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Community group challenges Government’s fracking decision

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


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:

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.

Riding Roughshod Over Democracy: sign the petition!

It’s make-or-break week for UK frackers. The government could give a green light to fracking in Lancashire – overriding the community and the local council. [1] This will open a dangerous door for future UK fracking sites – whether people want them or not.

Sajid Javid – the MP responsible for the decision – is due to make an announcement on Thursday. Today, dirty energy bosses have said they’re confident he’ll rule in their favour. [2] If they’re right – it’s an insult to local democracy.

Let’s make sure that Sajid Javid knows that we won’t stand for his riding roughshod over local people. Can you sign the petition demanding he stands by Lancashire council’s decision and says no to fracking?

Fracking is a dangerous way of getting oil and gas out of the ground. It could poison our water and produce a huge amount of toxic waste. [3] All over the country, people have been campaigning to protect their communities from the drills of dirty energy companies. [4]

Dirty energy company Cuadrilla has been fighting to frack Lancashire for years. They’ve been blocked at every level; by the residents, by the Parish Council, the Borough Council and by the County Council.

Having all this overturned by one man in Westminster flies in the face of local decision making. And could create a domino effect of other councils feeling unable to say no to fracking. [5]

When we work together, we’re stronger. Greenpeace supporters, Friends of the Earth members and thousands of grassroots campaigners are all standing hand-in-hand against these plans. [6] It’s a truly people-powered effort. Will you join us and let the government know they can’t get away with this?

Thanks for being involved,

Maddy, Emily, Kathryn and the 38 Degrees team.

[1] The Guardian: Cuadrilla to appeal against fracking refusal by Lancashire county council:
[2] The Telegraph: Cuadrilla boss ‘confident’ of fracking go-ahead as crucial decision looms:
[3] The Guardian: Scientists find fracking contaminated Wyoming water after EPA halted study:
BBC: What is fracking and why is it controversial?:
[4] BBC: Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application:
[5] A leaked letter signed by three ministers revealed that ministers want to designate fracking wells as “nationally significant infrastructure projects”, which would take planning decisions out of the hands of local authorities, to be made by planning officials instead.
The Guardian: UK ministers make it ‘top priority’ to ensure nature laws do not hamper fracking:
[6] Greenpeace: Fracking: Don’t Silence Us:
Friends of the Earth: Fracking in the UK:

An open letter to Queen Elizabeth, Part 2

This is the second of two press releases aimed at her Royal Highness, The Queen, inviting her to meet with the Nanas for afternoon tea at the Victoria Memorial.

* The Grandmother Elizabeth,

* Please note that we address you in this way, out of respect for what we consider to be your noblest role and highest obligation: to protect the young.

We recently contacted you about the plight of Lancashire residents who have used every democratic channel available to them in the fight to stop fracking coming to their communities. If you recall, our elected county councillors refused planning permission for two fracking sites in rural Fylde: Cuadrilla then appealed and the decision will now be made by the Secretary of State very soon. We appealed to you as our last democratic resource and asked you, ‘What would you do Ma’am?’.

We understand how busy you are and so we thought we’d make it easier for you to meet with us by holding a tea party at the ‘Grandmother’s Memorial’ outside Buckingham Palace. Like you, many of the Nanas are grandmothers, and are concerned for the future health and safety of their children and grandchildren should fracking go ahead. As well as being such a fitting memorial to a Queen and Grandmother, we believe that the symbolism of the Victoria Memorial represents mothers and grandmothers everywhere, who are fighting for their children’s futures.

The monument represents Peace, Agriculture, Progress and Manufacture. Ours is an entirely peaceful movement; we need agricultural land for food production rather than fracking; to frack for fossil fuels is a retrospective step and we want to see progress in renewable energy, an industry that could revitalise Lancashire’s proud manufacturing base. Also represented are Truth and Justice. We have been researching the truth about the shale gas industry for five years and have found it to be a dirty industry with far-reaching effects on health, the environment and the well-being of communities wherever it has been undertaken.

Our local councils, from parish to borough to county, have all said ‘No’ to fracking. Yet, the government will more than likely say ‘Yes’. Where is the justice in that Ma’am? To us, justice would be a ban on fracking in the UK and as we have proven that our voices are not heard in our democracy, we are beseeching you to call for the ban.

