carpet not rolled out for Cuadrilla”
Public questions to James Bream, Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce
36 job losses at PR Marriott
Lancashire drilling programme
Public questions to Paul Matich, PR Marriott




Day 6 (17 February 2016) Traffic; Supporters/Opponents of Roseacre Wood

This evening (17 February 2016), between 6.30 pm and 9.30 pm, local people had the opportunity to make comments on the Roseacre Wood application. twenty-four individuals spoke at this session, four pro-frackers and 20 against. The group of 20 comprised residents, farmers, engineers, a fire expert, market gardeners and more, all convinced that fracking would have a devastating effect on their livelihoods, lifestyles and physical and mental health. You can red more about the evening here.




Drill or Drop Day 6 Traffic  – topics covered:
Hedges and wing mirrors
Peaks in lorry movements
Safety of the lorry route
Inskip and Wharles route
Junctions on route to Roseacre Wood
Width of Dagger Road
Pedestrians and cyclists
Enforcing traffic plans
Types of heavy goods vehicles
“Vast increase” in lorry traffic to Roseacre Wood
Roseacre traffic report “extreme” – Cuadrilla witness
“Lorry route is not practicable” – parish council
Cuadrilla barrister reviews traffic evidence
Roseacre resident questions traffic witness
Inspector’s questions



Day 5 (16 February 2016) Traffic and Landscape



Drill or Drop Day 5 Traffic & Landscape – topics covered:
“Worst case scenario: three rigs on site at one time”
“No assessment of lighting on landscape character”
Shale gas extraction would have “minor impact” on landscape – company witness
Landscape assessment “did not follow best practice”
Review of landscape evidence
Inspector’s questions on colour and sound barrier
Speed limits
Layby parking for lorries
Broughton alternative route dropped
Safety audit
Passing places
Preferred route
Cuadrilla’s highways evidence begins
“No reason to refuse appeal”



Day 4 (12 February 2016) Noise and Landscape



Drill or Drop Day 4 Noise and Landscape – topics include
Cuadrilla’s barrister re-examines noise witness
Inquiry inspector questions noise expert
Fracking effects on landscape
“Limited landscape impact”
How many rigs on site?
Questions to landscape witness
Measuring landscape effects
Harm to the landscape



Day 3 (11 February 2016) Noise




Drill or Drop Day 3 Noise – topics include
Cuadrilla’s noise expert witness gives evidence
Tonal noise
Noise at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood
Reducing noise at fracking sites
Noise no reason to refuse appeals – Cuadrilla’s noise expert
Council questions Cuadrilla’s noise expert
Noise impacts
Roseacre residents question Cuadrilla’s noise expert
Background and predicted noise levels
Proposed equipment at Fylde fracking sites
Preston New Road residents question Cuadrilla’s noise expert
Low frequency noise
Weekend working
Sleep deprivation



Day 2 (10 February 2016) Planning Policy



Drill or Drop Day 2 Planning Policy – topics include
Climate change
Energy Security
Paris Climate Agreement
Capacity of waste treatment works
Health impacts of fracking plans
Costs and benefits of fracking applications
Ministerial statement supporting shale gas
Roseacre residents question Cuadrilla
Impact of fracking on tourism
Cuadrilla’s barrister reviews evidence on planning
Inspector’s questions on planning



Day 1 (9 February)

The first day of the Inquiry started with a rally outside Blackpool Football ground, the home of the Inquiry for the next five weeks. It was lovely to see old friends from Frack Free Lancashire as well as further afield and to meet new supporters from other regions, as well as Northern Ireland. Thank you to you all for supporting us in Lancashire, we really do appreciate it.

A double decker red buses hired to pick up supporters from Preston station and bring them to the ground. It was suitably decorated and gave us a lot of publicity as it drove round and round the outskirts of the football ground (unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to park.

There was a pathetic attempt by 30 or so pro-frackers to organise their own rally. We’d been alerted that they would have a presence but on arriving at the ground their allocated space was empty, with not a soul in sight. About an hour later, about 30 of them all arrived at once and exactly an hour later they all left together – everyone of them. Obviously they were being paid by the hour. They were mostly male and mostly of job age. We hope they were paid well and that it was worth taking a couple of hours off work. While they were there we were subjected to Blackpool Football Club’s anthem ‘Glad All Over’, which were blasted though their PA system – so loud that our speakers were drowned out.

Refraction has created a couple of amusing posts analysing just who these ‘rent a mob’ pro-frackers are.

So who exactly is backing fracking: unmasking the astro surfers 

Lost in transit- a sad tale

There was lots of media coverage  of the day including:

BBC online
The Mirror
The Telegraph 
Huffington Post UK (Tina’s piece)
The Ecologist 
Daily Politics BBC

RAFF was involved with the demo on the first day and we are planning to attend some of the Inquiry sessions over the coming weeks. The hearings are being webcast by Cuadrilla so you can listen to them in real time here This is a public Inquiry so anyone can attend. If you do make it to a session please do get in touch and tell us about it.

Recordings are being made of all sessions. Todays can be viewed and heard here.

The wonderful Drill or Drop creator Ruth Hayhurst is attending the Inquiry and is blogging about it daily on her web site Drill or Drop. Day One of the Inquiry can be read here. Topics included:

Inquiry timetable
Cuadrilla opening statement
North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
Lancashire County Council
Friends of the Earth
Roseacre Awareness Group
Final opening statement from Preston New Road Action Group
First Cuadrilla witness: Mark Smith
Cross examination of drilling rig
Local planning policy
Cross-examination of Cuadrilla’s witness
Mineral planning policy


Counterbalance attended for most of the first day and will be at other sessions. You can read about the first day here

Many of the local groups are in attendance and Tweeting in real time.