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Tina’s case dismissed!

PRESS RELEASE

09th December 2016
For immediate release

Tina Rothery and the Nanas of Lancashire are delighted that this case has been dismissed by the judiciary, with no further action.

In a private hearing, much of what was said is not able to be transferred to the public arena, but the judge vocalised his opinions as to how he felt this prosecution had been brought. The case did not progress to a public hearing, where the judge was clear he would make a public statement on the case if it were to be progressed by Cuadrilla.

Tina Rothery stated:

“I felt the Judge was uneasy about the entire case’s validity and the way it had been handled by Cuadrilla and their lawyers, and I felt reassured that the pressure and intimidation I have been subjected to by Cuadrilla from 2014 was evident to him. I was relieved to note that he seemed to be fully aware of all of the circumstances which led to me being in court today and Cuadrilla’s heavy involvement.

“Today may seem a small victory in the grand scheme of things, but it was a massive step for the anti-fracking movement to act in a such a globally coordinated way for our cause. Cuadrilla cannot help but be aware now that there will be no way to secure a social license now, or ever.”
Kate Styles, of the Nanas said:

“Today, on one of the few occasions in this whole fracking saga, we’ve actually seen justice done. In my opinion, this was a malicious prosecution which could have been stopped at any stage since it began. Unfortunately, Cuadrilla in all their wisdom, chose to pursue the costs of an injunction against an individual which could be construed as a vindictive act.
“I can only imagine the stress that this whole episode has had on Tina and I am delighted that we see an end to it today. If Cuadrilla seek social license in Lancashire, then this is a very strange way of attempting to gain approval for their proposed operations.”

Cuadrilla boss urged to drop case against fracking ‘Nana’

Press Release

07th December 2016

For immediate release

Tina Rothery, Lancashire Nana and anti-fracking campaigner, is being aggressively pursued for legal costs of over £55,000 and the likelihood of a possible two-week prison sentence, thanks to the actions of fracking company, Cuadrilla. Her supporters, including well-known figures such as Emma Thompson, Vivienne Westwood and trade union leaders, as well as NGOs and campaign groups, have today called on Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, to drop the case as completely unjustified. Hundreds are expected to gather outside Preston court on Friday when her case is heard, under the banner #IamTinaToo.

Paul Ridge of Bindmans solicitors said: “I have never seen a company behave as aggressively and for such a sustained period towards a single protestor on the matter of costs as in this case by Cuadrilla.”

Letter text:

Dear Mr Egan

We are writing to urge you to end Cuadrilla’s legal action against Tina Rothery, a peaceful anti-fracking campaigner facing over £55,000 legal costs and a possible two-week jail sentence following the supposed eviction of campaigners on 27th August 2014 from a site you hope to frack.

The bailiffs in fact ‘evicted’ an empty field. As Cuadrilla, the landowner and the public were made aware, the protesters were always going to leave on 26th August. They did this, having fully cleaned the site after their three-week stay and caused no damage.

In the light of this, the decision to incur large legal costs for eviction and to pursue one individual for these looks like a deliberate strategy to deter other protesters. Tina now faces a potential two-week jail sentence for refusing to comply with the Court Order, which she did because she considers Cuadrilla’s case against her to be unjust, bullying and an abuse of perfectly legitimate campaigners to deter protest. The intention to vacate the site was communicated to Cuadrilla and so there was no need for the action you took.

Tina has shown extraordinary bravery. When this legal action was brought and a named defendant was needed, she volunteered to prevent one of her fellow Lancashire Nanas, perhaps someone caring for children or elderly parents, being victimised.

Tina is an ordinary citizen seeking to exercise her right of protest against an industry which, according to Government opinion polls, is more unpopular than ever because of the risks it poses to our health, to our local and global environment and to our communities.

Lancashire County Council supported local people’s objections and refused Cuadrilla’s application to test-drill, frack and flow-test shale gas wells at two sites. Following an appeal, the Government has decided to overturn one refusal and probably both.

