Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Serious and false allegations

It has come to our attention that certain individuals are using social media to try and undermine the efforts of Frack Free Lancashire, Friends of the Earth, and some of our most well respected anti fracking campaigners for their own purposes/agendas. Until now we have maintained a dignified silence but  this has now become a serious matter and we are concerned that others, who do not know the background, will take these allegations at face value.

We do not understand why anyone within the anti fracking community would want to try and undermine the efforts of people fighting this industry. Not only is it divisive and dangerous but it plays into the hands of the industry who must remain the full focus of our attention if we are to stop fracking.

In particular there has been a serious allegation regarding the whereabouts of donations made to Frack Free Lancashire.

This is an extremely serious accusation. Frack Free Lancashire has always made it absolutely clear that all donations collected were to go into the Legal Fund and that is where every penny has gone. FFL wishes to assure everyone who has donated to the Frack Free Lancashire Legal Fund that they can be certain that their donations have ONLY been used and will continue to ONLY be used to directly support the legal challenges of members and their groups. We would like to thank all those people who have so kindly and generously donated to make the legal challenges possible.

We hope that this accusation and other allegations against individuals stop immediately. Online defamation is a serious offence and if it continues we will take legal advice/action.

Frack Free Lancashire is an umbrella for many anti fracking groups and individuals who are all working extremely hard to stop fracking in the UK. The FFL name is known and respected not only in the UK but worldwide. There is no hierarchy. Whilst we may not always agree we all work together and try to reach a consensus. There is no-one trying to control. There is no impropriety or substance to these allegations.  It is by working together we remain strong. To try and destroy this is not only divisive but dangerous and damaging.

Rest assured we will carry on the fight. We believe in unity and will work to unite as many local groups as possible. We have strength in numbers. This is what the  industry fears most. We will continue to help those groups who need it most such as the Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) and  Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG) who are both under immediate threat and have fully embraced the ideology of a united Frack Free Lancashire.

Issued on behalf of Frack Free Lancashire

Lancashire Group Loses Anti-Fracking Legal Challenge

Lancashire Group Loses Anti-Fracking Legal Challenge

For immediate release

Wednesday 12th April

Preston New Road Action Group react with heartfelt disappointment that Mr Justice Dove has ruled in favour of the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid MP, following a Manchester High Court hearing.

The group challenged the lawfulness of Sajid Javid’s overruling of Lancashire County Council’s solid decision to refuse Cuadrilla planning permission to frack at the Preston New Road site. The group sought to have Sajid Javid’s determination declared unlawful, weighing on five points of law having being breached.

Today’s decision also sets a terrible precedent for other communities facing the unconventional gas industry. The fracking industry does not constitute as sustainable development and is a backwards step for the UK’s commitment to mitigating climate change and upholding the Paris Agreement.

Pat Davies, Chair of Preston New Road Action Group said:

“The ramifications of allowing an unwanted industry to proceed, against the express wishes of the democratically-elected local planning committee and local community’s wishes, are immense.
“Residents are suffering ill health and overwhelming anxiety about their future, with concerns for the the environment they and future generations live in. The Fylde Coast will become the guinea pig for this dirty industry and no longer be a safe or desirable place to live, work or retire to.

“For residents to have no say in shaping the community they live in, is also against the overarching commitment outlined as a key aim within the government’s own National Planning Policy Framework.

“This contradictory approach smacks of muddled thinking at best, or autocracy at worst. If a planning process can be controlled by external corporate interests and the government policy of the moment, it is neither fit for purpose and begs the question whether local democracy now plays any valid part in the planning process.”

Ironically, 46 miles down the road from Preston New Road, the government has devolved power from Westminster to Manchester to allow local determination.

Theresa May’s already-worn oratory platitudes of “a government for all” and “righting burning injustice” has proved worthless and it is not the reality experienced by communities at Preston New Road.

