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Babs Murphy asking for more ‘robust’ action by police

A RAFF follower has just sent us this message she received from Babs Murphy. Miss Babs is chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of both the North West Energy Task Force  and the business group Lancashire for Shale. You could say she is a firm supporter of shale gas. Those of you who attended the Public Inquiry in Blackpool, last year, will remember her poor (nay appalling) performance and even poorer lack of knowledge.

Presumably this message, which is full of mis-information, has been sent out by the Chamber to all of its members. As well as containing statements which are untrue, she pleads with her members to write to Clive Grunshaw the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner to ask him to “empower our local Police to use all legal options available to them to enforce the law”.

Once again the pro-fracking lobby is peddling half-truths, lies and fantasy; it shows just how desperate they are getting. If you feel compelled to give her some feedback giver her a ring on 01772 653000.

 

The following is the full text of  email sent out out by the Chamber:
Dear Colleague

We have been contacted by a number of businesses in relation to the disruption that is being caused by protestors on the A583, near Little Plumpton.   Yet again, today we’ve seen the A583  closed all day due to activists deliberately “locking-on” across a major public highway.

The last five weeks have seen six complete road closures and at least nine contraflows caused protestors occupying the main carriageway.    Blue light ambulances have been redirected and a funeral cortege had to be re-routed at one point.  Local residents are not getting to work on time, tourists have had their holidays affected and local businesses are losing vital custom.

The police are doing a superb job in very difficult circumstances balancing the rights to peaceful protest with the rights of residents and business-owners to go about their normal business and earn a living.  However, the escalation of these disruptive tactics means that more robust action is needed now to keep the public highway open.

If, like many local businesses, you feel strongly about this, I urge you to write to Clive Grunshaw the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner to ask him to empower our local Police to use all legal options available to them to enforce the law and keep this important road open.  Please tell him how you, your families and your businesses have been impacted.

Clive can be contacted at:

commissioner@lancashire-pcc.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Babs Murphy
Chief Executive
01772 653000

Tell Greg Clark to refuse fracking permission now

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As you’re probably aware, drilling commenced at the Preston New Road site on 17 August, but before fracking can start the Secretary of State for Energy, Greg Clark MP, must sign Cuadrilla’s fracking consent application. Friends of the Earth have telling created a petition, telling Greg Clark to refuse fracking permission now.

Together we’ve already stalled Cuadrilla’s plans and people power has kept the UK frack-free for six years. Now, the more people who write to Greg Clark and tell him that fracking must not take place, the more pressure he’ll be under to say no.

.Please sign the petition here.

What Are You Drinking Fylde?

55% of Water in Your Tap is from the Fracking Zone and 40% from Forest of Bowland

Thanks to Mike Hill for investigating the issue of Fylde’s water supply. Where does Fylde’s drinking water come from?

A reply from United Utilities reveals that a property in the middle of St Annes, Fylde gets 95% of its water from local boreholes, the River Wyre and Stocks Reservoir in Bowland. Only 5% is a mix of river and lake water from the Lake District. So 55% of all Fylde’s water in your taps comes directly from the Fylde – a potential fracking zone and a further 40% is from the greater fracking zone!

Mike Hill, together with local anti-fracking groups such as RAFF, have repeatedly drawn attention to the potential contamination of our drinking water by fracking activity. We have also repeatedly been accused of scaremongering and told it could never happen as our drinking water comes from the Lake District or other areas. Well here we have it from the horse’s mouth – 55% of water in your tap is from the fracking zone and 40% from the greater fracking zone, the Forest of Bowland.

 

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‘GREEN MONDAYS’ AT FRACKING SITE

Members of environmental movements across the North West are joining forces today to keep up peaceful pressure on both the shale gas industry and the government by bringing in more people to stand in protest at Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.