You may have won a legal argument, but, as far as we the undersigned and the people of Lancashire are concerned, you have not won a democratic or moral argument. You may have the permission of the Government to frack in Lancashire, but you do not have the permission of the people of Lancashire. Fracking is being imposed on Lancashire against its will.

You have described the fracking opportunities in the UK as ‘an absolute game-changer’. We agree: fracking could be a game changer — for the climate. According to Oil Change International, potential carbon emissions from oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields (without new fracking) and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming, let alone the 1.5°C which the Paris climate agreement requires us to pursue efforts towards. If we cannot afford to burn the gas we currently have, what is the point of looking for more?

We urge you to drop Tina’s case, allow peaceful protest and halt the drilling – for all our futures.

Yours sincerely,

  • Emma Thompson
  • Vivienne Westwood
  • Josh Fox, Filmmaker
  • Raoul Martinez, Artist, writer, filmmaker
  • Francesca Martinez, Comedian
  • Anthony Tombling, Filmmaker
  • Suzanne Jeffery, Campaign against Climate Change
  • Donna Hume, Friends of the Earth
  • John Sauven, Greenpeace
  • Ellie Groves, Reclaim the Power
  • Danielle Paffard, 350.org
  • Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now
  • Caroline Lucas, Green Party
  • Jonathan Bartley, Green Party
  • Natalie Bennett, Green Party
  • Manuel Cortes, TSSA
  • Chris Baugh, PCS
  • Matt Wrack, FBU
  • Tony Kearns, Communication Workers Union
  • Ian Hodson, Bakers, Food & Allied Workers union
  • Graham Petersen, Greener Jobs Alliance

 

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Tina Rothery’s case will be heard at Preston combined court at 12pm Friday 9th. Facebook event for the #IamTinaToo protest: https://www.facebook.com/events/1860818844147422/

2. In response to the open letter, Cuadrilla have denied that they can pull back from the case at this stage. Tina’s solicitor is clear that this is not the case, as stated in the following extract from communications from Bindmans to Cuadrilla’s lawyers Eversheds:

The steps now being taken to seek payment have been started by your client and it would be possible for them to stop the action by confirming that they no longer seek costs from Ms Rothery and regard this matter as at an end.

 Plainly the court will not want to engage in pointless further examination of matters if the claimant is no longer seeking ancient legal costs and views the matter as concluded.

 Given that the purpose behind Cuadrilla’s application was to obtain an injunction against a large number of people (it was a persons unknown injunction against potentially hundreds of thousands of people) it appears oppressive to continue to pursue Ms Rothery (and Ms Rothery only) not least when it has already been confirmed to you that she has no funds and nothing whatsoever can be gained by your client. It is hard to see why this enforcement action was started by Cuadrilla (at some expense) and is continuing. In my experience this is out of line with other companies that seek injunctions against protestors. I have never seen a company behave as aggressively and for such a sustained period towards a single protestor on the matter of costs as in this case by Cuadrilla. It is made all the more oppressive when they know that there is nothing to be gained.

It is not correct to suggest that this is simply a matter for the court. I have no doubt that the court would not continue to seek information if your client confirmed that they regarded the matter as closed and the debt was no longer being sought from Ms Rothery.

3. Further background on events leading up to the current trial

http://tinalouiseuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/tent-pegs-vs-drill-rigs.html

https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/news/stop-frackers-cuadrilla-persecuting-land-defenders-through-the-legal-system-bankruptcuadrilla/

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987832/cuadrilla_versus_the_nanas_iamtinarothery.html

https://drillordrop.com/2016/06/24/anti-fracking-campaigner-tells-court-i-wont-pay-cuadrillas-55k-legal-bill/

http://tinalouiseuk.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/houses-of-correction-what-gets-corrected.html?spref=fb

4. Contact details:

Claire Stephenson, spokesperson for Lancashire anti-fracking Nanas and Tina Rothery healingsanctuary@gmail.com, 07929 969664

Claire James, Campaign against Climate Change, claire@campaigncc.org 020 7833 9311 / 07939 654914

UK government suppressed damaging fracking report until after crucial Lancashire vote

As if we needed any further confirmation that our government will do anything to help Cuadrilla and, at the same time, deny Lancashire residents any semblance of democracy, it has been revealed today (25:11:16) that the Tories deliberately withheld the DEFRA report on fracking and its impacts from Lancashire County Council until it had made its crucial decisions on the Preston New Road and Roseacre sites.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) released a  heavily redacted version of the report, with 62 sections missing, in 2014. Greenpeace applied to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the Freedom of Information Act to force the publication of the full report.

