Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Fracking Planning Inquiry to Reopen in Lancashire

Cows on the road, Roseacre

cows on the road, Roseacre

 

Roseacre Awareness Group, Press Release

26 October 2017

For immediate release

A date has been set for the reopening of a planning inquiry for Cuadrilla’s second Lancashire fracking site at Roseacre Woods, which will take place on 10 April 2018 in Blackpool.

The earmarked land in the tiny rural village of Roseacre, was originally refused planning permission by Lancashire County Council in 2015. On an appeal brought by Cuadrilla in 2016, at great expense and time to the local community group, the application was further recommended for refusal by planning inspector, Wendy McKay.

She stated that the impacts from the development would present “a serious and very significant adverse impact on the safety of people using the public highway.”

After calling in the appeal for a governmental decision in 2016, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, confirmed he would be “minded” to grant planning permission to Cuadrilla, if they could present new evidence to mitigate the traffic and highway safety.

The pre-inquiry meeting will convene on 31 October 2017, 11.00hrs at Blackpool Football Club.

Roseacre Awareness Group chairman, Jim Nisbet said:

“The people of this rural parish are, once again, seeking to defend themselves from having this insidious industry foisted upon them. Wendy McKay recommended to Sajid Javid that Cuadrilla’s application for exploratory wells at Roseacre Wood should be refused but he is “minded” to approve if they can come up with new mitigation.

“This pre-inquiry meeting will merely set the parameters for the re-opened inquiry next April, allowing Cuadrilla a fourth bite of a diminishing cherry to get it right. How many chances would an ordinary person in the street get with a planning application? Not as many as the fracking industry, it appears.

“We are still awaiting the new proposals from Cuadrilla so as yet, we have no idea what we need to do to prepare our case. The odds it seems, always stack up in their favour.

“It is interesting to note that a report issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy only this month stated unequivocally, that there is no risk to energy security in the UK for the next two decades at least, and that is without any reliance on shale gas or bio methane.  Even in the worst case scenarios tested by experts, the UK’s supply of gas would not be compromised. It is therefore about time that this government, Francis Egan and the rest of the shale gas industry stopped scaremongering by insisting this continued dash for shale gas is all about energy security: it is not.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to the Editor

 

  1. Fracking given the go-ahead as Lancashire County Council rejection is overturned

 

Cyclists, Roseacre road

Cyclists, Roseacre road

Major Environmental Groups Join Forces to Lobby Minister on Fracking

FRACK FREE UNITED

PRESS RELEASE 

25 October 2017

For immediate release

Major Environmental Groups Join Forces to Lobby Minister on Fracking

Frack Free United has joined a host of major national environmental groups in an open letter to Greg Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in a bid to urge the UK government to reconsider their support for fracking.

Greenpeace, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Frack Free United, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, 10:10 Climate action, Campaign for National Parks, Salmon and Trout conservation, the Angling Trust and the World Wildlife Trust co-wrote the letter to Mr Clark, to request answers on the climate impact of fracking on the UK’s climate change commitments to the Paris Accord. The letter also states that concerns from local residents to the sites aren’t being addressed.

Additionally, the letter mentions the environmental impacts of fracking and the already-dangerous levels of air pollution in the UK. The government is currently facing repeated attacks on its inaction on air pollution levels.

Scotland’s analysis on shale gas is also detailed, with the low financial benefits that fracking would bring offset against their worrying finding that shale gas is incompatible with climate change mitigation. This makes fracking a risk that the Scottish government isn’t prepared to make with a vote on a ban taking place this week.

Steve Mason from Frack Free United said:

“Giving the final sign-off for fracking to start is a crucial decision for the Secretary of State and we urge him to consider it very carefully before he puts pen to paper.

“It is a decision that will affect communities across the country and future generations to come.

“Frack Free United believes that the government should halt all fracking activities and rethink its outdated energy policy. The development of a new extreme fossil fuel industry across England would have negative and far-reaching consequences for local communities, the environment, public health, climate change and our future energy strategy.”
Elisabeth Whitebread, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said:

It would be deeply disappointing if UK government gave the green light to new fossil fuel projects, just before the UN Climate Change Conference invites international action to protect the climate. We already have more gas than we can afford to burn if we are to meet our climate targets.

