Latest News

Frack Free Lancashire’s Response to Cuadrilla’s Announcement of Their Intention to Resume Fracking in Lancashire

Responding to today’s announcement by Cuadrilla of their intention to resume fracking at Preston New Road, Nick Danby from Frack free Lancashire said:

“This is an unwelcome but not unexpected announcement. It seems extraordinary that with the government just announcing a climate emergency, we are contemplating a resumption of fracking on the Fylde.

“Let us remember that Cuadrilla have a long history of failure and that they caused 57 seismic events last time that they fracked.

“They have also recently been taken to task and are being investigated by the Environment Agency for failing to properly monitor water quality, having previously failed to record a methane leak. They simply cannot be trusted to put the health and welfare of the community ahead of their commercial interests.

“Yesterday, we held an event at Preston New Road to mark over two years of peaceful protest and over 150 people attended.

“We will continue to strongly oppose fossil fuels and demand an immediate transition to renewable energy.”
 

Call for Calm: Anti-fracking Nanas to Host 100th Week of Fracking Vigil

 

40379661_10216601956824119_5519616807444414464_o

 

Lancashire anti-fracking community, the Nanas, are delighted to announce their 100th Call for Calm taking place on 10 July 2019, Maple Farm Community Hub, Preston New Road from 10.00.

The gathering will be open to any and all visitors and the Nanas will be offering vegan and vegetarian refreshments on the day. Visitors are invited to enjoy a range of community-run activities such as hair chalking, entertainment such as Morris dancing, a samba band and to hear from independent climate action speakers.

The Nanas are a collective of compassionate individuals, fighting to protect communities from the harmful effects of unconventional energy techniques like fracking.

The 100th Call for Calm will be a special gathering designed to honour almost two years of the women from the anti-fracking community holding a weekly Call for Calm, where women have gathered in peaceful solidarity against violence and aggression experienced by protesters against fracking.

 

 

 

 

 

Former chairman of Cuadrilla says that fracking in the UK is not needed

Frack Free Lancashire notes with interest, that the former chairman of Cuadrilla and ex-chief executive of BP, has stated that fracking in the UK is not needed and the extraction technique is illogical.

During an interview in Saturday’s Guardian, Lord Browne stated[1]

“Fracking in the UK doesn’t make much sense. I think it was a test to see if it worked. We probably don’t need to do it.

Lord Browne, who left Cuadrilla in 2015 to work for Russian oil and gas firm, L1 Energy, was implicated as being involved in heavy lobbying within government on behalf of the fracking industry during his time with Cuadrilla, revealed through Freedom of Information requests as having held a series of “urgent” [2] meetings with the Environment Agency over regulations

Back in 2011, the current Cuadrilla chief executive, Francis Egan and Lord Browne strongly lobbied for Cuadrilla to be excluded from environmental regulations adopted in 2011, with Egan stating, “that the Mining Waste Directive does not apply”. [3]

During 2013, the meetings between Browne, Cuadrilla, the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson and the Environment Agency, were held over fracking in both Lancashire and Balcombe. Also involved in meetings, were Lord Chris Smith from Environment Agency and Michael Fallon MP, the then Business and Energy Secretary.

Through Freedom of Information requests, it was claimed by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that “no notes were kept” for the secret meetings between Cuadrilla and government agencies.

This is in strong parallels with the recent failures by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and former Shale Gas Commissioner, Natascha Engel, where meeting notes with residents and industry groups were destroyed and data was not recorded or stored along with GDPR best practice.

A spokesperson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Democracy has always been neglected when it comes to the government’s fracking agenda. Private corporations have taken clear priority over the residents and communities that fracking has been inflicted upon. It is only through persistent efforts of campaigners through Freedom of Information requests, that we find out any of this information.

“Lord Browne appears to have confirmed the irrelevance of fracking in the UK’s future, claiming it was only a test run to see if it can actually be done.