An examination of the emails between government departments and officials show that the ICO decided in Greenpeace’s favour a couple of weeks before LCC was due to decide on Cuadrilla’s planning applications to frack at the two sites. The full report warned that fracking could affect house prices, damage local businesses and industrialise rural areas.

The full report was kept under wraps by the government while the council was meeting and wasn’t published until after the decisions were made.

 

Coverage

Coverage so far includes:

  • Energy Desk – Greenpeace’s account of the FOIs and emails  here
  • FoI released documents – click here
  • Drill or Drop – comprehensive look at the emails released by Greenpeace today, along with comment. Please click here
  • The Guardian: Government accused of ‘dirty tricks’ over controversial fracking report, which you can read here
  • BBC NW News  – about 4.06 minutes in
  • BBC News website – click here
  • Independent – click here
  • Blackpool Gazette – click here
  • Sputnik News – click here

Responding to the news, LCC Councillor Marcus Johnstone, said: “It is dirty tricks of the highest order – a real eye opener. It shows complete contempt for local democracy. It is very obvious they were hell bent on fracking happening anyway, whatever we said in Lancashire.”

 

Petition

Greenpeace has organised a petition: Tell the government to come clean on fracking. It says: “We’ve found out that the government plotted to hold back a negative report on fracking – but that’s only half the story. They’re refusing to reveal more email correspondence about the fracking report, despite months of delay on another Freedom of Information request. Will you write to the environment department and demand the full facts on fracking?”  You can access the petition here.

Green gas from grass – the ‘perfect answer to fracking’

Watch Ecotricity founder Dale Vince chat to Robert Llewellyn about Green Gas Mills, how they’ll work, and what the company has got planned for them. Vince claims these mills are the perfect answer to fracking. In order to get the debate going, Ecotricity will be dropping plans for more mills into every area that has been earmarked for fracking.

You can watch the video here.

 

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Local resident seeks Judicial Review

Mr. Julian Burton has formally made a statutory challenge to the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities (Sajid Javid) regarding his decisions concerning fracking at Roseacre Wood.

Mr. Burton, who is being represented by Cornerstones Barristers, had previously submitted a letter before action giving his grounds for challenge but the Secretary of State has now responded and has made it very clear that he intends to defend his position. Papers have now been lodged at court and are being sent to the Secretary of State and all other interested parties.

Mr. Burton’s action is welcomed by Treales, Roseacre and Wharles Parish Council and by Roseacre Awareness Group which represents local residents. Mr. Burton said:
“I am incredulous that the Secretary of State should feel it appropriate to re-open this Public Inquiry with the clear intention of over-turning not just the original decisions of Lancashire County Council (Planning Officer, Highways Officer and Development Control Committee) but also the unequivocal recommendation of the independent Planning Inspector.

“He has taken no account of local democracy in spite of this Government’s repeated pledges in support of localism.”

A spokesperson for Roseacre Awareness Group said:
“We are very saddened that Mr. Burton’s letter before action has been dismissed by the Secretary of State. This leaves him with no choice but to seek a Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s decision to re-open the Public Inquiry.

“Both the residents and Lancashire County Council have provided strong, robust and compelling evidence to show that Cuadrilla’s plans for the Roseacre Wood site are totally inappropriate and would pose a real danger in terms of road safety. We are being asked once more to present our case with all of the time and effort that this will involve. We regard this as being extremely unfair and an abuse of process.”

This matter will now be considered in the High Court and a judge will decide whether Mr. Burton has grounds to proceed to Judicial Review. A decision is expected early in the New Year.

