Why fracking will not happen in Lancashire

Claire Stephenson

17 January 2017

Local resident near proposed fracking site in Lancashire, Claire Stephenson explains why she thinks there won't be fracking, and how you can help fight it.

On Thursday 5 January Cuadrilla moved on to Preston New Road with its contractors, AE Yates of Bolton – a firm from outside of Lancashire, to begin groundwork clearance.

No residents in the Preston New Road community group were informed of the works or the disruptive traffic management plan outside of their homes, causing delays and tailbacks.

We understand that councillors were only emailed on the same day as works began, but it seems Cuadrilla failed to inform the actual community this travesty is being forced upon us.

 

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Residents slow walking with lorries, by Preston New Road action group

Local residents have each day during working hours implemented legal and peaceful protest methods, such as slow-walking in front of the lorries that are turning up daily.

Residents are incensed that democracy has been effectively neutered in Lancashire, and feel abandoned by their political representatives. But we will not give up, and I am heartened by the mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers and others that turn up each day to protect our community, and the messages of support that we are receiving from around the country.

The outright arrogance of an unwanted fossil fuel industry that holds no social licence is astounding. Despite Cuadrilla’s presumptuous moves, I don’t think that fracking will go ahead in Lancashire.

Here’s why:

Pending legal challenges

Preston New Road Action Group still has an outstanding legal challenge pending. A judicial review request has been submitted to the High Court. We believe that Secretary of State Sajid Javid’s decision to overturn a county council’s democratic decision to refuse fracking in Lancashire is “fundamentally flawed”. And we intend to prove that within a court of law. You can help support our legal challenge fund.

Cuadrilla has not completed its groundwater monitoring

Questions have been raised by Friends of the Earth about whether the permits covering the Preston New Road site are even up-to-date.[1] Only 3 months of groundwater contamination monitoring are currently required in Lancashire (pdf), despite government legislation saying 12 months of monitoring should be carried out. Is this part of the “toughest regulations in the world" the government promised us?

 

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Local residents at roadside protest, by Helen Rimmer

There is no trust in fracking company Cuadrilla

​By Cuadrilla prematurely rushing ahead and beginning works, it makes our community feel that it is either not willing or not able to participate in any form of meaningful “community engagement” – something it repeatedly states it feels is important, yet seemingly fails at every opportunity.

Without the acceptance of a community, operations within it will be impossible. It is bordering on an outrage that Cuadrilla sees fit to claim it has a strong relationship with the community, when we think it has no legitimacy to do so.

We won’t allow our human rights to be infringed

A growing number of scientific studies cite many levels of potential harm from fracking. Our health surely has to be priority? Public Health England’s report on fracking is relied on by government, but it is narrow in scope and failed to assess the regulatory system. We believe an update is needed. We are calling for baseline and ongoing monitoring of our health. In my opinion, this is an infringement of our human rights.

People in Lancashire don’t want fracking

Lancashire said no to fracking, very loudly and very clearly. Our local parish, borough and county council all objected and refused planning permission to the fracking industry. Thousands of local residents also strongly objected

The Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, representing a pro-fracking government, overturned our democratically-elected councillors and gave Cuadrilla planning permission: central rule smashed local democracy.

National opposition to fracking is now at an all-time high

Despite the spin and untruths from the mainstream media, support for renewables is soaring at 79%, while fracking support is continually falling – at an all-time low of 17%.

With our friends in Ryedale and other places around the country facing the devastating threat of fracking, we need to show how many people stand together against this polluting and unwanted industry.

3 ways you can help us stop fracking in Lancashire:

1. Support our Judicial Review by donating via our website

Donate

2. Find out more about the Preston New Road campaign by visiting our website

Find out more

3. Show how many people up and down the country want fracking to be banned by signing Friends of the Earth's petition

Add your name

 

[1] Friends of the Earth letter to Environment Agency: sent 22 December 2016

 

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