Live updates on opponents of Cuadrilla’s fracking plans – day 15

Inquiry 825 opponents of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood plans give their views at the evening session on Day 15 of the inquiry.  This is what they said:

Inquiry adjourned


The inquiry resumes at 10am on Wednesday 9th March.

Gordon Smith


Gordon Smith said he had lived and worked in the area for 50 years. He is a member of Treales, Roseacre & Wharles Parish Council and the vice chair of the now defunct Cuadrilla community liaison group.

Cllr Smith said directional drilling would allow Cuadrilla to chose sites away from sensitive areas. Cuadrilla identified 15 areas of interest. All were within 11km reach of Fylde peninsular industrial sites.

There is a massive opportunity to mitigate by locating ite shale gas in places designed for industry, he said. Cuadrilla has failed to demonstrate they have demonstrate best practice on site selection, he said.

There is no contractual compensation for parishoners who are disadvantaged, Cllr Smith said. Under the discretionary scheme, the company proposes to distribute £100,000 to groups, not individuals.

In response to the Roseacre Wood CLG, Cuadrilla said there may be some funds for adversely-affected people. Cllr Smith requested that all the appeals be refused.

Tom Hastey


Mr Hastey gave evidence as an expert witness earlier in the inquiry. He criticised Cuadrilla’s transport plans for the Roseacre Wood site.

The methodology he had used to assess safety on the lorry route to Roseacre Wood had been questioned by Cuadrilla’s barrister. Mr Hastey said he had checked it with the Department of Transport and stood by it.

Mr Hastey said he had experience of driving OGV2 vehicles [the biggest HGV}, which would serve the fracking sites. He said the Preston New Road was an extremely busy road. Access by an OGV2 travelling towards Blackpool would require the driver to turn right. The vehicle would be 18m long and turning right would block both lanes of the road.

The manoeuvre would take 13 seconds and a further 20 seconds to increase speed into a fast traffic lane, he said. This would not give enough time to complete the manoeuvre before oncoming vehicles arrived. This would increase the risk of accidents, he said.

Mr Hastey asked: “Who will be responsible if the applications are allowed and there is a serious accident?”

Tony Young


Mr Young talked about the economic costs of fracking. He referred to a report by the International Monetary Fund which found that the subsidy for fossil fuels was 6.5% of global gross domestic product. Lord Stern said this “shatters the myth that fossil fuels are cheap”.

Our climate is changing because of burning fossil fuels, Mr Young said. The cost of dealing with the winter’s flood had risen to £5 bn.

Fracking had all the characteristics of a ponzi scheme, Mr Young added.

The UK Energy Research Centre report on the future of gas said gas had little scope in power generation after 2030 without CCS. It also said the UK lacked a clear vision for the role of gas. The government hasn’t done its sums, Mr Young said.

Shale gas promotion was sucking valuable investment out of renewable energy, he added.

The National Planning Policy Framework is “littered” with references to sustainable development, he said.

He added:

Democracy for the people of Lancashire has been missing from the fracking debate for the past five years.

A rejection by yourself [the inquiry inspector] would send a clear message to return democracy to the people of Lancashire

Joyce Whittle


Mrs Whittle’s statement were read by her daughter.

Mrs Whittle said she has lived near the Cuadrilla’s Anna’s Road site for most of her life. Her lane had seen increased traffic since the site was developed, she said. The drilling noise could be heard 24-7 at houses in several roads. It was constant drone with thuds, she said. Site lighting could be seen “far and wide”. Local roads had been damaged.

“We have never been informed where the contaminated water was disposed of.” Do people living near disposal facilities know what is being transported past their homes, she asked.

Mrs Whittle said Cuadrilla’s environmental statement should be checked carefully for its plans on waste disposal.

She predicted further earth tremors if the sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood were approved. Property prices nearby had already been devalued by 30%, she said. Even if people wanted to move they couldn’t unless they took a great financial hit.

Cuadrilla will make a huge profit while local people will suffer financial losses, she said. They shouldn’t be allowed to trade under individual companies that they can walk away from if they go out of business, she added.

Fracking would result in significant industrialisation of rural Fylde, she said.

Mrs Whittle asked how healthy a new health town would be if it was 1 mile from Preston New Road.

To applause, she urged the inspector not just to turn down the application for Preston New Road but to “throw it out”

Paul Hayhurst


Cllr Hayhurst said he was the County Councillor for Fylde West, which includes the Preston New Road proposal.

He was a member of the planning committee that refused the permission for Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road. He said Roseacre Wood was recommended for refusal by the highway authority. In seven years, he has never known an application granted against the recommendation of highways officers. At Roseacre Wood, the committee did not look for other reasons to refuse, he said, which had proved to be a problem at the inquiry.