“In the ongoing climate crisis, our opposition to this climate-damaging dirty energy source will strongly continue in Lancashire and beyond.”

 

1.    Guardian. (2019). Ex-BP boss John Browne: ‘It’s going to take a long time to take oil and coal out of the energy system’

2.    Unearthed. (2014). Lord Browne held ‘urgent meetings’ with environment minister to speed up fracking project  

3.    Unearthed. (2014). Lord Browne held ‘urgent meetings’ with environment minister to speed up fracking project

 4.  Unearthed. (2019). UK fracking commissioner admits to deleting correspondence with industry

 

INDEPENDENT SCIENTISTS & ACADEMICS CONDEMN GOVERNMENT BACKING FOR FRACKING & WARN OF URGENT CLIMATE CHANGE RISK

Frack Free United are pleased to support the letter in today’s The Times, in response to the fracking industry’s recent pleas through the media, to relax the seismic traffic light system for the benefit of shale gas extraction.

Today’s letter carries a powerful message, counter-signed by a host of international, independent leading academics and scientists. Their warning on climate change and the further burning of fossil fuels must be adhered, in light of the undeniable scientific evidence on this subject.

By the UK government backing further extraction of fossil fuels through fracking, will only serve to increase dangerous climate-changing emissions. We fully advocate the call to withdraw support for fracking and push forward with renewable energy infrastructure to meet the urgent challenge of climate change.

A spokesperson from Frack Free United said:

“We are pleased to support the independent scientists’ call for the government to withdraw their backing for fracking. The global climate change breakdown we currently face requires urgent action and a need to divest from fossil fuels. Fracking is not a “bridge” to a carbon-neutral future: it is yet another fossil fuel cheque that our climate cannot afford to cash. We are in a climate crisis and the UK government should declare it as one.”

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

  1. EFFECT OF FRACKING ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The Times, letters, 27 February 2019

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/times-letters-broad-church-political-parties-and-pr-voting-gbkwwql22

 

Sir, Recently Ineos and Cuadrilla, which both have significant interests in the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, have demanded that the “traffic light” system that monitors seismicity at fracking well sites should be relaxed to allow larger earthquakes (reports, Feb 5 & 7). Following this a group of geoscientists signed a letter to The Times (Feb 9) in support of this demand.

This month the UK Institute of Public Policy Research reported that as a result of climate change “a new, highly complex and destabilised ‘domain of risk’ is emerging, which includes the risk of the collapse of key social and economic systems, at local and potentially even global levels”.

Climate change is already causing an increase in extreme weather events and driving accelerated melting of the polar ice sheets and Himalayan glaciers. Its primary causes are carbon dioxide emissions from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels and rising methane emissions from fossil fuel extraction — particularly fracking. Meanwhile a new era of cheap, clean renewable energy and storage is arriving, with volumes doubling every two to three years. Is it not time that our leaders and scientific community withdrew their support for fracking and engaged in the challenge of transforming our society to meet this existential challenge?

Nick Cowern, Emeritus Professor, School of Engineering, Newcastle University; Professor Peter Strachan, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University; Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Physics, Imperial College, London; Professor Andrew Blowers, The Open University; Dr Adam Broinowski, Visiting Research Fellow, Australian National University; Dr Matthew Cotton, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Environment and Geography, University of York; Professor Richard Cowell, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University; Professor Mark Diesendorf, University of New South Wales; Dr Paul Dorfman, The Energy Institute, University College London; Professor Geraint Ellis, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast; Dr Ian Fairlie, Scientific consultant, UK; Denis Hall, Emeritus Professor, Heriot Watt University; Professor Stuart Haszeldine, FRSE, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh; Robert W Howarth, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Cornell University; Professor Mark Z Jacobson, School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University; Dr Phil Johnstone, Research Fellow, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex; Professor Calvin Jones, Professor of Economics, Cardiff Business School; Dr Peter Kalmus, Associate Project Scientist, Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles; Dr Dominic Kelly, Dept. of Politics and International Studies, Warwick University; Dr Jeremy Leggett, social entrepreneur and writer, director at Solarcentury; Dr David Lowry, Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Professor Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards, University College London; Professor Majia H Nadesan, Risk Innovation Fellow, Arizona State University; Sir Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist and writer; William Powrie, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, Southampton University; Andrew Simms, Research Associate, Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex; David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow; Dr Matt Watson, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Sheffield; Professor Andrew Watterson, Public Health and Population Health Research Group, University of Stirling

