First evening session of Cuadrilla’s fracking inquiry – the supporters

Francis Egan

Francis Egan and the Cuadrilla team at tonight’s hearing

Live updates from the first evening session of the Cuadrilla fracking inquiry.

Watched by Cuadrilla’s Francis Egan and officers from Lancashire County Council,  four members of the public told the Inspector Wendy McKay why they supported the Roseacre Wood schemes. You can read what 20 opponents of the application said here.

Tim Freshney


Mr Freshney said he is the Managing Director of a local drilling support company, based in Blackpool. He works mostly outside the region.

His company had expanded its business in the oil and gas industry hugely. “I strongly believe we can get back into work through this route”, Mr Freshney said. One of his employees gave evidence at the Lancashire County Council planning committee last year.

“I want to give this a chance to succeed before it is too late”, he said. He added that Manchester and Liverpool were competing for the opportunity.

“We have no future for ambitious kids” he said if the shale opportunity was passed by.

“My business can achieve big things.  The time is right now to put Blackpool on the map.”

John Standing


Mr Standing said he was an offshore oil engineer in the North Sea and had recently completed a Masters, which included a thesis on the Bowland Shale.

He said poor drilling practices in the US had led to wellbore failure and contamination. The UK has one of the most comprehensive set of drilling regulations in the world. The UK had a “regulatory clean sheet” on unconventional  exploration he added.

He predicted a”mini Aberdeen effect” from Lancashire shale gas exploration.

“I do hope this inquiry overturns the refusal and can see past the minor inconveniences caused by shale gas exploration and see the potential benefits.”

Steve Pye


Mr Pye said he was speaking at the inquiry to support the safe and responsible exploration of shale gas by Cuadrilla.

Everything in the room was excavated from under our feet, he said. If there is a genuine concern about chemicals under our feet then materials for wind turbines and solar panels should also be included in that concern.

Nobody questioned how the origins of materials were managed. People assumed it was done properly, he said. We trust the Environment Agency and Health Safety Executive to regulate them.

Mr Pye said the UK was the most regulated country in the world. This is a country that has banned skipping, hopscotch and conkers in school because they were deemed to be unsafe, he said.

The EA and HSE was not going to allow something unsafe to go ahead. So why are we discriminating about what can be taken from the ground?, he asked. To ignore shale would be a missed opportunity.

“I would like everyone to consider what we have in front of us in Lancashire. I fully support the safe exploration of shale gas. Let’s give it a go and turn this town around.”

Paul Hennessy


Mr Hennessy said he works for a ATG, company at Wigan treating fracking flowback water. Social licence was linked to job creation, he said. The biggest impact would come from work in the supply chain, creating well-paid jobs.

He said shale was his company’s biggest opportunity for growth. “We have already experienced the benfits promised by the industry thRough working in the US shale business”. The company had won 10 major supply contracts, creating 12 jobs in US and increased business by 25%. No other market had offered this opportunity for expansion.

ATG had invested £150,000 in new water treatment technology. “We hope this will not be in vain”, he said.

Opponents of shale gas were important checks and balances, he said. But he said the uncertainty and long delays had affected small companies.

“We rely on these projects to survive and prosper.”

“There had already been redundancies. If it goes ahead we would prefer it was led by local people and local companies”.

Mr Hennessey said a consistent and cheap energy supply that shale promises would be vital to bringing manufacturing back to the UK and reviving northern England.

Evening session opens


This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s  Rig Watch project.  Rig Watch receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

Categories: Regulation

2 replies »

  1. Campiagn for the Preservation of Rural England supports fracking. In his talk, entitled The Question of Shale Gas, at CPRE Hampshire Mr Dawson pointed out that the CPRE has no objection in principle to shale gas exploration and extraction, as long as any drilling observes the strict guidelines suggested by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and planning conditions are put in place to deal with traffic and landscape issues.

  2. Mark is quite correct in his summation of the quote from Campaign for Rural England. Unfortunately far from observing the guidelines laid down by the Royal Academy of Engineering, of the 10 recommendations made only 1 has been adopted. This finding has been verified by the Royal Academy of Engineering in a recent review.

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