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Lancashire groups join to fight fracking



Resident groups and environmental organisations from across Lancashire came together on Thursday evening (10 April) to plan opposition to the fracking industry in the county [1]

A dozen groups met in Preston city centre to share information on forthcoming applications by Cuadrilla for multi-well frack sites in the Fylde, and a current application to extend their operations at the Banks site in West Lancashire. The Banks site, where Cuadrilla have previously broken planning conditions designed to protect wintering birds, is on the edge of the wildlife-rich Ribble Estuary and in an important farming area [2].

The groups also launched the Lancashire Frack Free Alliance which aims to unite farmers, chefs, shops and supermarkets, restaurants and consumers to protect the local food economy from a large-scale fracking industry [3].

Graham Bentley from Ribble Estuary Against Fracking and a Banks resident, said: “Lancashire has a proud and vibrant food economy. To supply the amount of gas the industry brags about would mean thousands of wells in Lancashire, risking the water and healthy soils we need for a thriving food economy. We’re launching the Frack Free Food Alliance to protect our farmland.”


Pam Foster from Residents Action on Fylde Fracking and a Lytham St Annes resident, said: “It’s fantastic that local groups across Lancashire are coming together to support each other to stop the destructive fracking industry. We don’t have the millions that Cuadrilla spend on public relations but by working together, and countering the myths and misinformation promoted by the industry, we won’t let fracking take a hold in our county.” [4]

Dot Kelk from Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth and a Longton resident, said: “Scientists are warning us that we need urgent action to tackle climate change, starting with radically reducing our use of fossil fuels. Many communities in Lancashire are vulnerable to the effects of climate change including more frequent and severe flooding. Instead of a polluting fracking industry, Lancashire could be at the heart of a renewables industry to power the country.”


1. The groups were Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth, Defend Lytham, Frack Free Fylde, Garstang Against Fracking, Lancaster Against Fracking, Longridge Against Fracking, Preston Greenpeace, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, Ribble Estuary Against Fracking, Roseacre Awareness Group, Singleton Against a Fracked Environment, and Southport Friends of the Earth

2. Cuadrilla drilled beyond their permitted time into the wintering birds period


4. A complaint against Cuadrilla’s community newsletter was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority for misinformation, unsubstantiation and exaggeration.




RAFF’s response to LEP pro-fracking item


Below is the full text of a letter sent by RAFF’s Chair Ian Roberts in response to an item by Michael Roberts about fracking, published in the Lancashire Evening Post on 27  March 27-2014. In the article Michael Roberts accused RAFF of including misleading information in its brochure. For those of you who attended last month’s Inskip meeting, Michael Roberts was the sole pro-fracking voice, the ‘geologist from Garstang’.

RAFF’s letter:

“Regarding the article by Michael Roberts about fracking (LEP March 27) I would invite readers to look at a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority released on March 24 2013  following a complaint about a “community newsletter” posted to thousands of households in Lancashire in July 2012 by Cuadrilla.

The full ruling can be seen on RAFF’s website or by going to The ASA ruling identifies 21 ways in which the eight page leaflet breached the ASA’s advertising code on grounds including being misleading, misleading by omitting material information, making subjective claims, making claims without adequate substantiation, and exaggeration.

For example the ASA found the statement that “Cuadrilla uses proven, safe technologies to explore for and recover natural gas” could not be supported by evidence and this statement breached their code on three counts.

The statement “Cuadrilla’s fracturing fluid does not contain hazardous or toxic components” breached the ASA code on two counts. The statements, “We also know that hydraulic fracturing does not lead to contamination of the underground aquifer” and “There is no evidence of aquifer contamination from hydraulic fracturing” breached the ASA code on four counts.

Cuadrilla constantly points to the site at Elswick as being representative of what they are planning for Lancashire. There are major differences between that small conventional, vertical well which was never “fracked” and the huge unconventional, horizontal wells that Cuadrilla are proposing.

With regard to the Elswick site Cuadrilla stated “Our permanent site at Elswick has been quietly producing natural gas since 1993… The Elswick well was hydraulically fractured in 1993 and extracts gas from the sandstone formation.”

The ASA concluded this statement was intended to provide a falsely reassuring comparison between what had happened on a vertically fracked well and what would happen in future using horizontal fracking. The ASA found this statement breached their code on three counts.