“With fracking to be banned in Scotland, the Westminster government is now isolated in backing this unpopular industry. Their own recently published energy plans made no reference to fracking, and showed that fracked gas is not necessary for energy security. The government should stop forging ahead with fracking and focus their efforts on clean, cheap and popular offshore wind and tidal power instead.”

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:


  1. Letter to Greg Clark attached
  1. For further information, interviews and photographs contact:
    Di Keal (Frack Free United) 07593682402
    Claire Stephenson (Frack Free Lancashire) on 07929 969664
  1. Frack Free United is a network of residents, communities and campaign groups who are coming together to protect our countryside and communities from the threat of fracking, strengthening and building a coalition from all walks of life and working together to oppose fracking across the UK.
  1. For more information, please contact Steve Mason steve@frackfreeunited.org(07793) 821242
  1. Frack Free United was set up in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale, is at the forefront of anti-fracking campaign with a ‘test frack’ planned imminently by Third Energy. Planning permission for the ‘test frack’ was given by North Yorkshire County Council in 2015. All planning conditions for the frack have been approved, with the only hurdle still remaining being approval from Greg Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Mark Menzies on Sunday Politics show, 29 October

Nina Warhust will interview Fylde MP Mark Menzies on the BBC’s Sunday Politics North West show on 29 October.

Please email and Tweet comments and questions to Nina Warhurst; email: nina.warhurst@bbc.co.uk Twitter: @NinaWarhurst

Suggested topics include: policing costs at Preston New Road; environmental safety; Cuadrilla planning breaches; no social licence – most of population don’t want fracking; why does he support this industry when it’s clear that regulations are poor; why hasn’t he visited the Community Hub at Maple Farm to talk to his constituents, etc, etc.

LCC refuse Cuadrilla’s application for another extension at Beaconsall

LCC Councillors have voted to refuse an extension of Cuadrilla’s planning application t Beaconsall and to start enforcement.

The drilling company had asked for more time to restore a shale gas site near the Ribble Estuary.The county council’s development control committee voted instead enforcement action  against the company for not returning the Becconsall site to farmland by the agreed time. Cuadrilla should have completed the restoration in 2011 but didn’t and and has since asked for and been granted five extensions.

You can watch the Development and Control Committee meeting here.

Drill or Drop has also reported on the meeting and outcome.

Cuadrilla Clock-up More Fracking Breaches in Lancashire

25 October 2017

For immediate release

Frack Free Lanacashire are dismayed to learn of two separate reports showing that fracking company, Cuadrilla, have breached their environmental permits and the transport management plan.

Last week, Spinwatch reported that Cuadrilla had breached their environmental permits and have been censured by the Environment Agency for failing to store drilling waste adequately and safely.

Today, DeSmog detailed Freedom of Information requests, which revealed Cuadrilla have managed to take the wrong turning into their Preston New Road fracking site, 115 times in only three months of operations. The A583 already has dangerous road sections, with accident blackspots. By Cuadrilla flaunting the traffic management plan when not always necessary, they are endangering all road users and the local community.

A spokesperson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The Planning Inspector, Wendy McKay, clearly believed that the traffic management plans were an adequate protection for the local community. She was told in submissions that ‘given the monitoring condition, any breach could be acted on very promptly by the council’.

“She could not have anticipated this reality – that far from acting promptly, the council would allow Cuadrilla to amend the traffic management plan to suit their own purposes on multiple occasions and ignore flagrant breaches, such as when the rig was brought in in the early hours of the morning. This is not the gold-plated regulation promised us by our government. It is a tawdry imitation of the real thing and the thin covering is wearing off in front of our eyes. ”

“The robust regulations that the UK government have repeatedly promised residents, have not and will not ever materialise. The regulatory system on fracking is not fit for purpose, placing residents’ health and lives at risk by it’s repetitive failures to take action against company breaches and ensure that regulations live up to the tough tests they must face.

“It is high time that our political representative, Conservative MP, Mark Menzies, stepped out of the shadows and deals with the disjointed regulators to ensure that action will be taken.”

Only last month, Mr Menzies stated:

“I have always called for a gold standard of regulation on the fracking industry if it is to go ahead in the UK.

“Public health and safety is paramount. Quite simply, if fracking cannot be carried out safely, it should not be allowed to commence.”