Former Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, who will today speak at the launch of ‘Green Mondays’, said:
“I’m disappointed to be having to make my third visit to the Preston New Road site. The public of Lancashire, indeed the UK public, have made it very clear that they do not want fracking. Lancashire County Council said no, the protectors on site, working day and night for months in the face of aggressive policing, have said fracking must not happen here, yet still Cuadrilla is throwing its shareholders money into a project that doesn’t have community consent.”

Liz Stanton of Greenpeace Preston said:
“Greenpeace are joining with other anti-fracking groups to try and stop Cuadrilla from fracking Lancashire. It has not brought employment to Lancashire, it won’t bring our energy prices down, but it will damage our environment. We need to look to the future and make sure our energy is clean. Renewable, clean energy has brought jobs to the northwest, it makes energy more affordable and its clean!”

Dot Kelk of Friends of the Earth – Central Lancashire, UK said:
“Fracking – the unconventional and risky extraction of shale gas and oil – poses a serious threat to our world’s climate, and to local environments and communities. Catastrophic and abrupt climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity, and extreme weather events are already having an impact in the UK and around the world. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the world needs to stop burning fossil fuels as fast as possible.”

Gina Dowding (Lancashire County Councillor) said:
“Our voices have not been listened to, so it’s now time to take action with our bodies. Being at the site demonstrates our strength of feeling against this toxic industry, and reminds the company and the Government that the community will not roll over.”

The ‘Green Mondays’ idea follows on from the month-long Rolling Resistance protests organised by Reclaim The Power throughout July. As a result of the protests which have been taking place since January – works at the site are currently five months behind schedule.

Natalie Bennett added:
“The Green Party has supported anti-fracking campaigns from the start, and the campaigns have been highly successful in preventing the start of an industry whose existence is indefensible on climate change, safety and wellbeing, and economic grounds. We, and the protectors, are also championing the alternatives – community-owned renewables and energy efficiency, which create business opportunities, jobs and energy security.”

Shell and Exxon face censure over claim gas was ‘cleanest fossil fuel’

Arthur Neslen, Monday 14 August 2017

The Dutch advertising watchdog will on Tuesday censure Shell and Exxon for claiming that natural gas was “the cleanest of all fossil fuels” in an advert earlier this year.It will be the second time this summer that the Netherlands advertising standards board has ruled against the fossil fuels industry, after it slapped down Statoil in June for calling gas a “clean energy” and “low emissions fuel”.

In a bid to pre-empt the latest ruling, online versions of the advert were changed a few weeks ago to redefine gas as “the least polluting fossil fuel”.

The Dutch watchdog waived punitive action against the NAM company, which is part-owned by Shell and Exxon, in that light.

Paul de Clerk of Friends of the Earth Europe, which co-filed the complaint with Milieudefensie, said: “This clear ruling by the advertisement standards board is of great importance. Time after time we see how oil and gas companies are misleading citizens and politicians.

“They want us to believe that gas is clean and they support the transition to renewable energy. Behind the screens we see how the same companies lobby against this transition. To prevent catastrophic climate change we need to end the dependency on all fossil fuels – including gas. ”

The issue is highly contentious, after a Trump administration push for gas to be described as a “clean technology” at a G20 summit in July split the meeting.

The US disassociated itself from the final communique, inserting text into the document saying that it would help countries “access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.”

But gas is seen by many policy-makers as a “bridging fuel” to a renewable-powered future and the EU’s research wing has also described it as a low carbon energy source, making about £100m available for research grants on that basis.

Natural gas emits around half as much carbon dioxide as coal when burned, although this is still far more than from renewables.

But the picture is less clear when it includes methane – a short-lived but much more potent greenhouse gas – which one recent study found was being emitted by gas plants at levels up to 120 times higher than reported to US regulators.

The ruling by the Dutch Advertising Code Authority, which the Guardian has seen, found that “the absolute term ‘cleanest fossil fuel’ is not in line with the MRC [Dutch advertising code].”

“It is suggested that fossil fuels can be clean in that they do not cause environmental damage. It is firm – and recognised by NAM – that that suggestion is not correct.”