Like you, we take our obligations very seriously and so cannot stop our course of action; we are standing between a dangerous industry and our children and it would be impossible for us to step aside and open them up to a risk like this.

We would dearly like you to consider our plight and if you can, accept the report we have left for you. It is The Human Dimensions of Shale Gas Developments in Lancashire by Dr Anna Szolucha and it will tell you something of the impact this industry is already having on citizens here in the UK, even before it gets a foothold.

Of course, on the very top of your Great Grandmother’s memorial is a bronze Winged Victory. How appropriate. Nothing less than Victory would be acceptable because we will not allow fracking to destroy our communities. As a mother and grandmother, please help us secure this victory by supporting us and ensuring a healthy future for all of our children and grandchildren.

We’ll be outside on 27 September 2016 from 2pm for a tea party and invite you to join us or send a message, although most will go home later in the day, some of us will linger for longer in case you get the chance to meet with us.

Yours faithfully,

Tina Rothery, on behalf of the Nanas & Residents from Lancashire


Notes to Editors:

For further information, please contact:


Claire Stephenson

Frack Free Lancashire Press Contact

(07929) 969664


Tina Rothery


(07494) 708515


Julie Daniels


(07533) 003133

Lancashire residents appeal to Queen and ask her ‘What would you do Ma’am?’

Lancashire residents and Nanas have sent an open letter to Her Majesty, The Queen, as a fellow mother and grandmother and asked her, ‘What would you do Ma’am?’ The letter has also been sent out as a press release.

The letter has also been sent by post to Buckingham Palace. This press release is part one of a two-part action that will culminate in a peaceful presence at Buckingham Palace on 27th September 2016.


PRESS RELEASE                         19th September 2016

Your Royal Highness,

An important note before you read on: I am writing this as a fellow grandmother and would ask that you consider my question from your obligation to defend your young and with your heart, rather than your crown.

We are a group of UK citizens who feel increasingly shut out of the decision that is soon to be made on shale gas extraction in Lancashire. It is a basic tenet of democracy that power should remain as close as possible to the people and not be concentrated in the hands of a few.

We have seen democracy in action in Lancashire, where the people said ‘No’ to fracking and both their borough and county councils agreed with them, and in their turn said ‘No’ to Cuadrilla’s planning applications to frack two sites in rural Fylde, Lancashire [1].

Cuadrilla appealed and a public inquiry was held earlier this year at which we – the residents – spent weeks giving evidence. The planning inspector’s report has subsequently been submitted to Sajid Javid MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who will make a decision at the beginning of October.

The decision to refuse planning permission for fracking in Lancashire was local democracy in action. However, the government’s support for shale means that the power has been passed from Lancashire’s elected representatives to the hands of a few, who are interested in aiding the interests of big business, rather than the interests and health of the residents of Lancashire [2].

This is not democracy.

During the last five years we have spent a considerable amount of time, energy and money pursuing every democratic opening available to us. We have:

  • Held public meetings to gauge opinion & share information ☑
  • Helped create groups to discuss the hundreds of peer-reviewed studies ☑
  • Provided residents’ feedback to councillors ☑
  • Engaged with and provided MPs with feedback on residents’ concerns about the effects of fracking so close to residential areas ☑
  • Engaged with government ministers over residents’ concerns ☑
  • Attended industry information events in order to discover/understand their plans and what they might mean for residents ☑
  • Created petitions and obtained thousands of signatures which were delivered to County Halls and Downing Street ☑
  • Organised and attended peaceful demonstrations locally and nationally ☑
  • Took peaceful, direct and non-violent direct action  ☑
  • Co-operated with NGOs to put pressure on central government ☑
  • Given evidence at the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on the Economic Impact on UK Energy Policy of Shale Gas and Oil ☑
  • Attended and gave evidence at Lancashire County Council Development and Control meetings on planning        ☑
  • Attended and gave evidence at the weeks long Public Inquiry ☑
  • Contacted Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with an invitation to visit proposed sites and meet residents (not accepted) ☑
  • Sought help from our Monarch (this action) ☑


We have exhausted every democratic channel. We are desperate.

What would you do, Ma’am?