So, given the industry, the Government and the Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil all speak with one voice my conclusion is you cannot trust any of them and this smells like the next big miss-selling scandal waiting to happen with our tourism and agricultural industries, our countryside, our environment and our health at stake.

This scandal regrettably will not be fixed by repaying people’s premiums, we will pay a much higher price than that.

Ian Roberts, chairman

Residents Action on Fylde Fracking


Letter to Roseacre residents from Cuadrilla

Below is the text of a letter Cuadrilla will be delivering tomorrow (03:04:14) to residents living along the favoured transport route for Roseacre Wood, which would leave the A583 to travel along either Church Lane or Clifton Lane.

Dear Resident,

Earlier this year Cuadrilla announced proposals for two new exploration sites . As part of those proposals we would like to advise you that the favoured Roseacre Wood transport route for heavy goods vehicles passes through your area.

We recognise that transport is a key concern for local residents and so have undertaken an assessment of a number of potential routes from the M55 to the proposed new site. During the busiest first two years of operations the average number of HGVs travelling a long the approved route would be approximately seven per day; with a maximum of approximately 25 per day during peak periods.

Included with this letter is a brochure with the emerging findings of the environmental impact assessment for Roseacre Wood. You will be able to read further information on traffic and transpor t in chapter four, pages 16 – 19 . This includes further information on estimated traffic flow s and the favoured route option.

We are holding a public information day tomorrow where you will be able to find out more about our proposals and would like you to attend . Our consultation runs until Thursday, 24 April.

Roseacre Wood Information Day: Elswick Village Hall, Roseacre Road, Elswick, Preston PR4 3UD. Thursday, 3 rd April from 3pm – 7.30pm

 If you are unable to attend an information day or would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on our freephone information line 0800 170 1115. This line is staffed by our dedicated community liaison team on weekdays from 9am – 5.30pm. You can also email us at

Yours sincerely,

Francis Egan

Chief Executive

Please do get in touch with us and tell us what you think about this proposed route. Additionally, if you go along to the Information Day and discover any information you think might be useful to share, then please let us know

Ex-Diplomat John Ashton gives his support to Lancashire anti-fracking groups

John Ashton chats to Bez from Happy Mondays

John Ashton chats to Bez from Happy Mondays


Last week (26:03:14), a number of local anti-fracking groups came together in Blackpool to meet and listen to John Ashton, an independent commentator and adviser on the politics of climate change.  Previously John was the Special Representative for Climate Change at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 2006 until June 2012,Director for Strategic Partnerships at LEAD International, and is the founder and CEO of Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G). Also amongst the guests was Bez from Happy Mondays, who is now getting involved in politics on an anti-fracking ticket.

John spoke about the economics of shale gas, covering a wide range of issues ranging from the effects the industry will have on local tourism and agriculture, the US gagging bill which means that individuals are effectively gagged from complaining about the effects shale gas extraction is having on their health, livelihoods, etc, to how our government is systematically dismantling regulations surrounding the sector. He also spoke about climate change and the need to move away from fossil fuels to renewables if we are to leave a positive legacy for the younger generation.

Later that day John went to speak to Lancashire County Council. The transcript of his briefing can be read here.

Fylde Campaigners Joined by Bianca Jagger at London ‘Mothers Against Fracking’ Rally


Bianca Jagger(1), Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, joined hundreds of mothers and children at a Mothers Against Fracking(2) rally organized by Frack Free Fylde campaigner, Gayzer Frackman, on Mother’s Day (Sunday 30th March) in London.

The event was held at Old Palace Yard near the House of Lords in Westminster(3), between noon until 3pm, as a demonstration of opposition from families to fracking in the UK.

Speaking at the event, Bianca Jagger said:As a mother, a grandmother and soon to be a great grandmother, I am deeply concerned about the impact fracking will have on our way of life. Our environment, our water sources, the air and the land are precious resources which we must conserve if we are to leave a habitable world to future generations. Prime Minister Cameron, I urge you to stop endorsing this hazardous technology. It will be a betrayal of our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

Dr Becky Martin, spokesperson for Mothers Against Fracking said: “We were grateful to Gayzer for organising the rally and to Bianca Jagger for supporting us on the day. The event was inclusive but the focus remained on a large and very visible group of mothers, from all walks of life, who wish to publicly show concern for the future health of their children should the unconventional gas industry be allowed to go ahead in the UK. We do not believe that the industry can be safely regulated as fracking is an inherently risky process and we will continue to campaign until this threat to the health and well being of our children goes away.”

