Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Residents take Government to court over fracking decision

PRESS RELEASE

Preston New Road Action Group

RESIDENTS TAKE GOVERNMENT TO COURT OVER FRACKING DECISION
27 AUGUST 2017

This week will see anti-fracking campaign group, Preston New Road Action Group, take their legal challenge over fracking in Lancashire to the Court of Appeal in London. Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 are the dates given by the court to hear both legal teams’ evidence, along with an additional challenge by a separate campaigner.

In 2015, Lancashire County Council democratically refused planning permission for Cuadrilla’s application to carry out exploratory hydraulic fracturing at Preston New Road, on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Cuadrilla subsequently appealed to the Secretary of State, who in October 2016, controversially overturned the local council’s decision and gave Cuadrilla the go-ahead for planning permission.

An ongoing legal battle has continued since then, with a judicial review at Manchester Court of Appeal earlier this year. Justice Dove dismissed the review, stating that none of the grounds argued were “made out in substance”.

A spokesperson from Preston New Road Action Group stated:

“We trust that the Secretary of State’s decision to allow fracking at Preston New Road will be found unsound, and Lancashire County Council’s original decision will be reinstated.

“Even before any fracking has commenced, the local community has been subjected to disruption. They have suffered stress due to the process and since work commenced on the site, their day-to-day lives have been disrupted by convoys of HGVs, a massive police presence and many road closures.

“Cuadrilla, far from being good neighbours, have already demonstrated their contempt for the local community and planning conditions meant to protect it. They have breached planning conditions by bringing the rig on to site during the night and have commenced drilling only days prior to the appeal being heard.

“People matter, communities matter. As has been demonstrated loudly and clearly over the last three years upwards, there is no social licence to frack at Preston New Road.”

ENDS
Notes to the Editor

Court times to be confirmed Tuesday 29 August 2017 when sitting reconvenes.
Lancashire Campaigner Claire Stephenson and Dr Frank Rugman will next week, attend Public Health England to submit a petition for the review and update of Public Health England’s report on fracking and health in the UK. Date and time to be confirmed.

Further research reveals that living near a fracking well is bad for your health

Frack Free Lancashire

PRESS RELEASE 24 August 2017

INCREASED RISK OF NEGATIVE HEALTH OUTCOMES AND FRACKING SITE PROXIMITY

A new report published yesterday has found that people living within one mile of active fracking wells are at an increased risk of heart and neurological diseases, cancers and adverse birth outcomes.

The report was written by Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy, a non-profit research institute; the University of California, Berkeley; and Harvey Mudd College. It is the first peer-reviewed nationwide measurement in the USA of the number of people living in close proximity to actively producing oil and gas wells.

Lead author and research associate at PSE, Eliza Czolowski, stated:

“Our study was specifically designed to determine how many Americans have increased health risks from potential exposure to pollutants emitted from oil and gas development.”

Dr Frank Rugman, from Preston New Road Action Group, said:

“At Little Plumpton, unfortunate residents just 350 metres from the site may also be subjected to night-time noise at 42 dB. Sleep disturbance, particularly in vulnerable residents, can aggravate cardiovascular and arterial disease, impair cognitive function and impair learning in children.

“Despite industry claims of safety and ‘better regulations’, reports of air or water pollution and negative health impacts continue to accumulate.”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire commented:

“This new report validates our serious concerns about the potential health risks which will arise as a direct result of turning the Fylde into the largest onshore gas field in Western Europe.  The government has so far refused to consider minimum set-backs between fracking sites and places where people live, play and learn.

“With evidence mounting on the negative impacts from air, light and noise pollution that follow fracking wherever it imposes itself, this issue can no longer be conveniently swept under the carpet. We urgently call upon our MP, Mark Menzies, to recognise its importance and hold the government to account.”

ENDS

 

Notes for the Editor:

  1. Toward Consistent Methodology to Quantify Populations in Proximity to Oil and Gas Development: A National Spatial Analysis and Review
  2. Preston New Road Action Group heads to the High Court in London next week, in a further challenge to the Secretary of State’s overrule of Lancashire County Council’s refusal of Cuadrilla’s planning application for exploratory fracking.
  3.   Campaigner Claire Stephenson and Dr Frank Rugman will next week, attend Public Health England to submit a petition for the review and update of Public Health England’s report on fracking and health in the UK.