Please see Drill or Drop for further information.

Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) start legal proceedings against government’s fracking decision

Formal legal proceedings have now been issued at the High Court against the Government’s decision to grant permission for fracking in Lancashire.

The legal challenge has been issued by the Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG), represented by law firm Leigh Day.

This follows a letter before action, which was sent to Sajid Javid MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government last month requesting the Government reconsider its decision.

The Secretary of State refused to reconsider his decision, so PNRAG’s lawyers have applied for a statutory review of the decision under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

PNRAG argue that the Government’s decision to overrule Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission for fracking in Fylde, Lancashire is unlawful because the decision is fundamentally flawed as it failed to properly apply relevant planning laws and policy.

On 29 June 2015, Lancashire County Council refused planning permission to Cuadrilla Bowland Limited to use a site off Preston New Road for fracking.  Cuadrilla appealed this decision, which, following a public inquiry, was recommended for approval by an Inspector and then confirmed by the Secretary of State on 6 October 2016.

The government’s decision to allow fracking in Lancashire is only the second license to permit fracking (as opposed to purely exploratory work) in the UK. The first was in relation to a site in Ryedale, North Yorkshire in May 2016. Leigh Day is representing the claimants challenging the decisions in both cases.

A spokesperson from Preston New Road Action Group said:

“This application was conclusively rejected on sound criteria, through local planning systems at Lancashire County Council. That decision should stand. Local planning and local democracy exist for a purpose, it is best placed to protect and understand local interests.

“The UK has a proud history of democracy. It purports to represent the people whose solemn duty it is to serve. Yet this decision neither represents the people’s wishes, nor those of their elected representatives in local democracy who possess crucial local planning knowledge.

“Our community has endured the threat of the fracking industry for almost three years. There is no social licence to proceed with fracking in Lancashire. Overwhelmingly, the communities affected said no. We continue to say no. We will not be silenced on this, for silence implies acceptance. There is no acceptance of a fracking industry.

“The decision by this lone voice in Westminster to overturn local democracy, has reverberated throughout the country.  It begs the question of whether local democracy even exists, if it can be set aside in order to facilitate the interests of corporate industry.

“Therefore, we seek to prove that this judgement is essentially flawed. We intend to invoke further legal routes to challenge this ruling and deem it unlawful.”

Rowan Smith, of law firm Leigh Day, said:

“Our clients believe that the government has made significant legal errors in overturning the Council’s refusal of planning permission to allow fracking on the site.

“For example, the decision appears to have been taken in breach of the Council’s development plan, which restricts these types of developments, as well as in breach of the correct planning law tests.

“This matters to our clients, some of whom live within 300 metres of the proposed site, because they fear that any development, which is not granted in compliance with these laws and policy, would be unsafe and unsustainable for the local area.”

It is hoped that a hearing will take place at the High Court early next year.

Over 2000 join in United Against Fracking Manchester march

 

 

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Thanks to all who attended the United Against Fracking march and rally on Saturday. The day was a huge success, with more than 2000 people coming from all over the UK and Northern Ireland. After a noisy demonstration through the streets of Manchester, the protectors converged on the Castlefield Bowl to hear speakers such as Bianca Jagger, Andy Burnham, John Ashton and Prof David Smythe, as well as representatives from different anti-fracking groups.

As usual, media coverage was patchy, with very little national coverage. BBC North West  and ITV Granada Reports both covered it.

You can see a great gallery of photos on the Manchester Evening News site  and also on the Salford Star site. 

Videos

For  in-depth coverage a compilation video of the speakers at Piccadilly Gardens and the start of the march (Part 1) is available here.

A video compilation of the march and the rally at the Castlefield Bowl (Part 2) is available  here

Friends of the Earth have  also put together a great video of the march.

 

Frack Free Lancashire intend to hold further major events like this over the coming weeks.

 

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Bianca Jagger addresses the crowd at Castlefield Bowl

 

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Andy Burnham at Castlefield Bowl

Community group challenges Government’s fracking decision

A Crowdfunder has been set up to help both Preston New Road and Roseacre with impending legal fees. Please donate here. Thank you

 

Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) has begun legal action against the Government in relation to its decision to grant permission for fracking in Lancashire.

