12th June 2014
Cuadrilla said today that public opinion was running two to one in favour of fracking in the Fylde area of Lancashire, where the company wants to hydraulically fracture up to eight wells.
Tony Carruthers, the company’s commercial director, said local people were “extremely practical and very thoughtful”. They didn’t like people from outside the area telling them what they should think.
Yesterday, Lancashire County Council published Cuadrilla’s planning application to explore for gas and frack at a site off Preston New Road near Lirttle Plumpton. A company statement said it planed to submit an application for another site at Roseacre Wood next week.
Mr Carruther’ told a meeting of Westminister Energy, Environment and Transport forum in London this afternoon that Cuadrilla had spent a lot of time talking to people in village halls in Lancashire.
“By and large they go away reasonably contented … with the answers they have been looking for”, he said. “People by and large understand that this [shale gas] is a sensible thing and it can be managed.”
“In our own polling, and in my personal experience by large we have got two to one in favour. So I am confident we will be able to move forward in an acceptable way.”
But another speaker at the event, Tony Bosworth, senior energy campaigner, said he had evidence that contradicted Cuadrilla’s picture of public engagement.
“I speak regularly to communities who Cuadrillla are talking to and who other gas companies are talking to and and their experience of public engagement is very different. They don’t feel that it is adequate engagement from their perspective.”
He said: “The “industry and the government are losing the argument, hand over fist at the local level, as evidenced by their need to find more ways to pay communities.”