Frack Free Lancashire now urge Mr Menzies to put himself at the forefront of his community and represent his constituents, as is his paid role in government.”
ENDS

 

Community Strategy Conversation – political, social and operation strategies identified and developed

frackphoto

 

Reclaim the Power and Frack Free Lancashire organised Community Strategy Conversation for a Frack Free Lancashire last Saturday (21 October) in Blackpool.  The aim of the meeting was to discuss anti-fracking campaigning in Lancashire – to come up with ideas for the future.

It was a wonderful opportunity for the local movement to come together and brain storm in a relaxed environment. A number of operational, social and political strategies were identified and developed.

The event also provided a photo opportunity for the people of Lancashire to show our solidarity with our Yorkshire friends fighting fracking at Kirby Misperton.

 

Government Finally Tells The Truth: We Don’t Need Fracking

Three important reports released this month on the UK’s future in clean energy, climate change, and the Northern Energy Strategy have flagged the critical need to urgently prioritise low-carbon energy generation and the climate change obligations that the UK must meet by 2030.

And essentially for campaigners against fracking, only one of the reports mentions the industry. The report where fracking is discussed, briefly mentions it in a minimised capacity and doesn’t include it in UK future energy projections.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy released their Gas Security and Supply report yesterday, with a strategic analysis on outline energy projections for the coming years. The government indicated that shale gas is not needed for energy security and did not include it as a contribution to energy production figures for the UK.

The Clean Growth Strategy was also released this week, with positive talk from the UK government of a low-carbon future for the UK on ‘decarbonising the gas grid by substituting natural gas with low carbon gases like biogas and hydrogen.’

Theresa May stated within the report:

“Clean growth is not an option, but a duty we owe to the next generation, and economic growth has to go hand-in-hand with greater protection for our forests and beaches, clean air and places of outstanding natural beauty.”

Additionally, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) released their A Northern Energy Strategy this week stated:

“Shale gas has garnered significant opposition from local communities and may be too environmentally risky to proceed with.”

Claire Stephenson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“It’s unbelievable that the UK government are still insisting on forcing fracking onto unwilling communities when all scientific and public opinion is pointing the other way. If we are to meet our climate change obligations and truly have a chance at a clean future, we must immediately abandon the dangerous and misguided folly that is fracking.”

Steve Mason from Frack Free United said:

“This is getting ridiculous. All the so-called arguments for fracking are toppling like dominoes. The evidence is stacked so high against the industry, only their corporate muscle keeps fracking on the agenda.

“This Tory government is backing fracking and forging on with a ludicrous dirty energy policy. It is time for them to wake up and listen to their own reports, the voice of the public in areas under threat and halt all fracking activity now.”

Our event in Blackpool

Thanks to those residents who braved a filthy night to attend our event last Wednesday (27 September) at the Grand Theatre Studio.

Our three speakers were inspirational.

IMG_0705

Susan Lofthouse recounted how she had always thought that fracking was a bad idea but hadn’t got involved in any groups or actions, until she saw The Bentley Effect film and this inspired her to become more active. She now regularly visits Maple Farm and the Preston New Road site to meet other like-minded people and to take part in peaceful actions.

IMG_0707

 

Organic Farmer Alan Schofield from Growing With Nature, which is based in nearby Pilling, emphasised the dangers of soil contamination from High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing. Alan has been involved in the Soil Association for many years and is highly qualified to understand the dangers of soil contamination and the devastating effects it could have on businesses like his.

 

IMG_0710

Our third speaker Tina Rothery needed no introduction. Tina has been a spokesperson and campaigner against fracking for over six years. She provided an overview of how the movement has stopped fracking for six years now and how she is in contact with AJ Lucas shareholders who are looking to campaigners to tell them what is really happening at PNR – yes they are lied to as well by Cuadrilla’s parent company AJ Lucas, who claim that the exploratory process is going well, despite Cuadrilla being five months behind schedule and what looks like major problems with the drill.

We heard from members of the audience about how many homes are up for sale at Carr Bridge (a small housing development near the site) and about houses that have lost nearly 50% of their value. A retired lorry driver told us that he was appalled to witness uncovered skips leaving the site, spilling sludge over the road; about how lorries are leaving the site without the legally required wheel wash. We had some great feedback from the audience who were also keen to pick up information leaflets, badges, etc. Thanks to all those who put something in the donations box. Such generosity enables us to afford more printing, purchase merchandise and put on other events such as this one.