 

Babs Murphy asking for more ‘robust’ action by police

A RAFF follower has just sent us this message she received from Babs Murphy. Miss Babs is chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of both the North West Energy Task Force  and the business group Lancashire for Shale. You could say she is a firm supporter of shale gas. Those of you who attended the Public Inquiry in Blackpool, last year, will remember her poor (nay appalling) performance and even poorer lack of knowledge.

Presumably this message, which is full of mis-information, has been sent out by the Chamber to all of its members. As well as containing statements which are untrue, she pleads with her members to write to Clive Grunshaw the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner to ask him to “empower our local Police to use all legal options available to them to enforce the law”.

Once again the pro-fracking lobby is peddling half-truths, lies and fantasy; it shows just how desperate they are getting. If you feel compelled to give her some feedback giver her a ring on 01772 653000.

 

The following is the full text of  email sent out out by the Chamber:
Dear Colleague

We have been contacted by a number of businesses in relation to the disruption that is being caused by protestors on the A583, near Little Plumpton.   Yet again, today we’ve seen the A583  closed all day due to activists deliberately “locking-on” across a major public highway.

The last five weeks have seen six complete road closures and at least nine contraflows caused protestors occupying the main carriageway.    Blue light ambulances have been redirected and a funeral cortege had to be re-routed at one point.  Local residents are not getting to work on time, tourists have had their holidays affected and local businesses are losing vital custom.

The police are doing a superb job in very difficult circumstances balancing the rights to peaceful protest with the rights of residents and business-owners to go about their normal business and earn a living.  However, the escalation of these disruptive tactics means that more robust action is needed now to keep the public highway open.

If, like many local businesses, you feel strongly about this, I urge you to write to Clive Grunshaw the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner to ask him to empower our local Police to use all legal options available to them to enforce the law and keep this important road open.  Please tell him how you, your families and your businesses have been impacted.

Clive can be contacted at:

commissioner@lancashire-pcc.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Babs Murphy
Chief Executive
01772 653000

Tell Greg Clark to refuse fracking permission now

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As you’re probably aware, drilling commenced at the Preston New Road site on 17 August, but before fracking can start the Secretary of State for Energy, Greg Clark MP, must sign Cuadrilla’s fracking consent application. Friends of the Earth have telling created a petition, telling Greg Clark to refuse fracking permission now.

Together we’ve already stalled Cuadrilla’s plans and people power has kept the UK frack-free for six years. Now, the more people who write to Greg Clark and tell him that fracking must not take place, the more pressure he’ll be under to say no.

.Please sign the petition here.

Green Mondays, Preston New Road

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As part of the on-going protest campaign against fracking at Preston New Road, local people have organised ‘Green Mondays’, as a follow-on from the Rolling Resistance campaign which Reclaim The Power helped organise throughout July. This idea is now being promoted by various North West environmental groups, including the Green Party, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. At the same time, the national organisations are assisting by providing speakers for most of the ‘Green Mondays’ between now and the end of September. Natalie Bennett has attended, as have a number of Green councillors.

Monday 4 September: Amelia Womack (Deputy Leader) will be the main speaker on that day – and there is the possibility (not yet confirmed) that there will also be a national Greenpeace speaker.

4. Monday 18 September: Caroline Lucas, MP is confirmed as the main speaker for that day. One of the other speakers will be Stephen Hall – president of Greater Manchester Assoc. of TUs, & Chair of Unite the Union/GM Area Activists’ Cttee – who will be speaking about the One Million Climate Jobs campaign.

How to get there: For those using public transport, the nearest station is Kirkham & Wesham: from there, cross over the road outside the station and catch the #61 bus, which takes about 15 minutes. There is a bus stop very close to the fracking site. Alternatively, you could take a bike and cycle from Kirkham-and-Wesham station, which also takes about 15 minutes.