The Group, represented by law firm Leigh Day, have written to the Secretary of State for Local Government to argue that his decision to overrule Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission for fracking in Fylde, Lancashire, is unlawful.

The decision by Government to allow fracking in Lancashire is the second such licence to be granted in the UK. The first was in relation to a site in Ryedale, North Yorkshire in May 2016.

Leigh Day are representing the claimants challenging the decisions in both cases.

Lawyers for the Lancashire group argue that the decision is fundamentally flawed in its misapplication of planning laws and policy.

It is also claimed that the Government did not properly consider the disproportionate effect that fracking on the site would have on vulnerable residents such as the elderly and school children nearby.

On 29 June 2015, the Council refused planning permission to Cuadrilla Bowland Limited to use a site off Preston New Road for fracking. However, the company appealed this decision and their appeal was controversially upheld by the Secretary of State on 6 October 2016.

The letter before action from Leigh Day requests that the Government reconsiders its decision.

If the government refuses then the group will consider bringing a statutory challenge under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against the decision.

A spokesperson from Preston New Road Action Group said: “PNR Action Group are appalled at the decision of the Secretary of State to overturn  local planning decisions in this manner. It was clear at a local level this application was rejected by both the Planning Committee and local residents. There is no social licence to frack Preston New Road.

“The dismantling of local democracy to facilitate this industry is a travesty of justice and begs the question of whether democracy exists any more at a local level. This decision by Westminster is troubling on a number of fronts.

“Lancashire said ‘no’ loudly and clearly and in line with local planning policies, that decision should stand.”

Rowan Smith, of law firm Leigh Day, said: “We believe that the Government’s decision to overturn the Council’s refusal of planning permission to allow fracking on the site is fundamentally flawed.

“The decision appears to have been taken in breach of the Council’s development plan, which restricts these types of developments, as well as contrary to the correct planning law tests.

“We will also argue on behalf of our clients that to allow fracking on this site would have an adverse affect on the health of local people and would ruin the much-loved local landscape.”

Leigh Day is also representing Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth in their legal challenge of the decision by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to allow fracking in Ryedale near the North Yorks Moors National Park.

An application for a judicial review of the decision has been made to the High Court, and the case will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on 22-23 November 2016, following the court’s permission to allow the claimants to rely on further evidence about the potential impact of fracking on climate change

Tina’s court case adjourned due to safety reasons

STOP PRESS . . . WE HAVE JUST BEEN INFORMED THAT TINA HAS RECEIVED NOTIFICATION THAT HER HEARING HAS BEEN POSTPONED – DUE TO SAFETY REASONS!

Tina has posted the following message on Facebook:

People HAVE got the power… and the people ONLINE created SUCH a fuss that I just walked in the door and received the following letter… CANCELLING my court appearance on Wednesday in Blackpool !!!
It may not be over and just a pause or perhaps… who knows but the words say this:
[Upon the court considering the safety and security issues which may arise at the hearing of 19th October 2016 and being advised that the Court at Blackpool may not be an appropriate venue IT IS ORDERED THAT:
The hearing listed on 19 October 2016 be adjourned to a date to be fixed at a venue to be fixed. Dated 13 October 2016]
That’s all – so although not necessarily out of the woods, certainly the power of people sharing and planning to attend has forced the court to halt this… for now. I could not be more grateful and relieved that prison is not this week – thank you
*Biggest thanks to George Brown for creating events like I am Tina Too as well as In Style at Styal that raised awareness of the abuse of justice and intimidation of an activist – designed to deter others and not to really apply true justice or law xxx

Tina was due to appear in court on 19 October at the Law Courts Chapel Street Blackpool Lancashire FY1 5R.

Believing that she was appearing in court next week Tina said:

“This is the day when I go before the judge and explain why I am not cooperating with their request to fill in forms. I chose during my last appearance to refuse to interact with what I see as an abuse of our system of justice. This is about deterring activists and making examples.

