Arriving to work this morning, staff at Lancashire County Council will find a fracking rig drilling outside County Hall in Preston. It's a fake fracking outfit - the same Frack & Go that struck in George Osborne's constituency ealier this year - but it gives a small taste of what being next door to a drilling operation is like.
It's particularly timely as the council planning committee will be deciding soon on a new application from Cuadrilla, the same company that has attracted huge protests in Sussex.
Around 10 campaigners dressed as workers from fracking company “Frack&Go” have erected a large fracking rig and surrounded it with an 8-foot-high fence. A soundtrack of drills, trucks and industrial plant is playing at volume as councillors from the planning committee enter the building.
The planning committee will ultimately decide whether drilling goes ahead in Lancashire, and what happens in the county is widely seen as a test for the rest of England. If the planning committee wants to reduce carbon emissions and protect the local countryside, it should reject any applications to frack within Lancashire.
While drilling company Cuadrilla has claimed to need ‘only’ 1,000 wells across Lancashire, independent research by Bloomberg suggests up to 20,000 wells would be required to hit the company’s target of replacing North Sea gas.
Needless to say, 20,000 wells - with all the corresponding infrastructure and road traffic - would drastically change Lancashire’s countryside, including areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Today’s action draws attention to an issue that’s close to home for Lancashire residents, but also threatens hundreds of communities across the UK and communities right around the world when you factor in the negative impact UK shale gas will have on global climate change.
The government’s obsession with fracking is also diverting crucial investment from renewable energy and, contrary to David Cameron’s claims, will not reduce household energy bills.
We've has just launched a joint petition with 38 Degrees, 350.org, People & Planet, Platform and Stop Climate Chaos (who represent 100+ civil society organisations and 11 million individual members), asking David Cameron to re-think the government’s plans for fracking and invest in sustainable forms of energy.