Cuadrilla’s fracking site to close

The Blackpool Gazette reports that Cuadrilla is to pull out of the only site in Britain where high pressure fracking has taken place.

The paper reports a company statement that no further work would take place at Preese Hall, near Weeton, the site linked to two earth tremors in 2010. The statement, which was not on Cuadrilla’s website at the time of posting, also said the company would apply for an extension to its current planning permission to seal the well and return the site to its former condition.

In October, Cuadrilla abandoned plans to drill at its Anna’s Road site, near Westby in Lancashire. A statement by the company at the time cited “technical constraints relating to wintering birds”. The company’s planning permission to explore was dependent on the impact of operations on birds, including pink-footed geese and whooper swans.

Last Tuesday (10/12/13) representatives of the group, Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking, said people in the Blackpool area found it hard to trust Cuadrilla after the Advertising Standards Authority upheld complaints against the company in April.

The group’s Tina Rothery, giving evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, said: “If they had come in and been honest, it would have been a better start. They have started dishonestly. They have given us PR people to speak to instead of engineers. When we ask questions, they do not have the answers. They tell us they will come back to us by email; it does not happen.”

Ms Rothery said communities were seeking to protect themselves directly because the traditional consultation processes had failed them.

“Our group have spent two years writing to politicians, lobbying our MPs and councillors, not doing the bad stuff; not doing the standing on the roadside or blocking trucks. For all we have done and all the petitions we have done, if it was not for the earthquakes this would have been proceeding by now.”

When asked what would endear Cuadrilla to the local community, she said. “I cannot think of a single thing they could do to make this acceptable.”

Also last week, one of Cuadrilla’s major investors admitted the firm had “underestimated the political aspect” of the company’s operations in the UK by 100%. The Australian Allan Campbell told the Sunday Times the company was “getting smashed” in the information war with protestors.

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