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 just outside the chambers’ main entrance. A soundtrack of drills, trucks and industrial plant is playing at volume as councillors enter the building.
Frack&Go is the same drilling company that took over the Chancellor’s village green in Tatton earlier this year. (1)
The Development Control Committee that will ultimately grant permission for drilling in Lancashire is meeting inside County Hall today, with Lancashire widely seen as the test case for whether fracking goes ahead nationally. Yesterday Cuadrilla announced their intention to restart operations in Lancashire at the end of this month, after earthquakes caused them to delay for over a year.(2)
“Cuadrilla is proposing to invade precious parts of Lancashire with trucks, drills, flares and chemicals. They’re even planning on drilling under people’s homes without permission,” said Preston resident and Greenpeace supporter Liz Stanton from the site. “This is a case of big, rich companies exploiting the county for their own gain and leaving locals with very little. County councillors must say no.
“But this isn’t just an issue for Lancashire - fracking is a huge concern nationally and Lancashire councillors should understand that their decision has national significance. If they give Cuadrilla the green light that will be seen as paving the way for fracking across the UK.”
The activity follows correspondence from Greenpeace’s Executive Director John Sauven, which last week went to every member of the Development Control Committee, as well as Council leader Jennifer Mein, Liberal Democrat leader Bill Winlow and Conservative leader Geoff Driver (3).
Drilling company Cuadrilla has already applied to extend planning permission to drill at sites at Banks and Singleton, and has announced it intends to drill and frack an additional six sites next year.
“Most experts agree fracking in the UK will make little or no difference to people’s energy bills, yet it risks industrialising swathes of Lancashire countryside, and has been associated with water contamination, earth tremors and reduced house prices,” said Ms Stanton.
Cuadrilla was caught on tape earlier this year admitting that UK shale gas will have a “basically insignificant” impact on bills, and conceding that “well integrity” and “traffic” are big issues in Lancashire (4) “I was just up in Lancashire looking at different sites the other day…. these are little roads and you have to be sensible about it,” company spokesman Mark Linder told a Greenpeace campaigner.
Lawrence Carter, Greenpeace Energy Campaigner: “We don’t need to be digging up and burning more fossil fuels. Studies show that the UK can run on clean energy; that we can generate thousands of jobs doing so, and that it will be cheaper for consumers over time. The North West has the potential to be a leader in green energy – more than 26,000 people are already employed in clean energy – fracking is a very real threat to this.”
For video and images of the activity, please contact the Greenpeace UK picture desk on: 020 7865 8118 or email@example.com
For a full Greenpeace briefing on fracking, go to: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/document/shale-gas-briefing-feb-2013
- Cuadrilla spokeman Mark Linder speaking in May to a Greenpeace campaigner at a drop-in session for concerned residents in Balcombe, Sussex: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1428831/utter-fucking-bullshit-2.mp3