He said Cuadrilla had changed the proposal for Preston New Road. The scheme being considered by the inquiry is the same as the one that went to the council in January and was deferred at Cuadrilla’s request because planners recommended refusal. Cllr Hayhurst said the rig was higher now than the proposal reject in June. He said he could see the blimp balloon marking the top of the rig across the area from Lytham to the M55.

Cllr Hayhurst said no one could the give the committee a definition of temporary. “Cuadrilla does not have a good record on following planning conditions”, he said. At one site, 18 months temporary planning permission had became four years.

The vote to refuse Preston New Road was 8 to 5, across party lines, he said. The committee also rejected the monitoring arrays at Preston New Road. This scheme would industrialise the open countryside. The Arup plan was a key issue for the committee because each site would initially require an area 20mx20m, along with cabins. Cllr Hayhurst said hardcore would be needed for each site, which would leave scars on the landscape and increase lorry movements.

Cllr Hayhurst said he had taken the Director of Public Health to visit people with health conditions living 350m away from the Preston New Road site. He said the Director could not give a reassurance that the site would not make these health conditions worse.

The 11 jobs created by each site would be nothing to the jobs that would be lost in tourism, he added. Anyone on the M55 will see the rigs and flaring, he said. Drilling should be away from where people live, he added.

Stephen Hunter


Mr Hunter said he had lived in Preston and the Fylde coast all his life. He said he had acted as a chartered accountant for hundreds of businesses, including as a partner for KPMG. He said for 21 years he had commuted the route proposed for use by lorries to Roseacre Wood. In 21 years, he has not passed a lorry of the size Cuadrilla was proposing, he said

Mr Hunters said he lives two miles from Roseacre Wood. He regularly passes walkers, cyclists and horse riders on the roads. He regularly sees wildlife on his way home.

The fracking would ruin an idyllic rural spot, he said, by introducing a dirty industry.

The industry will create few locally-based jobs and will destroy jobs in tourism, he predicted. Gas flares, HGVs and explosions do not mix with tourism.

There is no real reason not to locate it on an industrial estate. The whole of the Fylde coast has shale gas. Why not put it away from the rural area. He said:

Keep the countryside as it should be, rural.

Gary Broadbent


Mr Broadbent lives on the Fylde coast. He said he initially supported shale gas but he had changed his opinion.

He said energy security arguments were questionable and the control of the process was not robust enough.

Mr Broadbent the energy security arguments were inconsistent. Drax would be burning wood pellets from the US, he said. Poor energy policy had led to a lag for the new nuclear power stations.

He asked: Are the risks fully understood and the regulations robust enough. He asked whether monitoring would be enough when the process for Preese Hall had no monitoring and that had been regarded as satisfactory.

Mr Broadbent said the base safety case must be complete and totally robust. He urged the inspector to look at the hydraulic fracturing plan for the two sites. The last thing our country needs is an incident related to hydraulic fracturing and seismic activity, he said.

Cheryl Gilbertson


Mrs Gilbertson said her family moved to Roseacre to live in a rural area but since the 2014 application by Cuadrilla there had been a strain on their health.

She said the arguments against fracking applied across the UK, not just in the Fylde. The evidence against fracking is out there, she said, and growing. There were risks from chemicals and emissions to short and long-term health.

“I, my young children, my neighbours should not have to live with this for one day, let alone the rest of their life.”

Children were particularly vulnerable, she said, and 27% of the parish’s population were children.

“I will be forced to leave the community”, she said. “We risk losing everything through no fault of our own”. Child care and family connections would also suffer.

House prices would fall, she said. People have chosen to pay a premium to live in the village. An offer on a house across the road had been withdrawn when the potential buyers found about fracking.

“We have a right to live in a safe environment”, she said.

Carol Berry


Mrs Berry lives at Inskip, two miles from Roseacre Wood. She said she was most concerned about traffic and jobs.

She said it was hard to find a good stretch of road from Kirkham to Broughton. It is hazardous for cars, horses and cyclists, she said. “I am concerned about the viability of any traffic calming measures proposed by Cuadrilla”, she said.

She said drivers disregarded a new speed restriction sign. Good intention measures do not change behaviour unless they are heavily policed, she said. This was unlikely  in this rural area, she added.

On jobs, Mrs Berry said the fatality rate of oil workers was eight times average. She said low oil prices were putting companies out of business in the aerospace industry, in which she works.

She said: “There is more to lose than gain on jobs from this application”.

Samantha Harrison


Ms Harrison said she lived 1km from Roseacre Wood. She said she had become more anxious with all the glossy brochures produced by Cuadrilla.