Frack Free Fylde campaigner Gayzer Frackman was joined by fellow Lancashire campaigners, Tina Rothery and Julie Daniels from RAFF (Residents Action on  Fylde Fracking) and their joint message was a simple one: “Our children’s futures do not come with a price tag.”

Frackman, who changed his surname by deed poll after his home was damaged by seismic events caused by fracking operations in the Fylde(4), said: ‘The potential industrialisation of huge areas of the UK brings with it all the risks to public health, wildlife and the environment that have been documented in other countries where fracking has gone ahead.” He continued “the government’s arguments for extreme energy exploration are discredited. Shale will not bring down the cost of energy bills, nor will it create a jobs boom and it cannot come quick enough to bridge any gap in our energy needs so why would we compromise our children’s health for false promises?”(5)

Other speakers included the Green party leader: Natalie Bennett, Vanessa Vine of BIFF (Britain & Ireland Frack Free), Tina Rothery of RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking), Louise Somerville Williams (Frack Free Somerset), Julie Wassmer (East Kent Against Fracking) and Tammy Samede from the Barton Moss Camp in Salford where a protest has continued for over 3 months against exploratory drilling by IGas.

On Monday 31st March at 3pm, the protest continued when Frackman, Rothery and Daniels joined Mothers Against Fracking to become the 17th group to hand deliver a letter of protest to David Cameron at 10 Downing Street as part of the Walk the Walk campaign(6) begun by Gayzer Frackman in November last year after an epic walk from Lancashire to Downing Street to hand deliver the first letter of the campaign.

Gayzer Frackman will be demonstrating at Downing Street on Tuesday April 1st to raise awareness of the 3rd anniversary of earthquakes caused by Cuadrilla’s fracking in Lancashire.




Notes for Editors

(1)Bianca Jagger’s titles are:-
Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation.
Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador
IUCN Plant a Pledge Ambassador
Member of the Executive Director’s Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA

(2)Mothers Against Fracking campaign group

Facebook page:

(3) Mothers Against Fracking event address for Sunday 30th March 2014:
Old Palace Yard, Abingdon   Street, Westminster SW1
(12-3pm. Speakers from 1pm)

(4)  Gayzer Frackman’s group: Frack Free Fylde
Facebook page:

(5) Economics:  Fracking will not bring down the cost of energy bills.

  • Lord Stern, a cross-bench peer and professor at the London School of Economics, described the government’s claims of cheaper energy from UK  unconventional gas supplies as “baseless”.
  • Since UK gas is traded internationally, any shale gas ‘boom’ in the UK would be unlikely to have an impact on the gas price.
  • In the USA, where fracking artificially lowered gas prices significantly at the outset, gas is rarely exported because other markets are too far away.
  • Expert commentators from the International Energy Agency to Deutsche Bank have also said different geological, legal and      regulatory conditions make it unlikely the US shale gas boom would be repeated in the UK
  • The CBI, Chatham House and OFGEM have all expressed their doubts about shale gas bringing prices down.

Employment:  Fracking will not create a jobs boom.

  • David Cameron clings to the IOD report of 74,000 jobs being  created by the shale industry. This report was funded by Cuadrilla, (the fracking company chaired by the government’s special adviser on this industry, Lord John Browne), demonstrating that many arguments for fracking are made by those who have vested interests.
  • A far more recent AMEC report provided a greatly reduced estimate  of between 15,500 – 24,000 jobs – and only during the peak production  period of between 4 & 9 years.
  • This is a woeful amount when balanced against the million climate  jobs which could be created in that time.

Energy security: Fracking will not bridge an energy gap.

  • The government claims that shale gas is needed as a bridge to  renewables which are not yet fully available for our energy needs.
  • But shale energy cannot be produced in time either.
  • Shale requires another decade for production but the offshore industry has existing infrustructure in place and the full potential to  meet energy needs until renewables come on line.
  • It is also vital for us to ensure Climate Security – the      forthcoming IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report is      expected to show that we will miss our targets for carbon reduction and  exceed global warming levels by 2c leading to irreversible impacts on food and water security and coastal habitats.)