 

Say NO to weaker earthquake rules for fracking

The Campaign to Protect Rural England is calling on residents everywhere to write to their MPs and demand that fracking rules on earthquakes aren’t weakened.

The fracking industry – mainly Cuadrilla and INEOS – is calling on the Prime Minister to weaken the rules on earthquakes

Write to your MP today to oppose this proposal

At the moment, fracking must be halted if an earthquake occurs over 0.5 magnitude – something that has happened numerous times since drilling started again last year. The industry wants to raise this limit, allowing them to ignore bigger earthquakes and continue to frack.

We can’t allow the government to give in. Please write to your MP and ask them to urge the Prime Minister and the energy minister to dismiss these attempts to soften the regulations.

The government itself has hailed the current regulations as ‘world leading’, which were designed with the very industry that is now calling for them to be weakened. It is only now, when these rules are doing what they were designed to do – stopping bigger earthquakes – that the industry is demanding a change.

New polling shows the public feel their voices should take precedence over those in the fracking industry. Yet just 13% of people think the government is actually listening to them. This has to change to restore public faith.

The government must reassure the public that it won’t weaken these vital protections and will put community, not industry, voices first.

You can either write directly to your MP or fill in a pre-formatted form and letter here

Please do this as a matter of urgency.

Declare Climate Emergency and Divest From Fossil Fuels – Saturday 2 March, St Annes on Sea

We are going to march around St Anne’s Square, led by a samba band! At the end of the march which concludes in Ashton Gardens with speeches and declarations.

This march will highlight climate injustice and we will be encouraging local people, business and councils to declare climate emergency and divest from industries and suppliers that support environmental breakdown.

Encourage your friends to come out for what we hope will be a family-friendly, informative day!

Please bring your own Banners and Instruments.

Route:

Start from St Annes Road East ( opposite Our Lady Catholic Church) 11.00am
Turn right and over the Crescent, down through St Annes Square.
At the traffic lights (main junction) turn left on to Clifton Drive.
Turning first left onto Wood Street
Turning second left onto Park Road
Turn left back into St Annes Square
Turn right onto Garden Street
Into Ashton Gardens through the main gate to Memorial for speeches.

Travel to St Annes on Sea:

Train…..Preston Station P2 9.54am to arrive, St Annes Station, 10.20am
Bus…….Preston Bus Station No 68 Stand 4 stops St Annes Square
Blackpool town centre No 17 Stops St Annes Square
Car:

Parking in town centre car park on St Georges Road.

On arrival in St Annes make your way over the Crescent out of the Square to the meeting place, turning left at the bottom of the hill, a 5-minute walk from the Square.

CUADRILLA’S FRACKING APPEAL FOR ROSEACRE WOODS IS REFUSED BY GOVERNMENT

Roseacre Awareness Group

PRESS RELEASE

CUADRILLA’S FRACKING APPEAL FOR ROSEACRE WOODS IS REFUSED BY GOVERNMENT

12 February 2018

For immediate release

Today, James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Communities announced his decision to refuse Cuadrilla’s appeal to frack for shale gas at Roseacre Wood in Lancashire.

Cuadrilla’s proposals on fracking for shale gas in the heart of rural Fylde, might have required an associated 15,000 journeys of the largest HGVs possible without special license – 44-tonne, six-axle juggernauts –  not including all other site traffic, on narrow and winding country lanes used by large numbers of of walkers, cyclists, horse riders, farm vehicles, livestock and commuters.

Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group, Barbara Richardson, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State has seen sense and rejected Cuadrilla’s appeal.

“Roseacre Wood was always a totally unsuitable location for an industry of this nature; a fact recognised by local residents, our parish, town, borough and county councils and even our two Conservative MPs. It is a clear endorsement for local authorities to be the appropriate decision making bodies for shale gas exploration applications.

“It has been a long and costly process, causing much stress and anxiety, but is a testament to all those who worked tirelessly to protect their community from an unwanted, unproven and inappropriate industry which has the potential to destroy huge areas of our rural and agricultural landscape.


“Over 13,000 people objected to the original plans. The community has spent five years, thousands of working hours and tens of thousands of pounds, producing evidence supporting Lancashire County Council’s  decision to refuse planning permission. This has caused considerable stress and anxiety, residents have shown great determination and resilience in trying to protect their communities.


“We do not believe fracking for shale gas, a dirty carbon intensive fossil fuel industry, has any place in our energy mix.  We must encourage and invest in renewable, green energy future for the sake of future generations.

“We are absolutely delighted that at last the government are listening to the community on this occasion and have realised that this industry is not suitable.

“We sincerely hope that Cuadrilla now respect the decision of the Secretary of State and do not attempt to override this decision. If they do, we will continue to fight.”


Susan Holliday, Chair of Preston New Road Action group (PNRAG) said:

“Preston New Road Action Group are delighted that permission has been refused for the Roseacre Site. No community should have to put up with the disruption and anxiety that has been suffered by the residents of Preston New Road for the last two years, so it is great to hear that Cuadrilla will not be progressing a second site.”

 

Helen Rimmer from Friends of the Earth said:

“This is fantastic news which will be a huge relief for local people. It’s also a triumph for the tireless local campaigners who have worked long and hard for this outcome.

“But many other communities across England fracking are still fighting fracking – the government must also listen to them and say no to this dirty and unwanted industry.

“With scientists warning that there is so little time left to get on top of climate change, it’s clearer than ever that the future lies in clean, renewable energy.”

 

ENDS

LATEST GOVERNMENT SURVEY SHOWS OPPOSITION TO FRACKING HAS INCREASED WHILE SUPPORT FOR THE EXTREME TECHNIQUE HAS DROPPED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

07 FEBRUARY 2019

In another blow to the fracking industry, today’s 28th Wave Tracker from the Department of Business, Energy and Industry’s (BEIS) Quarterly Tracker on Public Attitudes was released, showing increased opposition to fracking, while support for the extraction technique has plummeted again.

Key points to note include:

– a 4% increase in opposition to fracking – 35%, up from 31% in September 2018’s tracker

– a 3% drop in support for fracking – just 13%, down from 15% in the last survey. This is the lowest level of support since the tracker began, with 13% support recorded in 2017

– 40% of respondents cited the risk of earthquakes as a strong reason to oppose fracking.

Support for fracking has dropped since the tracker began in 2014,down from a peak of 29% in March 2014, whereas opposition to shale gas has polled above 30% since March 2016

Public opinion for this poll has clearly been impacted by the 57 seismic events at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, with 40% of respondents citing earthquake risk as a key reason to oppose fracking – this was a dramatic increase, up from 26% in September 2018.

62% of respondents said that loss or destruction of the natural environment was a strong reason to oppose fracking.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, Infrastructure Policy Manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

“The government has today met its obligation to protect our environment and the public, by refusing to entertain the desperate calls by industry for a relaxation of regulations on seismic activity as a result of fracking.