I feel that Cuadrilla has been economical with the truth.

Despite what it says on Cuadrilla’s website site, she said, the company did not drill Elswick and the fracturing was not comparable with what was planned for Roseacre Wood.

Ms Harrison said Cuadrilla has applied to connect to the gas network. This is already making provision to scale up for full production, she said.

She said Cuadrilla was using inconsistent terms to DECC. Cuadrilla’s extended flow test, when it taps into the gas network, is production development, she said. This should be a material consideration that should be part of the appeal.

“If Cuadrilla can get approval 260m from a property it sets a planning precedent and opens up the Fylde to fracking.”

LCC [Lancashire County Council] does not think the site is appropriate for exploration, let alone a production development site.

Jules Burton


Mr Burton, from Roseacre, referred to the Royal Society report on fracking produced after the earthquake at Preese Hall.

The government accepted all the recommendations, he said. But there has been no evidence that the 10 recommendations have been adopted. Only one has been implemented in full, he said, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering

A report on public health risks from Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood made 65 recommendations. The Director of Public Health said the risks could be mitigated. But since the publication of the report none of the 65 recommendations have been implemented. It would be naive to assume the issues have been addressed, Mr Burton said.

“These applications are unsound, unsafe and unethical and I urge you to refuse them”

Sally Livesey


Mrs Livesey said she and her husband bought their derelict farm in 2002. We had a long-term plan to create a home and business, she said. Now they run two business from the site and have four children.

One business, a livery stable, would be compromised if fracking went ahead because there would he no access to safe roads, she said. Any additional traffic would pose additional risk.

She had already been informed that she would loose a third of her livery business because horses would be removed. This is through no fault of my own, she said.

Mrs Livesey said she had had two planning applications turned down because they were “not in keeping with the local area”. Two other applications were refused because they would increase traffic to the area. A further application was refused because it would impact on the local landscape. She said:

There cannot be two sets of rules, one for small business and one for big business.


Nick Danby


Mr Danby said his home is two miles from Roseacre Wood. He moved there to escape the rat race, he said.

He said he shared concerns about the regulatory agencies. This is an embryonic industry and the staff have little knowledge, he said. Resources are already stretched. They will be reactive and dependent on information from the industry. This amounts to self-regulation, he said.

It is nonsense to say regulation was robust. There has been de-regulation.

The regulations were developed for the offshore industry, not an onshore fracking industry in densely populated areas.

He described the Infrastructure Act, which allowed fracking under properties without permission of landowners, as “pernicious”. He said 99% of people who took part in the DECC consultation on changing the trespass law were opposed but the change went ahead.

He added “There is very little provision for compensation so it will be up to me to go to law and prove the fault. Those culpable will be long gone when problems arise”.

He said insurance companies were likely to increase premiums, if they were willing to insurance.

“I have not taken on any greater risk so why should I be penalised.”

Mr Danby said he wrote to Greg Clark, which he submitted to the inquiry. The reply said “all relevant issues given by local people will be given very careful consideration.”

Neive-Marie Rowlandson


Mrs Rowlandson said her main concern was the risk of chemicals used or released in fracking. Who would be held responsible in 20 years time, she asked. She said well failure could have catastrophic consequences.

We teach children to protect the environment, she said. The government was contradicting what schools educate their children.

She said her two young girls had asked: Will there be a lot of trucks on the road? Can we ride Nolan [our pony] on the lanes?

Our family home has no financial value to me but it has huge value from friends, family, farms, she said. Fracking would devastate the community. We would have to move our family home. Fracking would be totally unacceptable, she said. Moving would have a huge financial implication. But she urged the inquiry to remember: Your health is your wealth, she added.

Inquiry resumes


Inquiry breaks

The evening session takes a break until 7.30pm

Shaun Turner


Mr Turner said he has lived in Wharles for 10 years. He said both sides have over-stated the positives and negatives of fracking. But he said if only half the negatives were proved to be true that was enough to turn down the Roseacre Wood site.

He asked how can people feel confident about regulation when the government redacted negative impacts in a report.

Fracking will bring prosperity but at what cost, he said. He predicted jobs would be lost in tourism. Once a fracking site was up and running it would provide few jobs and they would be specialist.

Mr Turner said he walked, ran and cycled on roads throughout the area.

Roy Harrison


Engineer, Mr Harrison said he had moved to Wharles because he wanted to live in a rural area but now found that he could be living next to the proposed fracking site near the Roseacre Wood site.

This type of development does not need to be close to homes, he said. Cuadrilla and Decc said horizontal drilling avoided putting sites near villages.