Yours sincerely,
Tina Rothery, on behalf of the Nanas & Residents from Lancashire



For immediate release.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Fracking plans rejected: Lancashire council throws out Cuadrilla proposal
  1. Minister says he will have final say on Lancashire fracking plans

For further information, please contact:


Claire Stephenson

Frack Free Lancashire Press Contact

(07929) 969664


Tina Rothery


(07494) 708515


Julie Daniels


(07533) 003133

Social impacts report now available to download

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 11.13.47


The first peer reviewed report on the social impacts of fracking has been launched please see post below. The report, by Dr Anna Szolucha, looks at the impact of shale gas extraction on communities in Lancashire.

The report, The Human Dimension of Shale Gas Developments in Lancashire, UK, can be downloaded here


New academic report highlights the social impacts of fracking

Last Tuesday (30/08/16) RAFF was invited to the launch of the first peer reviewed report on the social impacts of fracking. It was hosted by Dr Anna Szolucha, author of the report. Below is a press release relating to the event.

PRESS RELEASE 31st August 2016

Launch of New Research on Social Impacts of Fracking in Communities

Frack Free Lancashire were delighted to attend the launch of The Social Futures of Resource Extraction and Energy yesterday evening in the Harris Museum in Preston. The research and publication was carried out by Dr Anna Szolucha from the University of Bergen, Norway.

The event was invite-only and was fully subscribed. It was attended by Lancashire County Councillors and Lancashire residents from all sides of the fracking debate.

Distinguished speakers included Professor Anthony Ingraffea from Cornell University, USA and Professor of Global Energy, Michael Bradshaw, from the University of Warwick, spoke informatively on the Energy Trilemma that the UK faces and the limitations on shale gas development that might be imposed by the 5th Carbon budget. Professor Debra Davidson from the University of Alberta, Canada, both speaking via a live video link.

Pam Foster from Residents Action on Fylde Fracking said: “Dr Szolucha’s publication is a critical report containing the first peer-reviewed research based on the social impacts of fracking in the UK. It will join a huge library of 888 other peer-reviewed papers that reveal negative and unwanted impacts on water, air and health of people living close to fracking sites.”

Claire Stephenson from the Preston New Road Action Group said: “This comprehensive research marks a new level in our understanding of the destructive social impacts of fracking and the threat of fracking in rural communities. This is the first peer-reviewed evidence of its kind, and yet another nail in the coffin of an industry that deserves no place in our communities. It was interesting to watch one of the few pro-shale attendees, Stephen Tindale, actually fall asleep mid-presentation and he also left 30 minutes before the speakers had concluded.” 

Halsall Against Fracking stated: “The event was organised by Dr Anna Szolucha PhD, Department of Social Anthropology University of Bergen to launch her peer-reviewed study. The pro-fracking “lifelong environmental campaigner” in attendance, slept through most of the presentations and left before the end therefore is able to make no reference to the subject of the study itself, only quoting the same old tired industry rhetoric.”

Barbara Richardson from Roseacre Awareness Group said: “I was incredibly impressed with the quality of speakers during the evening. Professor Ingraffea is a world-renowned scientific voice on fracking and its effects. His speech, No, “Tough” Regulations on Shale Gas Development Are Not the Answer to a Sustainable Energy Future was enlightening and the key message was that: shale gas development is spatially intense, large-scale and causes unwanted impacts on air, water and human health.”

John Hobson from Defend Lytham said: “As we heard from Prof. Bradshaw, the recently ratified Fifth Carbon Budget has turned fracking into an irrelevance given the pressing need for rapid decarbonisation. It is definitively not the answer to the Energy Trilemma he presented to us. Without Carbon Capture and Storage, fracking is the equivalent of a low-tar cigarette: better but not the right answer to the problem. We need to kick this dirty habit entirely.”



For immediate release. For further information contact:

Claire Stephenson

Lancashire locks the gate

This brilliant meme was created by Claire Stevenson from Lancashire’s Preston new Road group. It has been created in advance of the imminent decision from our government as to whether they will  overrule the wishes of the residents of Lancashire and the democratic decision taken by Lancashire County Council to say no to fracking.

There are NO copyright restrictions so please feel free to adapt this image to suit your county or place.