For those coming by car, the best route for getting there is as follows: Come off the M55 @ Jnc 4, onto the A583, signed Preston/Kirkham. Free parking is available at: Maple Farm Nursery Garden, Moss House Lane (off Preston New Road), PR4 3PE – Tel: 01772- 685166. The farm is less than a 20-minute walk from the fracking site.

 

green

What Are You Drinking Fylde?

55% of Water in Your Tap is from the Fracking Zone and 40% from Forest of Bowland

Thanks to Mike Hill for investigating the issue of Fylde’s water supply. Where does Fylde’s drinking water come from?

A reply from United Utilities reveals that a property in the middle of St Annes, Fylde gets 95% of its water from local boreholes, the River Wyre and Stocks Reservoir in Bowland. Only 5% is a mix of river and lake water from the Lake District. So 55% of all Fylde’s water in your taps comes directly from the Fylde – a potential fracking zone and a further 40% is from the greater fracking zone!

Mike Hill, together with local anti-fracking groups such as RAFF, have repeatedly drawn attention to the potential contamination of our drinking water by fracking activity. We have also repeatedly been accused of scaremongering and told it could never happen as our drinking water comes from the Lake District or other areas. Well here we have it from the horse’s mouth – 55% of water in your tap is from the fracking zone and 40% from the greater fracking zone, the Forest of Bowland.

 

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Women’s Peace Walk Every Wednesday, Preston New Road

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Ladies’ Peace Walk, Call For Calm, to PNR Fracking gates and 15 minutes silence- every Wednesday. This is proving to be a popular and very moving event as women call for calm and peace.

Please share the information round. Try to wear white if you can… as you can see from the photograph, it looks really effective when there is a lot of us together.

We meet at 9.30 a.m at Maple Farm and together we walk slowly up to the site. The police have been happy to facilitate this event and trust us because we are women standing united for peace. It’s a moving and safe action, and is a good one to take part in if you are new to anti-fracking and feeling uncertain about taking part in an action outside the site gates.

How to get there: For those using public transport, the nearest station is Kirkham & Wesham: from there, cross over the road outside the station and catch the #61 bus, which takes about 15 minutes. There is a bus stop very close to the fracking site. Alternatively, you could take a bike and cycle from Kirkham-and-Wesham station, which also takes about 15 minutes.

For those coming by car, the best route for getting there is as follows: Come off the M55 @ Jnc 4, onto the A583, signed Preston/Kirkham. Free parking is available at: Maple Farm Nursery Garden, Moss House Lane (off Preston New Road), PR4 3PE – Tel: 01772- 685166. The farm is less than a 20-minute walk from the fracking site.

womens

‘GREEN MONDAYS’ AT FRACKING SITE

Members of environmental movements across the North West are joining forces today to keep up peaceful pressure on both the shale gas industry and the government by bringing in more people to stand in protest at Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.

Former Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, who will today speak at the launch of ‘Green Mondays’, said:
“I’m disappointed to be having to make my third visit to the Preston New Road site. The public of Lancashire, indeed the UK public, have made it very clear that they do not want fracking. Lancashire County Council said no, the protectors on site, working day and night for months in the face of aggressive policing, have said fracking must not happen here, yet still Cuadrilla is throwing its shareholders money into a project that doesn’t have community consent.”

Liz Stanton of Greenpeace Preston said:
“Greenpeace are joining with other anti-fracking groups to try and stop Cuadrilla from fracking Lancashire. It has not brought employment to Lancashire, it won’t bring our energy prices down, but it will damage our environment. We need to look to the future and make sure our energy is clean. Renewable, clean energy has brought jobs to the northwest, it makes energy more affordable and its clean!”

Dot Kelk of Friends of the Earth – Central Lancashire, UK said:
“Fracking – the unconventional and risky extraction of shale gas and oil – poses a serious threat to our world’s climate, and to local environments and communities. Catastrophic and abrupt climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity, and extreme weather events are already having an impact in the UK and around the world. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the world needs to stop burning fossil fuels as fast as possible.”

