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

‌Inquiry 7

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:

Claire Smith


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.

Frank McLaughlin


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.

Stuart Livesey


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.”

Michael Roberts


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.

James Rudd


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:

  1. Higher business rates.
  2. Jobs directly as sub-contracting or indirectly with increased business activity.
  3. Energy security – importing could lead to disrupted supply or increased prices
  4. Environmental benefits from switching from coal to gas
  5. Strong regulations in place which would protect the environment

Mr Rudd said his experience of working with regulators would ensure regulations would be enforced.

Inquiry resumes


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

Categories: Research

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10 replies »

  1. I notice yet again that sadly those in support of fracking have to attack those that oppose fracking and always claim bullying and intimidation. I have to say some of the nastiest things written that I have seen have come from those in support of fracking. I have seen personal nasty remarks in the comments here quite often. I also note those in support claim there is the huge silent majority in support – yet the so called silent majority fail to write in to planning authorities in support, which they can do quite easily, and note they do not take the time to speak at committees and inquiries – nor do they protest in great numbers either. I really think it would be far more decent and honest if the people who support fracking stuck to speaking about why they support fracking. Which people may not agree with but at least we can respect.

    During the Lancashire Inquiry, when I have listened to the public speakers, I have not heard one person opposed to fracking make nasty comments about those in support. Perhaps this therefore reflects the reality!

  2. If you protest about something, that gives you a focus. I wouldnt demonstrate about something I supported, its the protestors that do that. Many of the ‘letters of support’ were signed under pressure, and few read them . If this protest movement is so grass roots, then why do people have to get support from around the world? Why do people organise buses from around the country to pad out the support? Over 50% of people support locally produced gas over imports. With all of the ‘science’ reasons for opposing disappearing, most people are not daft. Its a safe process.
    Even the so called doctors at Medact have stopped saying that everyone would be poisoned. They just said it would cause a bit of stress, and the lighting + noise could be a bit annoying.
    Theres plenty of stories about cameras in faces and nasty behaviour. None from the pros. Where have people been bullying? Just saying what you think isnt bullying. Its speaking your mind, and thats a crime to some, if they disagree.

    • Good points there Anon.
      These activists many are not local. They can’t get their ways on the basis scientific research and evidence and so they use fears of the unknown and myth and rumour to run their campaign.
      We are yet to secure our electricity supplies and energy for home and economy while being blackmailed by twisted truth and evidence about poisoning water sleep deprivation noise lorry crushing traffic and nuisance visual impact on no more than 10 local people who probably don’t sit on the same spot for 3 years to watch the same view angle on the rig 24/ 7 to be considered visual impact. If the saying for the greater good go by any means this is not it.

      • LOL – “no more than 10 local people” – there will be 99 over two days speaking out this week alone. (Compared to 8 for if all 3 turn up on Thursday) Do some maths 🙂

  3. John,
    If you want to talk stat and number then let look at these numbers:

    Over a million wells have been fracked vs less than 5 cases cause water contamination (and it’s not even due to fracking, it is dodgy operation and well integrity)

    Over a million wells fracked vs none case of health problem can be attributed to fracking.

    Thousands of fracking site workers over the span of almost 2 decades vs none complaint or sue their employer for fracking-causing health issues or deadly illnesses (the anti-fracker dream up).

    Hundreds of well is continued to be fracked vs no ban by US EPA.

  4. It’s so obvious a problem for these pro fracking supporters to have more and more members of the community waking up to this awful dirty business. Who wants to be kept awake all night with drilling noise ?
    Property would be affected, I’ve worked hard all my life for my home , I would like to think it will be of value in the future for my children. Not if this goes ahead. And this member of Blackpool. Tourism ! It will kill all efforts which have been going on to upgrade our town. It would appear that fill her hotel at any costs!

  5. Let’s be brutally open and honest here. This inquiry has failed miserably for the fracking defense. The evidence has been overwhelmingly stacked against it, since day one. It has negligible community and professional support, and highlights that the democratic decision in June, was just and well informed.
    It should still remain conclusive and upheld.

  6. What I find sad about the pro fracker stance is their only ”evidence” for attack is of those people opposed to it , and denial of the science showing how dangerous it is.

    Meanwhile, they provide no science, no evidence, no substantial report on how safe is fracking? Sadly this does reflect badly upon their capacity to understand or even research the fuller picture they satisfy themselves with denying.

    I would have more respect for pr frackers if they provided substantial evidence, well based reporting and facts, facts facts. not mere denial of those scientific reports proving something they prefer to ignore or deny.

    Yes we need secure energy for the future, but not at the expense of people’s health, the environment and our having to pay for irreversible pollution, an account that will be handed over to our children for generations to come.

  7. Meanwhile, it’s such a shame Mr Rudd isn’t working with regulators more effectively?

    The higly radioactive waste disposal is badly regulated already, perhaps because mr Rudd isn’t around to help dispsoal in Cummbria be improved so we can be confident he is as good as hig braggadaccio?

    Take a look at how poorly regualted radioactive waste dispsoal is currently:

    ”…. there has been little media focus on what this means for nuclear waste
    buried at Drigg, the UKs ‘Low Level Waste Repository’, located near the
    Sellafield nuclear site on the Cumbrian coast. (remember the recent floods in the north?)

    ………………30th December, Cumbrian campaign group Radiation Free
    Lakeland sent a letter to Cumbria County Council asking for Drigg’s gates to
    be locked to any more nuclear waste given the dangers from flood waters
    entering the site, eroding the landfill and contaminating land, river and
    and sea with radioactive waste………………………………….

    “Discharges to the air of radioactive gases are ongoing. According to the
    British Geological Society the Drigg site is above a regional aquifer. It is
    also likely to be destroyed by coastal erosion in 500 to 5,000 years
    (computer modelling can be wrong either way). Much of the waste is long
    lived and high risk.”
    ……….. waste has been dumped at the site with little or no regard to either
    short or long term hazards. From 1940 to 1988 chemical and radioactive
    wastes was simply ‘tumble tipped’ into trenches.

    Now the waste is compacted into steel shipping containers filled with
    cement. But the containers, stacked up high on the site, are already
    suffering from serious degradation, with widespread cracking and corrosion,
    as the LLW management wrote in 2013:

    “in containers at the tops of stacks, the external capping grout has
    undergone extensive physical degradation and settlement; the lids are not
    full of grout, and the grout is generally heavily cracked. The state of the
    capping grout in underlying layers is better; most containers only show
    sparse cracking. Standing water, sometimes contaminated with low levels of
    radioactivity, is present in approximately half of the containers at the
    tops of stacks … Corrosion, sometimes fully penetrating, is present in
    some container lids at the tops of stacks …”

    In June 2005 the Environment Agency wrote: “BNFL (Now the NDA) has not yet
    demonstrated that the wider benefits to the UK from continued LLW disposal
    on this site outweigh the potential future impacts …

    So much for the safest regulatory framework in the UK!

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