(6)Walk the Walk – Downing Street. Campaign Facebook page:-


Press Release issued by Julie Wassmer.

Editors please note:-

Gayzer Frackman will be demonstrating in London on 1st April. If you cannot reach him please contact:-
 Julie Wassmer; 01227 266910; 01227 266910/07400 926053; 07400 926053

For Mothers Against Fracking:
Dr Becky Martin: 07746 730396; 07746 730396

Frack Free Fylde:


Igas told ‘if you return, we’ll be back here’ as rig is taken down at Barton Moss

Barton Moss

Site 12 janThe much delayed test drilling by Igas at Barton Moss has come to an end and the rig is coming down ready to be removed from the site.

Frack Free Greater Manchester hopes that the continued presence of a protest camp at Barton Moss since November 2013, the three large rallies in opposition to the drilling at the site and the UK’s largest ever march against fracking in Manchester City Centre on 9th March 2014 has convinced Igas that they have no social license to frack in Greater Manchester.

Barton Moss Protection camp and local supporters will continue with the daily ‘slow walks’ in front of the Igas vehicles in order to delay the movement of the rig to a new site.

Sasha Conway, one of the Protectors who camped through the winter at Barton Moss said “This has been a long and hard first part of this campaign. If Igas return, we will be back here.”

Martin Porter of Frack Free Greater Manchester said “Our message to Igas is good riddance and don’t come back. The daily slow walks have delayed Igas’s operation by up to a month, and during that time public opinion on fracking has gone from 43% in favour (1) to 73% against (2) and their share price has collapsed wiping £80 million off the value of the company (3)

“This shows that direct action is effective both on a practical and a political level and also that the more people know about fracking the more they fear it. I don’t know where this rig is going next, but I do know that when it gets there it will find exactly the same opposition it found on Barton Moss. Igas have no social license to frack here or anywhere.”

1. BBC poll on fracking 3 December 2013

2. Manchester Evening News poll 6 March 2014

3. Igas share price 160p on 18/01/2014 and 121p today

People at the Barton Moss camp are this morning (31:03:14) reporting the arrival of lots of lorries, plus there are further reports that the police have once again removed the public footpath signs. Readers may be aware that the police are defining the road as a ‘highway’ when in fact a judge ruled that it is indeed a public footpath.

The rig is being dismantled to be deployed at another site. At the moment we have no idea where.  Anyone who has any information please do contact us


UK gets less than 2% of its gas from Russia

As tensions with Russia intensify, our Prime Minister, other government ministers and conservative commentators are increasingly  capitalising on the crisis to persuade us that we need to start fracking the UK asap. They would have us believe that keeping the lights on is dependent on Russian gas supplies and that these are now at risk. But just how dependent are was as a nation on Russia? Not very much as it turns out. An enquiry submitted to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) reveals that only a maximum of 2% of our gas imports comes from Russia.

Nasrine Fielding,  Head of International Gas Policy, DECC, said:

“In 2011, 87% of UK gas imports were sourced by pipeline from Norway and as shipped LNG (85% from Qatar).  No Russian gas comes to the UK via Norway,  and Russia did not export any LNG to the UK.

The remaining 13% of gas imports were sourced from Belgium and the Netherlands.   Gas imports from the Continent arrive via the
Interconnector pipeline from Belgium and the BBL pipeline from the Netherlands.  It is possible for molecules of Russian gas to come to the UK via these two countries, however, there is no obvious direct link and it is not possible to identify the origin of individual molecules of gas.

Given that the Netherlands has its own indigenous production and imports gas from Norway and the UK, it is unlikely that the Netherlands exports many Russian gas molecules to the UK.  Although Belgium does not have its own indigenous production, IEA data indicates that only approximately 2% of Belgium’s gas imports in 2011 originated from Russia.  As such, it seems unlikely that a large portion of gas imported into the UK via Belgium is of Russian origin.

Regarding the deals between Gazprom and UK based suppliers, these relate to gas trades rather than physical Russian gas molecules.  In summary, some Russian gas could end up in the UK’s National Transmission System,  however this is less than 1% of our gas imports. ”

Further information is available here.