A British Standard quantifies noise impacts on local communities, he said. We have asked Cuadrilla to use this but they have refused, he added.

Mr Harrison said Cuadrilla’s noise assessment was inadequate and obscuried the noise impact of the site. He asked :

“Is it an unreasonable burden to protect the community”.

He said there was “Too much subjectivity”in Cuadrilla’s noise reports.

“They have chosen a site too close to properties and they have failed to assess the noise by applying an inappropriate British Standard”.

Ruth Turner


Mrs Turner said she has lived in Wharles for 10 years. She consciously decided to remain in the countryside and moved to a road that would be on the Cuadrilla lorry route. She likes to have the window open all day, she said.

I do not want to shut the window or listen to HGVs travelling past my  house.

These lanes are just not wide enough, she said. There had been incidents, including a fatal accident in Wharles.

She said she had experienced several near-misses when walking and running on the roads, despite wearing high-visibility clothing.

She urged Mr Egan to look at gas fields in the US.

“They are not put next door to a rural village”.

She said she could not move away without losing significant amounts of money on her home.

“No one would want to live in their village. Our security has been undermined by a process that has been shelved in other countries.”

We should be looking to renewable energy, rather than risking the environment with shale gas, she said.

“The results would be devastating to the Fylde area and the people who live here.”

Rosemary Conlon


Mrs Conlon said she had lived in Roseacre for 15 years. She moved there for the peace and quiet and to get away from the M55.

She retired four years ago and planned to spend more time in her garden She began riding on local roads.

Conditions on the roads had deteriorated, recently she said. Perhaps Mr Egan [Cuadrilla’s chief executive] would like us to spend our £100,000 community payment on road repairs, she suggested.

One of the fatalities on the Clifton Road was caused when a driver overtook a tractor and hit an oncoming vehicle. There was a traffic accident on the day of the site visit, she said. Our lanes are not suitable for increased vehicle numbers.

She said the inspector might wonder why farmers from Roseacre were not opposed. The answer was money, she said.

One farmer has provided land and been paid for it. Another has allowed monitoring and has been paid for it. A family member of another worked on monitoring and was paid for it.

Fighting back tears, she said:

“In 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately I have been given the all-clear”.

But she said stress could bring back cancer, something she did not want to envisage.


She said she stood in her garden and looked at the stars last night. She asked the inquiry: “How long will I be able to do this. How long will I be able to work in the garden.

Will we have to have the doors closed at all times given the regular wind direction from the site.

She added: I don’t think it is fair for Cuadrilla to have another chance to have its plans reconsidered, she said. The refusal by Lancashire County Council should have been it, she said.

Barbara Hurton


Mrs Hurton said the largest gas field in Western Europe was not a legacy she wanted to leave to the next generation.

She said she walks five miles four or five times a week. This keeps her and her husband fit, she said. They walk along the proposed fracking route to Roseacre Wood.

“It is horrifying for me to think of heavy lorries on these roads, which were never designed for them or for lots of traffic”.

The verges of Dagger Road was only 0.3m wide. Cuadrilla’s barrister, Nathalie Lieven had suggested pedestrians could just step aside of lorries. There is nowhere to step to, Mrs Hurton said.

She said she was also worried about HGVs passing through Wharles. Cuadrilla proposes to use a route through the village during off-peak times. The route through the Inskip defence site, avoiding Wharles, had not yet been finalised, she said.

If the applications were approved, HGVs should be banned in Wharles, she said. Some homes in the village were a few meters from vehicles on the road.

Gardening would no longer be a pleasure if the proposal was approved, she said. The application will not improve our village.

“The health of our community is paramount. We need to exercise more. It is good for us physically and mentally. Roads are becoming busier. We are fortunate. Our country lanes are quiet. They can be and are used for physical exercise. It costs nothing to use them. They are accessible to everyone. Please let them stay that way.”

Roger Hurton


Mr Hurton lives in Wharles, 850m from the proposed Roseacre Wood site. He has lived there for 25 years.

The area is intrinsically dark at night he said. The drilling rig would be lit 24 hours a day. He said Cuadrilla’s predictions on the brightness of the lower part of the rig  were 10 times greater than the recommended average maximum.

These areas will look like a search light. There will be no escape. It will be a blight on the landscape.

He said a resident living near Cuadrilla’s Grange Road site described it as “lit up like a giant UFO”

The lower part of the rig would be up to 26m, so not all of it would be obscured by buildings and the bunds. They will have an impact on the amenity of the area.

He said the lighting on the Inskip masts were not comparable with the lighting proposed for the rig. The mast lights were not designed to illuminate an area and were red, rather than white, he said.

