Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

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.”


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



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.


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.



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.



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


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.


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




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.”


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)


Community Survey Campaign

We will be kicking off the Community Survey Campaign where we will be engaging with residents on the doorstep in conversations about their views on fracking. We will be giving people more information and be encouraging more people to become involved at whatever level they feel comfortable with. We will have a survey questionnaire, street maps and road groups and leaflets.
The plan is to focus on one area, canvassing every household then move onto the next area. This initially will be a rolling programme on Saturday mornings.

Canvassing is great fun, you meet lots of people and get a feel of what concerns them.

Come along and join us on 2nd September, 10.30 Maple farm.

Bail out from fracking – with help from Fracky McFrackFace!


29 August 2017



Four women from Lancaster, including a City Councillor, have today taken action by locking-on outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site on Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

The three women are all members of the Green Party and are taking action to protest against increasing extraction of fossil fuels. They arrived at the site with a boat named ‘Fracky McFrackFace, painted with the slogans: ‘Harness the wind, waves and sun’ and ‘Bail out from fracking’.

Caroline Jackson is a Lancaster City Councillor and a retired headteacher. She said:

“We have brought a boat to the fracking site to highlight the fact that fracking will make climate change worse by emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Fracking will therefore contribute to rising sea levels. Around half a billion people around the world are at risk from rising sea levels (1).”

Emily Heath is a university lecturer in Earth Sciences. She said:

“Continuing to develop new sources of fossil fuels is utter madness. We have abundant renewable energy all around us, and yet the Government is hell-bent on undermining the renewable energy industry, because they have vested interests in the fossil fuel industry and seem to be incapable of thinking beyond the short term.”

Mollie Foxall is a retired NHS manager. She explained:

“I am taking direct action because the Government has left me no choice. They overturned the local democratic decision to not allow fracking in this area. We are calling on the Government to put people’s lives ahead of corporate profits, and stop backing fracking.”


Letter from local oil and gas engineer Mike Hill to Theresa May

Dear Mrs. May,

RE: High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing – Inadequate Regulation & Monitoring

I would be grateful if you would personally consider my points below and not just pass on to a “relevant” dept. as this is a very serious and substantial topic of interest for your government. I am a professional who has been involved in the Oil and Gas sector for over two decades. I have consulted with senior civil servants and ministers, written numerous peer reviewed papers and given many public meetings on fracking. (1) I will use two examples to illustrate my case but I have many more of equal importance and effect.

Example 1: Government. The Royal Society/ Royal Academy of Engineering (RS/RAE) published a Shale Gas Report in June 2012. I was one of the 71 contributors to this report drawn from around the globe. I am cited in it. I agreed with its ten recommendations, all of which the government has accepted. I wrote a follow up paper on this in 2013 and concluded that only 1 of the 10 recommendations has actually been implemented in full. I presented my paper to the RS/RAE (2) and the Chair’s (Lord Mair) representative (Prof. Younger) who was also one of the 8 report authors, accepted my conclusion. This is still the situation now, yet fracking is about to recommence with the first ever onshore lateral sections in the U.K. starting at Preston New Road Pad on the Fylde in Lancashire. This is unsafe and will put the public at great risk. There are two large secondary and numerous primary schools within 2 miles downwind. It will also ensure local indigenous industries, particularly farming and tourism, will suffer great and permanent damage.

Example 2: Regulation. I have been “consulting” with the Environment Agency (EA) since 2011. They have virtually no experience at all of regulating unconventional fossil fuels. This has been made very clear to me many times as they flounder and was indeed one of the ten recommendations of the RS/RAE report. The permits (by which the EA raises revenue and so is not financially independent from the operator) issued to my local license holder (PEDL 165 – Cuadrilla) by the EA state there is no Best Available Technique (BAT) for the 68m litres of toxic (as identified by the EA) (3) fracking waste left in the ground from the 4 wells about to be drilled in Lancashire. It is the law (EPR 2010 Regs) (4) that not one single litre is allowed to escape the target formation. The EA decided to rely on assurances given by Cuadrilla to facilitate issuing the permits in 2015. Now the EA have published a document stating that they (the EA) must be able to confirm that no fracking waste has left the shales.(5) This directly contradicts their own permit and in any case in 2015 the Technical Director of Cuadrilla (Dr. A. Quarles) stated publicly that “we have no idea where the final resting place (of the fracking waste) is”.(6) Fracking waste can migrate to the aquifer via vertical and horizonal migration and so will contaminate it. The Fylde takes 55% of its drinking water from the same aquifer.(7) The EA have just demonstrated how far behind they are and so how incredibly dangerous any fracking would now be. They are not fit for purpose to regulate this new industry onshore. Likewise the regulations are also totally inadequate, have not been developed or simply cannot be met and so are being ignored.