“The original case back in 2014 was because we (tidily) occupied a field for a set 3-week duration to raise awareness amongst the community – of just how close this proposed fracking field was to their homes, businesses and schools. Through the landowner, Cuadrilla had us ‘evicted’ on the day AFTER we left. They were aware we’d gone as we filmed a fingertip search of the field and alerted police, media, Cuadrilla and landowner that we’d gone.The cost of the eviction-that-never-happened is £55,000+ …solely in legal fees.

“So this is not even about the activism – it is now about court rules of engagement – and the expectation/insistance that I comply or face prison for 14 days. My options are to pay/ to sort a payment plan/ to declare bankruptcy OR to stick with my moral core that says – THIS is not about law or justice… it’s about the ones with the power, money and expensive lawyers, using our laws against us in court. It is impossible for anyone up against the powerful to be able to afford justice.

“Cuadrilla say this is nothing to do with them now as it is my fight with the court over its ruling… but there would never have been court had the fracking company not lied its way into our community, manhandled ‘democracy’ and put our wellbeing and children at grave risk.

Follow this link for more: http://tinalouiseuk.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/dear-justice.html

Fracking to go ahead at Preston New Road: Roseacre dismissed pending further information on traffic

Preston New Road has been overturned for both monitoring and exploration; Roseacre has been refused for exploratory development but not for monitoring. However, the Secretary of State is reserving himself on the entire judgement for Roseacre pending further information from Cuadrilla on highways

RAFF’s response to today’s announcement – Disgust

We offer our heartfelt sympathies to the residents of Fylde, especially to those people living close to the Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood communities. They have suffered months of mental and physical stresses, which have impacted on their health and well being. They have also incurred considerable financial strain. What was once a rural community will now become an industrialised zones.

While we are delighted to hear that fracking may not go ahead at Roseacre we are very disappointed that it will now go ahead at PNR, despite the overwhelming evidence of harm. Rosecare is not out of the woods. The Secretary of State is reserving himself on an entire judgement for RAG pending further information from Cuadrilla on highways. Disgracefully, this decision rests on the effects of traffic and not on those of health and the environment.

We will continue to fight this dirty, unwanted and unneeded industry. There were over 18,000 objections and only 200 in support. More and more communities are speaking out up and down the country, and there are now more than 500 community groups opposed to fracking, with more being set up every week. Together we need to stop this industry getting a foothold if we are to ensure the long-term future of our planet.

Overall we are disgusted at Sajid Javid’s decision:

Disgusted that the democratic process has been over-ruled. Despite posturing about localism, the government has ridden rough shod over our local parish, borough and county councils who all said NO to fracking at both sites.

Disgusted that permission has been granted for a green field site that is highly unsuitable. This decision will give the green light for the shale gas industry to take off. For fracking to be economically viable, hundreds of pads and thousands of wells will need to be established, many of them in the North of England.

Disgusted that the government has ignored the hundreds of academic, peer reviewed research papers from the likes of DEFRA, MEDACT, NY Health Professionals, all of which prove that fracking is bad for public health.

Disgusted that the government is locking us into a twentieth century fossil fuel programme when we should be keeping fossil fuels in the ground and investing in green energy.

Disgusted that in her maiden speech Theresa May said: “We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.” No PM you are helping the powerful here – the energy companies, not the residents. You have taken control away from us and our councils and given it to big business.

Disgusted that David Cameron signed us up to the Paris agreement, saying, “We should be taking action against climate change today” but the government is happy to give permission for a new fossil fuel industry to go ahead. How does that work? Shale gas extraction releases methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon.

Disgusted that despite there being no social licence for fracking to go ahead in the Fylde, the government has said yes. The people have spoken and they said No.

Disgusted that Fylde residents are being used as guinea pigs for the rest of the country.

Disgusted that huge subsidies are given out to the shale gas industry while those given to renewables have been cut time and again.

Disgusted that Sajid Javid hasn’t even had the decency to visit either of the two sites to discover for himself just how unsuitable these two rural locations are.