Words below from Tina Rothery, Nana and member of RAFF:

“Does it seem a little quiet? That’ll be because in meetings, around kitchen tables, over garden fences and in various places… the people of Lancashire are readying themselves for the imminent decision about fracking Lancashire.

“We are many, we are varied and we all have one point of complete agreement – the UK will remain frack free. We may reach for that aim differently – but we are ALL reaching together.

“IF the decision comes and it has no respect for democracy or plain logic… then we will act (non-violently) but in a multitude of ways to prevent progress. We’re hoping the many will be willing to stand with us in some way – online sharing or perhaps in person here in Lancashire or where you are but in solidarity in some way?

“…IF the day comes – we will call and hope to hear a roar in response from this incredible movement.”

Frack Free Lancashire responds to Energy MInister’s shale sales pitch

RAFF along with other Frack Free Lancashire groups has responded to comments made by Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe in The Gazette earlier this week (16 August 2016).

PRESS RELEASE August 18th 2016

                                Residents’ Anger at Minister’s Shale Sales Pitch

Lancashire should be at the forefront of a green revolution to embrace clean, renewable energy, not be dragged back to the dark ages with yet more climate-damaging and short-term energy solutions found in hydraulic fracturing.

Frack Free Lancashire remains unconvinced of Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe’s vision (I believe shale gas is an exciting opportunity, August 16). The Conservative government still appears to be on the slow foot of technology with their continued dependence on fossil fuels, when worldwide, countries are striding forward with renewable technologies such as solar, hydro and wind power.

Our climate commitments to mitigate global warming are non-negotiable. The pursuit of dirty fossil fuels is in no way a match for a low-carbon future.

Tina Rothery from the Nanas said: “The suggestion that it is only a matter of ‘how much’ that is causing this incredible community resistance across the country to fracking, is as insulting as it is ignorant. Judging parents, grandparents and worried residents by their own standards, is a mistake made by each in the government who is championing this dead-end industry. We are protecting our young – there is no price tag on this. We said no, we meant no and the result will be, no fracking in the UK (if democracy prevails).”

Pam Foster from Residents Action on Fylde Fracking said: “Ever since the government overruled Lancashire County Council’s decision to say no to fracking, people have been flocking to either join or create new anti-fracking groups. The movement grows daily and Lucy Neville-Rolf’s remarks will aid our cause. We’re still awaiting the decision from the Secretary of State yet she is acting as if this is a done deal. This is undemocratic and could influence the final decision. The people of Lancashire are angry – very angry – and ready for action should the decision go in favour of the government and the shale gas companies.”

Claire Stephenson from Preston New Road Action Group said: “The Shale Gas Wealth fund scheme, once dissected, is underwhelming and a transparent attempt at cash in exchange for social acceptance. That will never happen. Baroness Neville-Rolfe seems rather confused regarding the jobs argument from fracking: Cuadrilla’s statistics were spectacularly discredited during the planning inspector’s hearing in Blackpool as fanciful figures.

“I would suggest that Westminster should urgently consider their potential position on forcing shale gas on unwilling communities, before a slippery slope of totalitarianism is reached. Lancashire said no. The minister needs to understand that.”

Pat Davies, Chair of Preston New Road Action Group said: “It is incredible that the Baroness believes shale gas to be an exciting opportunity. Lancashire has been clear in its vociferous refusal of shale gas at any price.

“The lure or idea of handouts to make the unacceptable become acceptable is profoundly disturbing.

“The government and its Ministers must fulfil their sacred duty to protect and serve all communities. Prime Minister May stated that upon her election.

“People’s health and lives should come before profit. Local Communities have the right to determine how they live. Lancashire wants local democracy to be observed, clean air and our land protected. The rights of families to the quiet enjoyment of their homes must be respected. Fracking at Preston New Road will answer none of those basic needs.

“Democracy on fracking must also be seen to be being observed in Lancashire, otherwise it is an empty word which promises much but delivers little. The eyes of the country will be upon any decision relating to fracking as this matter is now not just about fracking but about social and environmental justice for the people of Lancashire and beyond.”



  1. New energy minister, Lucy Neville-Rolfe, shares her thoughts on fracking

For immediate release on behalf of Frack Free Lancashire. For further information contact:

Claire Stephenson