Currently, the night sky has exceptional visibility of the stars. Some of the site lighting will create sky glow, he said.

This is likely to be nearly three times greater than recommended levels. This is not marginal, he said, as suggested by Lancashire County Council.

It will compromise the current dark skies. It will be a visual intrusion, resulting a loss of amenity.

Olivia Cookson


Miss Cookson told the inquiry she had secured her first full-time job at Ribby Hall. She said the future of tourism was at risk if fracking went ahead.

She said her family, who lived near Roseacre Wood, was suffering from stress with the threat of fracking to their house value. They were also concerned about the loss of access to local lanes for cycling or walking.

My generation are the ones that will suffer from the negative effects of this industry.

This is an industrial process of huge proportions. It should not be sited in the countryside

She said there was no evidence yet that fracking was safe and the proposals should be refused.

Greg Plummer


Mr Plummer worked for 32 years for Lancashire Police. He now works for the Princes Trust. He is a time trial cyclists and a member of the Cleveley’s road racing club.

He said the cycle group goes through the same route weekly. He hands in photographs of the junction on the Cuadrilla HGV work to Roseacre Wood which is on the training route.

Mr Plummer said there were many cycling clubs that used the local roads, as well as charitable rides, such as the Manchester-Blackpool event.

Cyclists are out every day and will increase with the onset of spring, he said. Theycontributed to cafes and pubs.

The applications will introduce unacceptable levels of HGVs. Vulnerable road users do not mix with HGVs, he said.

On the day of the inquiry site visit, he said, there was a higher than normal presence of HGVs. He was forced by a lorry to take evasive action and reported this to the police.

The police and Roseacre Parish Council had turned down an application to include the route for British cycling. How is it that these roads are suitable for HGVs from an industrial site?, he asked. He asked the inspector to refuse the schemes.

The inspector asked for a map of the route and the location of his photographs.

Martin West


Mr West said before retirement he was Reader in Acoustics at Salford University. He had published 67 papers on acoustics and he is now a director of a consultancy on outdoor sound propagation software.

Mr West said he had submitted six questions to Cuadrilla’s noise witness but he had refused to respond to them.

Mr West criticised Arup’s predictions of noise at the Preston New Road. He said he had re-analysed Arup’s data. He was concerned about the noise of the drilling components. He said Arup obtained the data by single sound measures when the machine runs.

“This totally contravenes guidelines and casts enormous doubt on all their predictions.”

He said the sound measures were “totally flawed” and needed to be redone. He added:

“The barrier arrangements are not satisfactory and there are much better ways of noise control”

I would ask the inquiry demand accurate measures of the night time noise predictions.

Paul Harrison


Mr Harrison owns the Ribby Hall holiday village. He said he employed 486 people directly and 200 indirectly as contractors or franchisees.

Mr Harrison said 95% of employees lived within 20 minutes drive of the village. The business had invested £35m in the past 25 years. Turnover last year was £25m.

Mr Harrison said he planned to continue his investment. But this would be reconsidered if fracking went ahead. The fracking process could involve over 100 pads and thousands of wells. He asked:

“How would fracking appeal to our guests and visitors to our area. How can fracking and tourism work hand in hand.”

“We don’t believe fracking will be beneficial to offering our guests a five star experience”

Mr Harrison added:

“We are proud of our achievements and we are fearful of what attracts our visitors to the area will diminish if fracking is allowed.

“If these applications are approved there needs to be rigorous independent regulation. This is not currently in place.”

He said the Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood sites would not have a big impact on the business but they would if they were forerunners for a bigger industry.

Jill Sutcliffe


Dr Sutcliffe said she was concerned that the push for fracking was denying people in England the chance to make a rational decision on the basis of comprehensive and reliable scientific information.

She listed her concerns:

  • Peer-reviewed scientific literature needed to be assessed.
  • Oil prices: it costs more to extract fracked gas than it is worth
  • Wells: industry sources showed wells leaked and once pollutants are released they could not be removed
  • Monitoring: Resources for monitoring are over-stretched and there is no full-time independent engineering supervision
  • High volumes of water needed
  • Waste management plans are lacking
  • Regulatory framework is playing catch up.

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, Uncategorized

3 replies »

  1. Thanks Dean.

    Meanwhile I’m really feeling so sad that some people managing horrendous health issues are having to process stress resulting from this WMD assault on their way of life, as well as cope with the possibility of living with fracking for many years to come.

    I have learned much more by reading this account of how harmful even the exploratories are, and can only hope that a permanent refusal is given.

    Thanks for all the updates Jane, much appreciated, as well as much needed…because for sure the Londoncentric press couldn’t care less.

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