Claire Stephenson from the group said:

“Justice and democracy have not been observed in Lancashire. We are truly dismayed at this decision. We will now take time to reflect on the ruling and liaise with our legal counsel to advise us further. We said no and we will continue to say no. This is not the end.”

ENDS

Public meeting, Lowther Pavilion, 27 June

Independent Fylde oil and gas engineer Mike Hill has organised a public meeting to be held in Lytham on 27 June.

This will be the first public meeting on fracking since the 2015 General Election! So much has happened! There has been so much conflicting information. Come and hear the latest news and information on fracking in the Fylde. How will the wells be drilled and fracked? What protection do U.K. regulations offer in 2017? Who is monitoring our air and water? What are the consequences for us who live here? This meeting is intended mainl y for those new to the topic and those who were previously not concerned. Many have only begun to engage with the issue since Cuadrilla started work at Preston New Road. Please come, bring your questions, find out what’s going on and what is likely to happen next.

Please note this is not a pro or anti fracking event. It’s about information and facts. It’s about answering your questions and giving people the initial impetus to do their own research and come to their own conclusions.

Venue: Lowther Pavilion Theatre, West Beach, Lytham St.Annes, FY8 5QQ

Date: Tuesday 27th June, 2017

When: doors open 7pm. Start 7.30pm

Bar throughout with tea/coffee served in interval

Funds

We need to raise funds to pay for leaflets, advertising and the venue itself so that the residents of the Fylde get the opportunity to understand more about the implications of fracking for them, their families and the area. To help support this event please click here. Many thanks!

Leaflets and posters are available to download – please click here.

RAFF statement

RAFF has come under attack recently, a sustained and vicious attack directed at RAFF members personally. We have been attacked before, notably by a couple of local Councillors and various supporters of the fracking industry, but this assault is particularly nasty as it is coming from people who are supposed to be on the same side as us fighting the industry. It is blatantly obvious that these detractors have forgotten who the enemy is.

We are being accused of various things but one topic that has generated some really malicious outpourings is the liaison work that RAFF has done with Lancashire Police. We are being abused on the baseless, false assertion that we negotiated the 15 minute slow walk at Preston New Road that held for the first two or three weeks of activity at the site. We played no part in that. By the time we got to the site on the first occasion that 15 minute slow walk was already in place.

We have also been accused of not welcoming protectors from outside of the area. Again this is untrue and RAFF welcomes all protectors and their legal peaceful actions.

RAFF would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have sent messages of support. We hope this divisive behavior by a tinyl minority will end now, so that the anti-fracking community can be seen to be presenting a united front.

Something in the Water: Satirical adverts appear in bus stops around Leeds to protest fracking

For immediate release: 28/03/17
Contact: 07719761795
Photos available on Flickr.

Bus-stops in Leeds have been taken over by activists in a creative protest to raise awareness that thousands of gallons of fracking fluid could be headed for the city. The action is part of the national ‘Break the Chain’ fortnight of action by Reclaim the Power [1] which yesterday saw protesters suspended by swings above a quarry in Carnforth for 11 hours. [2]

Campaigners placed adverts, mimicking Yorkshire Water’s branding, in stops around the city overnight. The group have taken action on the concern that wastewater from potential fracking sites in Lancashire and Yorkshire could be heading to the city’s Knostrop treatment works, run by Yorkshire Water and FCC Environment.

Something in’t Water: Satirical adverts appear in bus stops around Leeds to protest fracking.

Correspondence between Lancashire County Council suggested that waste from Lancashire fracking sites could be heading to Leeds.[3] The Department of the Environment has also listed Knostrop as one of just 3 in England with permits that would allow for the treatment of liquid fracking waste.[4]

George Calvert, from Reclaim the Power commented:

“Yorkshire Water’s most recent advertising campaign has refered to clean water as a ‘liquid birthright’ but we know this could be threatened if the Knostrop treatment works accepts fracking fluid. That’s why we decided to do some extra advertising for them and let people around Leeds know what could be on the way. There’s currently no fracking in the UK, and Yorkshire Water and FCC Environment can cut ties with the industry now before it gets started to help protect the people of Leeds and the global climate”.

