Britain’s largest union, Unite, has urged Lancashire County Council to block Cuadrilla’s applications to frack at two sites in the Fylde.
In a statement today, Unite announced it would be joining an anti-fracking demonstration outside Lancashire’s County Hall in Preston tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd June).
This has been organised to coincide with the first of four days of meetings to decide Cuadrilla’s plans to drill, frack and test up to eight shale gas wells at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. The chair of the union’s executive council, Tony Woodhouse, will be among the speakers.
Unite’s position contrasts with that of another big union, the GMB. Earlier this month, it signed a joint charter with the industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas. This included a commitment to recognise that gas was important to UK industry and households and would play a key role in the country’s future energy needs.
Unite’s north west regional secretary, Mick Whitley, said “Fracking is a huge issue for communities across our region and a cause for deep concern.”
“A moratorium on fracking is in place in Scotland and the Welsh Assembly government is following suit, such is the depth of concern in other parts of the UK.
“Here in Lancashire county councillors need to listen to tens of thousands of people from across the county who have objected and reject all applications for fracking.”
The union, he said, was committed to supporting and lobbying for a moratorium on all fracking activity in the UK.
Lancashire County Council’s development control committee meets at 10am tomorrow to begin considering the applications. Only people who have pre-registered for tickets will be allowed to attend. A report by planning officers has recommended the application for Preston New Road be approved but the plans for Roseacre Wood be refused on traffic grounds.
The Don’t Frack Lancashire rally, organised by Frack Free Lancashire, runs from 5pm-7pm. It is part of a larger demonstration outside County Hall, expected to begin around 9am. DrillOrDrop.com will be reporting from the meeting.