I can cite many equivalent examples where regulations themselves, regulatory oversight and monitoring is falling way below those required for this industry and way below that which you have stated is necessary. Your advisors appear not to understand the reality of the situation on the ground. The responses I have had from ministers and civil servants are astonishingly similar to those received by professionals and concerned members of the public prior to the Grenfell disaster.

I can assure you Prime Minister, awful though the Grenfell disaster was, the outcome of your actions on fracking, the lack of effective regulation and monitoring actually in place (not just in box ticked documents), will lead to a far greater disaster and cost the country far more in terms of lives lost and businesses destroyed. The amount of gas that can be recovered by fracking is small. Approx. 3%-5% of U.K.’s total needs of approx. 3tcf/annum. It is very different from conventional in terms of gas produced and risks to the environment. Onshore the risks also affect the general public and local business. The national interest is not served by damaging local industries and destroying our farming sector. Just the rumour of fracking waste contamination will be enough. Please recall the BSE crisis. This will dwarf it. My colleagues on the Technical Working Group at the EU Commission have informed me that the EU would be minded to impose exclusion zones for 30km around each fracking well for ALL produce. Brexit only complicates that further and will strengthen their resolve to protect their publics and also their markets with a very justifiable excuse. The U.S.A. has been able to frack and produce a lot of gas without such damage mainly because it is a vast country with a relatively tiny population when compared the U.K. Also it is important to note, contrary to popular belief (mainly amongst non-professionals in the field) the regulations in the U.S. relating to fracking are considerably more robust than the U.K. (I can happily provide specific examples). They also have a balanced approach to inspections. By this I refer to a balance between goal setting/self-regulation and prescription (min standards). We do not and I can prove this with actual examples fracking company CEOs have given me.

Please may I ask that you do not make a similar mistake as was made over the Grenfell disaster. I can provide evidence for all my assertions and I can provide many more examples. The public are being put at great risk by the your approach. The risks can and should be mitigated but they are not. Please do not just accept your special advisors, civil servants and ministers views. Many will not have my qualifications, experience and knowledge. Please consider halting the industry at this time and conducting a thorough review. The exploratory phase alone has the power to severely damage local populations and business. Just the first four wells on the Fylde will leave millions of litres of toxic waste in the ground and very likely will also emit large quantities of unburnt gasses such as Radon, Benzene, Toluene and Xylene over the local schools via the flare. (Flaring is now effectively banned in the U.S.A. via the use of “green tanking” or reduced emission completions as I and Prof. David Mackay recommended to the DECC 5 years ago).

Based on the current situation, as a professional engineer and expert in the field, I know this will go wrong. In the shadow of the Grenfell disaster I need to have a clear conscience that I did all I could to raise the alarm prior to that happening. There is still time but it is getting very short. I would be very happy to meet with yourself and your ministers to discuss further.

Yours sincerely, Michael Hill B.Sc. (Hons), C.Eng. MIET. UK Expert Advisor|TWG Hydrocarbon BREF|JRC/ EU Commission.


Notes: (1). See
(2) Brief Review of RS/RAE Report and present position of Shale Gas Regulation, Hill MP, Slater G, Nov 2013.
(3). See EA published analysis North West Monitoring of Flowback – Doc 6th Dec, 2011 : Flowback was approx. 50%. Cuadrilla have stated this week in their fracking plan they will use 765,000 litres of fracking fluid per frack stage and 45 stages per borehole and 4 initial boreholes on the Fylde. Later spreading to 6,000 boreholes on the Fylde and up to 100 frack stages per borehole.
(4). I identified this myself through Tim Webb (then at The Times) and verified with Lord Smith (then Chair of the EA).
(5). See EA doc: Background Cuadrilla PNR Hydraulic Fracturing Plan: gas/information-on-cuadrillas-preston-new-road-site/supporting_documents/Cuadrilla%20%20HFP%20Background.pdf
(6). See The Case: (7). Letter to M Hill from United Utilities dated 14th July 2017.

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