This action follows on from a community campaign run by the Frack Free Leeds group against the proposal for the past year. Whilst the adverts created are satirical, the group hopes that the message will be taken seriously.

Coralie Datta from Frack Free Leeds said:

“We’re really concerned about the volume of toxic waste that could be heading our way. We’re worried about traffic implications and worried about possible contamination. We’ve been campaigning on this issue for months but we’re still not sure enough people are aware of the threat. We’ll be keeping up the dialogue over the coming months and hope this action by Reclaim the Power will help make more people in Leeds aware and encourage Yorkshire Water, FCC Environment and Leeds City Council to do the right thing and refuse to accept this water in our system”.

Local campaigners have been in conversation with the City Council and Yorkshire Water for a number of weeks over concerns that the site in Leeds will not be able to safely treat the fluid. They hope that any contracts or agreements to accept fracking waste into Leeds will be terminated. Discussions are still underway.

At least five companies in the fracking supply chain have already pulled out after public pressure [5]. Protests by locals have also been taking place every day at one of the proposed fracking sites in Lancashire, slowing and often halting Cuadrilla’s work to prepare the site for drilling [6]. Surveys have shown that public opposition to fracking is far higher than support, with just 18% supporting [7].

The action today is part of Reclaim the Power’s Break the Chain fortnight of action targeting fracking supply chain companies. Break the Chain aims to disrupt and expose the networks propping up fracking in the UK – from firms supplying equipment, to PR companies – ahead of further action this summer supporting locals resisting drill sites in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

CONTACT: For photos and more information – press@reclaimthepower.org.uk,

NOTES:

  1. Reclaim the Power is a UK-based direct action network fighting for social, environmental and economic justice. They have been working to oppose fracking since organising mass action at Balcombe in 2013. Since then, they’ve hosted anti-fracking action camps in Blackpool and Didcot, and taken countless actions against the industry. Read more at: www.reclaimthepower.org.uk
  2. Protestors swing into action https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/press-releases/release-anti-frackers-swing-into-action-at-lancashire-quarry/
  3. http://cdn.frack-off.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/2015-03-04-FoE-Watson-Response_to-LCC.pdf?x22615
  4. https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140717/text/140717w0002.htm
  5. See the full list at www.reclaimthepower.org.uk/break-the-chain
  6. For examples, see Drill Or Drop (www.drillordrop.com/2017/03/01/drilling-diary-march-2017)
  7. Statistics from BEIS Public Attitude Tracker (www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-and-climate-change-public-attitudes-tracker-wave-20)

RELEASE: Anti-frackers swing into action at Lancashire quarry

For immediate release: 27/03/17

Contact: 07376 530 298

Anti-fracking activists from Bristol swung into action in Lancashire this morning with a blockade at Preston New Road fracking site suppliers Aggregate Industries. The blockade is the launch action of Break the Chain, a fortnight of interventions called by national social and climate justice group Reclaim the Power.[1]

Lorry access to the company’s quarry in Carnforth has been entirely suspended by the appearance of two protesters on swings which were rigged onto height restriction bars at two key access points and are blocking all lorry movements. The police are on site.

Aggregate Industries is one of several companies supplying the controversial fracking site [Preston New Road] currently under construction outside Blackpool.  At least five companies are believed to have pulled out of further work at the site as a result of rising protests against their involvement.[2]

Credit: Reclaim the Power

One of the protesters, Chris Thomson explained:

“We’re up here today because fracking isn’t a playground game. We need to give Aggregate Industries a reason to rethink its position, which is at odds with local democracy. Lancashire said no to fracking. Its imposition threatens local jobs and health and will have deadly impacts on those already facing the consequences of climate change in drought-hit East Africa and beyond.  