‘It must now take this damning evidence that fracking does not have the support of the public into consideration as it makes its decision on proposals to fast-track fracking. Perusing this plan would defy local democracy and remove the voices of local communities in decisions over fracking proposals in their area.”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The increased opposition to fracking and drop in support comes as no surprise, considering the large number of seismic events which have been experienced since fracking resumed on the Fylde Coast. Fracking’s unpopularity will also have been increased by people’s distaste for the fracking companies’ bully boy tactics as they have tried to browbeat government into changing the regulations governing the seismic traffic light system.”

Steve Mason from Frack Free United said:

“How can shareholders or any sensible business keep on backing fracking? To continue forging ahead is beginning to look fanatical and totally irresponsible. Fracking is proving to be economically unviable, the industry cannot operate safely under the very same regulations they helped create.
“Fracking threatens industrial wipeout of some of the UK’s most valuable countryside and has no public support. It’s time for a change of direction. Fracking in our communities is never going to be a strategic winner for this country.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker: Wave 28

 

FRACKING IN LANCASHIRE – THE IMPACTS FOR RESIDENTS'; 9 FEBRUARY 2019, 2-4PM AT RIBBY HALL, WREA GREEN

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

01 FEBRUARY 2019

On behalf of Concerned Residents of Lancashire, an event has been organised for the 9 February 2019, entitled: Fracking in Lancashire – the Impacts for Residents [1]. The venue is the Woodlands Suite, Ribby Hall, near Wrea Green, PR4 2PR [2] from 14.00-16.00.

The event venue in Wrea Green is close to Cuadrilla’s exploratory hydraulic fracturing site at Preston New Road.

Three keynote speakers will address the event, as well as representatives from the local community groups, followed by a question and answer session. The speakers for the day will be:

  • Sharon Wilson, a Texan resident who worked in the oil & gas industry for over a decade, who now with US environmental group Earthworks [3]. Sharon will share her personal and professional experience on the impacts of fracking. Additionally, she has briefed NATO and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the impacts of oil and gas extraction.
  • Dr Tim Thornton, a retired GP from Ryedale, on the health implications for residents living near fracking sites.
  • Professor David Smythe [4], Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow, on the geological situation fracking the Lancashire Bowland shale. Professor Smythe has appeared as an expert witness at several public inquiries on fracking.

Invitations have also been extended to local MPs, all Lancashire county councillors, the Shale Gas Commissioner Natascha Engel, Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, minister for business, energy and industrial strategy Claire Perry MP and shadow secretary of state for international trade, Barry Gardiner.

The community groups will also provide updates on what is happening at the Preston New Road site, the Secretary of State’s decision on the Roseacre Wood appeal and a planning application for Altcar Moss near Formby.

The event is free admission but tickets must be secured via Eventbrite due to limited space available.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  1. Eventbrite link – Fracking in Lancashire: The Impacts for Residents
  2. Ribby Hall Village
  3. Earthworks
  4. Professor David Smythe

Fracking In Lancashire – the impacts for residents: an information event

https---cdn.evbuc.com-images-54977681-245868547017-1-original.20190111-101452

 

When: 9 February 2019, 14.00 – 16.00

Where: Ribby Hall, Woodlands Suite, Ribby Road, Wrea Green PR4 2PR. View Map

With fracking commencing at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, and large areas of Lancashire potentially open to shale gas exploration, this event is an opportunity to hear from experts in health, geology and thermography about what fracking could mean for our communities.

As well as short presentations from key speakers there will be an opportunity for a Q&A to ask them what fracking has meant for communities in the USA and what it could mean for you.

Speakers

  • Sharon Wilson, a Texan who worked in the oil & gas industry for over a decade, now with US environmental group Earthworks. Sharon will share her personal and professional experiences on the impacts of fracking. She has briefed NATO and the US. Environmental Protection Agency on the impacts of oil and gas extraction.
  • Dr Tim Thornton, a retired GP from Ryedale, on the health implications for residents living near fracking sites.
  • Professor David Smythe, geologist, on the environmental impacts of fracking the Lancashire Bowland shale.

Updates will be provided by local residents’ groups.

This is a free event. Tickets are available here.