Five supporters of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood plans give their views at the evening session on Day 15 of the inquiry. Opponents will follow. Their comments will be reported in a separate post. This is what the supporters said:
Mrs Smith explained how she chairs Stay Blackpool and runs a hotel in the town. Blackpool had lost 4m visitors and 1,400 jobs outside of tourism. Unemployment was 17% and child poverty and drug addiction were above the national average. Towns like Blackpool needed to come up with new ways to create jobs, she said.
Mrs Smith said her views were informed by reading and research. She said more people were in favour than it might appear. She said a Lancashire Evening Post survey found 57% supported fracking. But they were a silent majority because supporters of fracking were subject to abuse and bullying, she said.
She said she would rather have a working well next to her home than an empty hotel.
Let’s hold Cuadrilla to the highest standards, she said. She said the local nuclear industry had attracted business to the tourism industry. There was no reason why fracking would not do the same.
I and the 200 members of Stay Blackpool ask you to allow Cuadrilla to prove it will be a good neighbour and employ local business in the supply chain.
Mr McLaughlin, a retired aerospace employee, living in Lytham St Anne’s said he was familiar with regulation. He said he had no relationship with Cuadrilla nor a prospect of employment.
He said he visited the Anna’s Road site for more than two-and-a-half hours and talked to drillers and regulators. It was just over a mile from his house. He was reassured the site would be regulated.
He questioned the sincerity of opponents and how they had been misrepresented at the Lancashire planning meeting. He said North Yorkshire have started an investigation into opposition to Kirby Misperton.
He made an FOI request to Lancashire County Council. 50 people had no recollection of being involved in the objection,he said. LCC has no method of know which are genuine and which are genuine.
He said “We as a nation need a reliable secure source of energy”. Until we have a new source of energy fracking is to be the main source available without undue risk.
Mr LIvesey said he had nothing to gain from his appearance at the inquiry. He had created thousands of jobs in engineering in Lancashire. He said they had been hit by the oil embargo in the 1970s. He agreed with the science of climate change but added:
“I believe we are 100 years away from losing our reliance on fossil fuels.”
He said India and China would continue to build coal fired power stations for several decades.
He asked whether EU legislation would prevent renewable energy projects off the NW coast? We have an energy gap, he said. We are closing coal fired power stations. We are closing phase one of the nuclear stations. New power stations were not yet agreed. Solar and wind are intermittent and heavily subsidised.
“We run a real risk of the lights going out”
Fracking will be monitored and carried out safely, he said. Leave it to our professional bodies to monitor and report, he said.
Fracking can keep the lights on for the next 50 years.
“If we take the initiative, we can become the real power house of the north. If we don’t complete the exploration process we will never know the scale of the prize for Lancashire.”
Mr Roberts lives in Garstang and has worked in geological exploration. He said Cuadrilla’s exploration could be done safely. He said fracked shale gas was the best option for climate change and complied with the Paris Agreement. He said this would reduce emissions in relation to coal.
“There is only way to find out what the actual amount of gas there is in this area and that is to drill. It would be irresponsible not to do so”
Mr Roberts said he cycled 5,000 miles in Lancashire a year, including on Dagger Road, on the lorry route to Roseacre Wood. He said HGVs are more considerate to cyclists than cars when overtaking and coming in the opposite direction. Under Cuadrilla’s highest estimate you would meet a lorry every four to five minutes, which was less than on other rural roads.
I see this not as a danger to road users but as a nuisance.
He said the low number of jobs (22 in total) was because the sites for exploration not production.
On social licence, he said, as a retired vicar he served at local parishes. Most people know about my support for fracking, he said. Many people think fracking should go ahead. They include a 90 year old widow. It is incorrect to say there is no social licence. Opposition had been organised by outside groups.
He had been opposed to fracking initially. But after research, he now believed it was safe and imperative.
It is essential to the potential benefit of Lancashire and the UK. It would benefit the economy, without damaging the environment.
Mr Rudd said he is a mechanical engineer, working in the nuclear business and living in Preston. He said shale gas would contribute to the region’s economy. Lancashire was well-placed to benefit. These would include:
- Higher business rates.
- Jobs directly as sub-contracting or indirectly with increased business activity.
- Energy security – importing could lead to disrupted supply or increased prices
- Environmental benefits from switching from coal to gas
- Strong regulations in place which would protect the environment
Mr Rudd said his experience of working with regulators would ensure regulations would be enforced.