“We’re asking Aggregate Industries to do the decent thing. Follow the example of other companies in the area. Step away from fracking your neighbours and we’ll gladly come down.”

They hope that the forthcoming protests will help expose the large network of industrial processes, from sand quarrying to toxic water dumping, which will expand if commercial scale fracking goes ahead. Reclaim the Power is also hoping to support momentum for a national grassroots response to fracking plans in 2017.

Bristol anti-fracker Sam Faulkner added:

“Fracking is currently threatening Bristol and we won’t be able to defeat it alone, but we also know we won’t have to.  The people of the Fylde and Bolton have shown the way. Solidarity is growing as fast as the industry’s expansion plans. Which is fortunate, because it’s going to take all of our care and creative plotting to stop this. Day after day, all over the country, we need to get in the way. Get your friends together and get in.”

The activists are part of Bristol Rising Tide, the group who occupied the first Lancaster Fracking Rig for 11 hours in December 2011. The rig was responsible for the only test frack to be carried out in the UK to date, and resulted in an earthquake which caused a temporary moratorium to be placed on the technology.

The south west is currently facing a new round of licensing threats, including one at Weston Super Mare, just up the road from Bristol. Bristol activists also plan to demonstrate outside a branch of fracking funder Barclays later in the week.

###

CONTACT: Call 07376 530 298 or email press@reclaimthepower.org.uk for on site interviews with the activists. Photos available via Flickr.

NOTES:

  1. For more information on plans for Break the Chain see https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/news/release-anti-fracking-networks-to-escalate-fight-against-industry/
  2. Most recently, quarry operators Armstrong Aggregates have terminated their contract with Cuadrilla after local protest. Moore Readymix concrete company have also ended their contract.
  3. Reclaim the Power is a UK-based direct action network fighting for social, environmental and economic justice. They have been working to oppose fracking since organising mass action at Balcombe in 2013. Since then, they’ve hosted anti-fracking action camps in Blackpool and Didcot, and taken countless actions against the industry. Read more at: www.reclaimthepower.org.uk
  4. Protests by locals have also been taking place every day at one of the proposed fracking sites in Lancashire, slowing and often halting Cuadrilla’s work to prepare the site for drilling
  5. Surveys have shown that public opposition to fracking is far higher than support, with just 18% supporting (Statistics from BEIS Public Attitude Tracker www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-and-climate-change-public-attitudes-tracker-wave-20).

 

Cowardly UCLAN postpones energy debate due to ‘safety issues’

News that the UCLAN event, Energy Futures: Global Challenges Debate, has been cancelled has been met with dismay by local residents. The debate was due to have taken place at the University of Central Lancashire on Wednesday 22 March. Residents, as well as UCLAN students and staff, were looking forward to hearing speakers from the shale gas and nuclear industries as well as representatives from the Green Party. Residents were particularly looking forward to hearing what Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan had to say, given his company’s reluctance to engage with local communities since it began drilling in the Fylde in 2010.

A UCLAN spokesperson said: ‘Having conducted a thorough risk assessment of our venue and facilities, and having received advice from a number of external agencies including the police, and internal participants, on health, safety and security issues, the University has decided to postpone the planned debate. We were very keen for students, staff and University guests to experience an open debate of all the energy issues in a welcoming and safe environment. However, the intelligence we have received has led us to conclude that it would not be possible for our speakers, audience and the wider University community to have a free, open and safe debate in the format planned.’

Some members of the public had also voiced their opposition to the event, due to the poor representation of renewable energy sectors on the panel.

Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) said: ‘At a time when parts of Lancashire are about to face intense industrialisation in the pursuit of shale gas, this event provided a golden opportunity for both the industry and residents to engage in an open debate in a neutral setting. To bow out, citing safety issues, is cowardly. We find it ironic that the organisers mention safety as a major issue, when our county is about to face massive public health and environmental dangers from the extensive planned extraction of shale gas. Once again, we are being denied the right to be heard. At what point will Francis Egan be prepared to sit on a platform and answer our questions?