Antonetta van Beem, a spokeswoman for NAM, said her company’s decision to change the advert was not an admission that the original had been misleading.

The world’s largest frack pad takes shape

Preston New Road is set to become the world’s largest frack pad. Hundreds of wells are planned for the Fylde.

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Despite attempts by protectors to stop deliveries to the site, Cuadrilla has made progress on the rig this month.

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Photo: Ros Wills

 

Welcome to Frackpool Illuminations – the illuminated pad can be seen clearly from many Fylde villages now, as well as the M55 and surrounding area.

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Photo: Katrina Lawrie

 

There seems to be a problem with surface water. Where has it come from? Where is it draining to? What’s in the water?  Whatever is on the surface of the pad is being transferred to local roads by lorries leaving the pad.

 

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Photo: Ned Skywalk

November date for Preston New Road lock-on trial

Three local councillors were amongst 13 people who were involved in a lock-on protest at the gates of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in July. One person has accepted a caution; seven of the group appeared at Blackpool Magistrates Court this week charged with obstructing the highway and offences under the Trades Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act. All pleaded not guilty. The other five will appear at the court shortly.

The trial will begin on 13 November  and is expected to last all week.

 

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Unions protest at Preston New Road site

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Representatives from various unions took part in a demonstration outside the gates of Cuadrilla’s site on Preston New Road. Union members included the Lancashire NUT – delegates at a recent Conference voted overwhelmingly to ban fracking.
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Is the rig here or is it more Cuadrilla spin?

In the small hours of this morning, amid a huge police and security presence, a convoy of 18 lorries rolled into Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. According to the police, Lancashire County Council allegedly facilitated this convoy by permitting Cuadrilla to breach their traffic management plan in allowing the convoy to travel through Preston (rather than the M55) and to deliver outside of agreed times. However, we are hearing reports that Andrew Mullaney, Head of Planning at LCC has said that they did not give their agreement for this action.

Cuadrilla claims that these deliveries contain the components necessary for constructing the rig and have issued a press statement confirming the claim. Some observers have questioned the validity of Cuadrilla’s claims and believe the components are for the construction of a work over rig. Others claim that the rig is still over at PR Mariott’s in Chesterfield.

An interesting point about Cuadrilla’s statement is that they don’t say that they will be fracking by the end of the year. The company’s website still claims that they will be drilling by the second quarter of 2017 – mmm. Due to opposition by the anti-fracking community they are hugely behind time and their shareholders are getting very nervous. Is this news a piece of spin to keep their backers happy or has the rig really arrived? We will try and confirm one way or the other as facts unfold during the day.

One indisputable fact is that the police are facilitating Cuadrilla’ s progress at every step of the way. Why did they say that LCC had agreed to this breach when it appears to be untrue? Cuadrilla has a long history of breaching planning regulations. It is to be hoped that LCC impose penalties. The lack of transparency by the pice is more worrying.

Frack Free Lancashire’s response to Cuadrilla’s claim that rig is now on site

PRESS STATEMENT

Frack Free Lancashire

“We understand that early this morning, Lancashire Police and Conservative-controlled Lancashire County Council facilitated Cuadrilla bringing in a mass convoy of equipment onto the site at Preston New Road, under the cover of darkness.

“We note that Mr Egan has claimed this week that his project is “progressing to plan”. However, even if Cuadrilla have managed to get their drilling rig onto the site it is hard to see how they will be able to start drilling in the second quarter of 2017 (as their web site still claims 1), unless they have managed to get a time machine onto the site at the same time.

“It is abundantly clear that community protest has had a major impact on Cuadrilla’s attempts at making progress at this site and it will continue to do so. As Cuadrilla’s work on this site intensifies and its predicted impacts start to be felt, our protest will continue, as is our legal right.”

ENDS

 

Notes to the Editor

  1. Cuadrilla’s website states: “Work commenced to build the site in January 2017 and the drilling phase of operations is expected to commence in Q2 2017.”