Gina Dowding (Lancashire County Councillor) said:
“Our voices have not been listened to, so it’s now time to take action with our bodies. Being at the site demonstrates our strength of feeling against this toxic industry, and reminds the company and the Government that the community will not roll over.”

The ‘Green Mondays’ idea follows on from the month-long Rolling Resistance protests organised by Reclaim The Power throughout July. As a result of the protests which have been taking place since January – works at the site are currently five months behind schedule.

Natalie Bennett added:
“The Green Party has supported anti-fracking campaigns from the start, and the campaigns have been highly successful in preventing the start of an industry whose existence is indefensible on climate change, safety and wellbeing, and economic grounds. We, and the protectors, are also championing the alternatives – community-owned renewables and energy efficiency, which create business opportunities, jobs and energy security.”

First Green Monday organised for 14 August, 10.00 am – 4.00 pm

Organised by the North West Green Party, this is the first of a series of ‘Green Mondays’ for members of the Green Party and environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, who will join the ongoing protests against fracking at the Preston new Road site. This Monday (14/08) we will be joined by former Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett.

For those using public transport, the nearest station is Kirkham-and-Wesham: from there, cross over the road outside the station and catch the #61 bus, which takes about 15 minutes. There is a bus stop very close to the fracking site. Alternatively, you could take a bike and cycle from Kirkham-and-Wesham station, which also takes about 15 minutes.

For those coming by car, the best route for getting there is as follows: Come off the M55 @ Jnc 4, onto the A583, signed Preston/Kirkham. Free parking is available at: Maple Farm Nursery Garden, Moss House Lane (off Preston New Road), PR4 3PE – Tel: 01772- 685166. The farm is less than a 20-minute walk from the fracking site.

You can go to the gates directly or meet at the Preston New Road Community Action Hub at Maple Farm (see above) at 10.00 am, from where we can walk up to the site together. The Hub will provide hot drinks, food, information, etc.

Shell and Exxon face censure over claim gas was ‘cleanest fossil fuel’

Arthur Neslen, Monday 14 August 2017

The Dutch advertising watchdog will on Tuesday censure Shell and Exxon for claiming that natural gas was “the cleanest of all fossil fuels” in an advert earlier this year.It will be the second time this summer that the Netherlands advertising standards board has ruled against the fossil fuels industry, after it slapped down Statoil in June for calling gas a “clean energy” and “low emissions fuel”.

In a bid to pre-empt the latest ruling, online versions of the advert were changed a few weeks ago to redefine gas as “the least polluting fossil fuel”.

The Dutch watchdog waived punitive action against the NAM company, which is part-owned by Shell and Exxon, in that light.

Paul de Clerk of Friends of the Earth Europe, which co-filed the complaint with Milieudefensie, said: “This clear ruling by the advertisement standards board is of great importance. Time after time we see how oil and gas companies are misleading citizens and politicians.

“They want us to believe that gas is clean and they support the transition to renewable energy. Behind the screens we see how the same companies lobby against this transition. To prevent catastrophic climate change we need to end the dependency on all fossil fuels – including gas. ”

The issue is highly contentious, after a Trump administration push for gas to be described as a “clean technology” at a G20 summit in July split the meeting.

The US disassociated itself from the final communique, inserting text into the document saying that it would help countries “access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.”

But gas is seen by many policy-makers as a “bridging fuel” to a renewable-powered future and the EU’s research wing has also described it as a low carbon energy source, making about £100m available for research grants on that basis.

Natural gas emits around half as much carbon dioxide as coal when burned, although this is still far more than from renewables.

But the picture is less clear when it includes methane – a short-lived but much more potent greenhouse gas – which one recent study found was being emitted by gas plants at levels up to 120 times higher than reported to US regulators.

The ruling by the Dutch Advertising Code Authority, which the Guardian has seen, found that “the absolute term ‘cleanest fossil fuel’ is not in line with the MRC [Dutch advertising code].”

“It is suggested that fossil fuels can be clean in that they do not cause environmental damage. It is firm – and recognised by NAM – that that suggestion is not correct.”

Antonetta van Beem, a spokeswoman for NAM, said her company’s decision to change the advert was not an admission that the original had been misleading.

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