Preston New Road Action Group Concludes their Legal Challenge

PRESS RELEASE

Preston New Road Action Group Concludes their Legal Challenge

16th March 2017

For immediate release

Preston New Road Action Group and individual campaigner, Gayzer Frackman, have today seen the conclusion of their legal review against the Secretary of State. The review was in reference to Sajid Javid MP’s overturning of Lancashire County Council’s planning refusal for Cuadrilla’s fracking appeal.

The judgement, delivered by The Honourable Mr Justice Dove, is expected within weeks.

Pat Davies, Chair of Preston New Road stated:

“We are grateful to our legal team for their hard work and case presentation. After three years, the community of Preston New Road has suffered enough. Our community said no, Lancashire County Council development committee said no and we look forward to the outcome of the hearing. We place our trust in justice being restored and this application being quashed.”

Preston New Road take their legal challenge to Manchester court

PRESS RELEASE 

Preston New Road Action Group

14th March 2017

For immediate release

This week, Preston New Road Action Group are taking their fracking legal challenge to the Manchester Court of Civil Justice. We have consistently, through legal process, fought to have the voice of local residents heard. The voice of our Community was loud and strong it said no to fracking.

Local democracy which said no, was overturned by the Secretary of State in Westminster. Sajid Javid has not visited or engaged with the communities that would be affected to understand the real impacts of his decision. We believe that this is neither just nor democratic.

We seek to have the Secretary of State’s decision declared unjust and quashed.

Local democracy and true justice have not been observed in Lancashire so far. We hope finally, to see the justice for which Britain used to be known for, restored, and the will of communities and the local planning system upheld.

Micromanagement of our community by Westminster, when at the same time this government preaches devolution to local councils, is symbolic of a government which says one thing and does another. It is fundamentally wrong that the corporate greed triumphs over community health and wellbeing.

Theresa May talks of “justice for all”. That message has not permeated to her ministers, it would seem.

The Conservative government have denied Preston New Road and Lancashire Community the right to “influence and be involved in shaping and determining planning decisions” as outlined as an aim in the government’s National Planning Police Framework.

The Secretary of State’s decision to overrule local planning law is open to question, in much the same way as some of his other decisions have recently provoked questions in Westminster. His decision makes a sham of Theresa May’s oratory.

Dismantling local democracy was the only way this industry and central government could force fracking down the throats of unwilling local residents. This is corruption and abuse of power. There is no social licence to frack Lancashire. This overturning of a local planning decision must be quashed.

Democracy died in Lancashire after this October decision. We hope it can be resurrected by the Manchester Court finding this decision to allow fracking unlawful and one which must be revoked immediately.

People matter, communities matter: our views must be the guiding principle on which true democracy is based. Lancashire has spoken and we will be heard.

Preston New Road super pad will probably be largest in the world with 40-60 wells

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 11.48.33

 

This picture is captured from drone footage of the Preston New Road site at the end of last week – 10 March 2017 (that’s the A583 Preston New Road running from the left). Facebook users can see the video of the drone footage which shows the site from several different angles. Click here.

Cuadrilla’s CEO Francis Egan is fond of telling residents and the media that the pad will be the size of a rugby pitch and that it will be home to four wells. Some rugby pitch! This is a super pad. What’s more we have been told by an independent oil and gas engineer that this will probably be the largest super pad in the WORLD and that Cuadrilla will more than likely drill between 40-60 wells on it. Start to multiple this up – according to the operators 100 more super pads are needed in the Fylde and the rest of Lancashire – and this gives you some some idea why Egan said that our area will be the “largest gas field in Western Europe.”

As we’ve stated many times before rural Fylde is about to be converted into an industrialised zone with all the pollution and risks to public health associated with an unregulated filthy industry.

 

 

 

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