In the small hours of this morning, amid a huge police and security presence, a convoy of 18 lorries rolled into Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. According to the police, Lancashire County Council allegedly facilitated this convoy by permitting Cuadrilla to breach their traffic management plan in allowing the convoy to travel through Preston (rather than the M55) and to deliver outside of agreed times. However, we are hearing reports that Andrew Mullaney, Head of Planning at LCC has said that they did not give their agreement for this action.
Cuadrilla claims that these deliveries contain the components necessary for constructing the rig and have issued a press statement confirming the claim. Some observers have questioned the validity of Cuadrilla’s claims and believe the components are for the construction of a work over rig. Others claim that the rig is still over at PR Mariott’s in Chesterfield.
An interesting point about Cuadrilla’s statement is that they don’t say that they will be fracking by the end of the year. The company’s website still claims that they will be drilling by the second quarter of 2017 – mmm. Due to opposition by the anti-fracking community they are hugely behind time and their shareholders are getting very nervous. Is this news a piece of spin to keep their backers happy or has the rig really arrived? We will try and confirm one way or the other as facts unfold during the day.
One indisputable fact is that the police are facilitating Cuadrilla’ s progress at every step of the way. Why did they say that LCC had agreed to this breach when it appears to be untrue? Cuadrilla has a long history of breaching planning regulations. It is to be hoped that LCC impose penalties. The lack of transparency by the pice is more worrying.