 

 

UK Green Party Leaders in Solidarity Visit to Lancashire Fracking Site

PRESS RELEASE ON BEHALF OF THE GREEN PARTY OF ENGLAND AND WALES

UK Green Party Leaders in Solidarity Visit to Lancashire Fracking Site

17 September 2017

For immediate release

Caroline Lucas MP and Jonathan Bartley, co-leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales, are to visit Cuadrilla’s flagship fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire on Monday 18 September.

Both of the Green Party’s co-leaders will join Ecotricity’s ecologist, Dr Simon Pickering; the President of Greater Manchester Association of Trade Unions, Stephen Hall; and a gathering of local anti-fracking campaigners outside the Preston New Road site on Monday afternoon.

Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion and co-leader of the Green Party, said:

“I’m joining the protests on Monday because it’s abundantly clear that fracking is a dirty, destructive industry that will wreck the UK’s climate ambitions and leave us dependent on fossil fuels for years to come. We know that the price of renewables is dropping fast, and it is high time that the government stop their reckless dash for gas and focus on making Britain into a world leader in modern, clean energy from the sun, wind and sea.”

Dr Simon Pickering said:

“We don’t have to resort to fracking – a renewable future is possible. 2017 has been a record-breaking year, despite the government slashing support for renewables. Green clean energy would be a viable alternative if the government subsidised renewables instead of fracking.”

Caroline and Jonathan will speak in support of the Lancashire anti-fracking campaign at the Monday rally around 13.30hrs.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

1. Contacts for Monday’s rally:

Matthew Butcher, Parliamentary Press Officer to Caroline Lucas MP

07885 459 904

2. Dr Simon Pickering, Ecotricity

07582 216515

3. Councillor Gina Dowding: all other enquiries regarding co-ordination

Green Party Councillor, Lancaster, Lancashire County Council

07838 793674

Public Health England’s Fracking Report is Outdated and Risks Breach of Duty

PHE petition

FRACK FREE LANCASHIRE 

 PRESS RELEASE

PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND’S FRACKING REPORT IS OUTDATED AND RISKS BREACH OF DUTY

For immediate release

4 September 2017

Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners visited Public Health England last week, to hand-deliver a petition of approaching 6,000 signatures, which urges the body to take action and review its report on health and fracking, which is now over three years out-of-date.

Lancashire campaigners Claire Stephenson and Dr Frank Rugman, a retired haematology consultant, delivered the petition to the office of Professor Paul Cosford CB, the Director for Health Protection and Medical Director, at Wellington House in London.

In 2014, Public Health England published their final version of a health report on fracking. The report was narrow in its contents and missed out some significant health evidence that indicated fracking has impacts upon public health.

Since that report, hundreds of other health reports have been published with critical evidence that now needs to be taken into account before any fracking should proceed within the UK.

A previous letter published in the British Medical Journal stated:

“The arguments against fracking on public health and ecological grounds are overwhelming. There are clear grounds for adopting the precautionary principle and prohibiting fracking.”

Claire Stephenson said:

“Public Health England has a mission statement ‘to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities’. If they are to fulfil their public duty without breach, then they must acknowledge the mounting evidence against fracking and health. The current PHE report is grossly outdated and leaves the public open to insurmountable negative health impacts.

“Isn’t it enough that our communities have had fracking forced upon them, let alone leaving residents unprotected and vulnerable? We are asking, as a matter of urgency, to review the latest evidence and create a new, comprehensive and more importantly, independent report.”
Dr Rugman said:

“The UK Faculty of Public Health has endorsed the call for an immediate moratorium on fracking due to the possible serious public health risks involved, which include potential health hazards associated with air pollution and water contamination; these include toxins that are linked to increased risk of cancer, birth defects and lung disease.

“Fracking activity could pose additional risks in the UK when compared to experiences elsewhere, because of the proximity and size of surrounding populations.”

ENDS

Notes for the Editor

  1. Image attached is Dr Frank Rugman and Claire Stephenson, at Public Health England, handing in the petition.
  2. Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks And Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction)

 

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