The argument put forward by the pro-fracking community is a cynical attempt to scare the British public into believing that as the Crimean crisis deepens, we are at risk of running out of gas. Not only is their argument based on false data but the claims that fracking offers a panacea to dependence on Russian gas don’t even stack up. A study by consultants Pöyry reveals that it would take at least 10 years before European supplies could come on stream.

Balcombe Parish Council objects to Cuadrilla planning application

Balcombe Parish Council is to formally object to the planning application submitted by Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd to flow test the oil exploration well in the village. The parish council has published a report detailing these objections.  A summary of the reasons for objection are listed below.

Although they are specific to Balcombe, most are relevant to sites elsewhere, and offer some good points for residents to raise with councils everywhere.

  • Public opinion in Balcombe 60% of respondents to a village poll said the council should object to the planning application
  • Cuadrilla Balcombe’s financial position The report will raise questions about the company’s financial resources to deal with any issues resulting from oil exploration or production.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment The report will challenge the scoping document by West Sussex County Council, which concluded that the planning application did not need an EIA.
  • Traffic The council will challenge the lack of a traffic assessment or traffic management plan in the planning application.
  • Noise The council’s response will take issue with the way background noise will be measured. Councillors also questioned whether West Sussex County Council was competent to assess noise data.
  • Air pollution Balcombe Parish Council will argue for high levels of monitoring and control of air quality and calls for additional pollutants to be considered.
  • Drainage and flooding The report will point to inaccuracies in the application’s flood map and what it says about the site’s proximity of water courses.
  • Ecology Habitat issues surrounding great crested newts will be challenged, as well as the timing of a bat survey, which was carried out when Cuadrilla was last on site. Councillors recommended this would be a good time to re-do the survey.
  • Timing of operations Cuadrilla’s application is for three years and requires the company to give just seven days’ notice before it starts work. The report will say there should be a longer notice period to give statutory authorities, like the county council, longer to prepare.
  • Site restoration If permission were granted, the report calls for a 50-year period when the site would be regularly monitored.
  • Pollution risk and crisis planning The council will raise the issue of emissions from a flare, which is included in the application. It is concerned that the application includes plans to handle potentially hazardous liquids outside the area of the site which is surrounded by a pollution-control bund. There were also calls for a protocol for informing the water company, South East Water, of any pollution incidents.
  • Lighting The council will call for limits on the site lighting to limit impacts on nearby properties and the railway line.
  • Baseline studies The report will raised public concerns about the baseline studies carried out in 2013. If the application were approved, Balcombe Parish Council will want to see an agreed schedule of air, noise and water monitoring before work begins.
  • Landscape and visual intrusion The report will argue that the application is incomplete on this point because it says a photo-montage submitted by Cuadrilla did not include the 14m high flare.

BBC Big Fracking Debate – listen here

Last Thursday (27:02:14) the BBC held a Question Time event – The Big Fracking Debate – at Haydock Racecourse. The programme was broadcast the following day on Radio Lancashire, Radio Manchester and Radio Merseyside.

The panel, chaired by Annabel Tiffin, included:

  • Francis Egan, CEO Cuadrilla
  • John Blaymires, COO iGas
  • Tom Crotty, Direcector INEOS
  • Barbara Keeley, Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South
  • Helen Rimmer, Friends of the Earth NW Energy Campaigner
  • Mike Hill, Chartered independent oil & gas engineer

Members of RAFF were invited to attend this lively debate which lasted 90 minutes. You can catch the edited one hour show on iPlayer but we’d advise listening to the unedited 90  minute version here. Many thanks to Graham, from REAF (Ribble Estuary Against Fracking) for making this available via You Tube.



North West Business Task Force – Anti-shale Business Forum

Following the news that Cuadrilla has backed an industry group and self-styled ‘Task Force’ (North West Energy Task Force), which aims to persuade people to get behind shale, a new forum, the North West Business Task Force, has been created for businesses to  explore how the extraction of Lancashire’s shale gas may harm business, threaten economic growth & damage local revenues.

If you are a business wo/man who is concerned about the detrimental effects shale gas extraction may have on your business then please do get in touch with us and we will forward your details to the Task Force. You can contact us at