Live updates as 60 people make statements to Cuadrilla fracking inquiry

inquiry hearing 2

58 members of the public gave their views against Cuadrilla’s plans to frack at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood at the public inquiry at Blackpool Football Club. Another four supported the schemes. We reported live on the inquiry session, beginning with the supporters at 9.30am.

Inquiry adjourned


The inquiry resumes at 9.30pm on Friday 11th March.

The inspector

Wendy McKay said the statements from people at the inquiry would be put before the Secretary of State. She thanked people for the time and trouble of coming to the inquiry.

Roger Lloyd


Cllr Lloyd is a member of Fylde Borough Council.

Most people don’t want fracking, he said.

Small communities have come together to fight the applications, fight for their way of life, fight for their homes and fight for democracy.

He forecast fracking could lead to thousands of job losses.

Holidaying in a gas field isn’t for everyone

He said it was time to move on from fossil fuels. The government seems to think that shale gas was in the nation’s best interest. It could be for just five years, he said.

The need to tackle climate change is greater than the need for shale gas. The elephant in the room, he said. The fields in the Fylde were water-logged and unusable. This is climate change, he added.

An in-depth study was needed for the effect of fracking on wintering wildlife in the Ribble estuary, Mr Lloyd said.

The regulatory agencies would never be able to cope with protecting communities 24-7.

The first duty of any state is protect its people. It seems that the first duty of this state is protect the oil and gas companies and to ignore the people of the Fylde.

James Nisbet


Mr Nisbet said he and his wife lived in Stanley Mews, near the Roseacre Wood site.

He said: Since 2014 we have had to live with the worry and stress caused by these proposals as well as trying to assimilate a significant amount of information some of which has been misleading, sometimes inaccurate, and much clearly designed to paint a very rosy picture of fracking.

He said Cuadrilla claimed that it can mitigate any obstacle put in its way.

“Most matters are of low impact and only affect a small number of households, so basically it does not really matter. I find that stance quite arrogant and disrespectful to those concerned.”

“What they can’t mitigate is the genuine fear, anxiety and health concerns felt b those living so close to their proposed site”

Nesbit said he and his wife had tried to move house to avoid stress and anxiety, which exacerbated her health condition.

“A number of viewings were followed by good feedback but the proximity to the proposed site put people off.

When LCC rejected the application for the well site we had a viewing that led to an offer, very near the asking price.

Unfortunately when the intention to appeal was announced it fell by the wayside. We have a letter from our market agent that makes it clear that were it not for this desire to frack so close to our home we would have sold.”

Mr Nesbit said he wrote and told Francis Egan that this had happened in August 2015. He added:

It is quite ironic that we cannot  install UPVC windows at our property as it would not be in keeping and yet you have to decide if we are to be subjected to an industrial operation on agricultural land that will run 24/7, will impact our lives through noise, light, danger of rural roads and a loss of visual amenity, never mind gas flares for 90 days at a time discharging harmful particulates into the air.”

Samantha and Joshua Mae


Ms Mae said there are friends and a community in this room, she said.

In the past four years:

I have seen hair grow grey, I’ve seen frown lines deepen. We are family and we are determined

In researching Preese Hall, she said she had found cover-ups, haphazard regulation and a lack of clear answers. It’s not good enough, she said.

It’s not just about planning to us. Fracking is a violent, invasive, dirty invader, she said. It will threaten our environment, our health and our future. In time, all wells fail. In allowing this will you knowingly poison our future. We can’t and we won’t allow that to happen.

The future belongs to our children, Ms Mae said. She asked her son to read a letter he had written to the Prime Minister

My name is Joshua I’m 10 and I am against fracking.

I have learnt all about it, and I research myself. I’ve read lots of things and there are lots of kids like me, like my friend Alfie, who feel like me.

We are going to have to sort it out, because the trouble is when it all gets older. Please don’t do bad things to our home, we only one world, can you promise to protect it for us?

And when you read this please pass it on to the Queen because she is a mum so she will help protect her children

Thank you Joshua

Edward Cook


Mr Cook said his family had moved from Salford to the Fylde coast 50 years ago. The air quality was better but he said recent evidence shows that pollution from traffic and diesel engines cause lung damage and problems with blood clotting.

He said he was concerned about air pollution from flaring. He said properties were blighted. Thousands of people are deciding whether to move to or visit the Fylde. House sales are already failing.

It would appear that the vast majority of residents do not want fracking in Lancashire. It is untrue to say it will create jobs and reduce gas prices, he said.

This is a slash and burn industry. Take the gas, take the money and move on.

We are still unaware of where flowback will be processed and dumped, he said. Proper regulation is not place, he added.

The process is fraught with danger and the appeals should be rejected, he said.

Cheryl Atkinson


Ms Atkinson, a photographer, said having a well in your back yard was a visual insult.

She talked about  a photographic project on the impact fracking in the US Marcellus shale.  Images identified lighting, traffic problems, the infrastructure of the industry, deliveries of bottled water, new transport systems. We don’t want this to happen here, she said.

Once you get past these images, there are real stories of ill health and anxiety, she said. Water is more valuable than oil, she said.

There is no sense in fracking and we don’t want it here. We didn’t authorise it and I asked that these applications be refused.

Tina Rothery


Ms Rothery said she was seeking on behalf of Residents Action on Fracking. Most of the group did not start off being opposed but it was now.

She said she found it emotional to see people in the inquiry from the early meetings in the Fylde.

You could not walk away having heard about fracking, she said.

She said there were anti-fracking groups in every county. Cuadrilla said opposition was about scaremongers. Are people in this room misguided fools?, she asked.

She said opponents had had to wade through all the documents in the applications. She said:

This is not our job. We’re not paid. But we have to do it.

Ms Rothery referred to Cuadrilla’s application for costs.

How much do they care about our community? The threat of costs would deter other councils from refusing applications. But you knew that when you did it.

We ask you to honour democracy, she said. It is an insult that this decision will be made by an MP from Kent.

Ms Rothery asked the inquiry inspector to take account of the impact of appearing at the inquiry had had on people.

This has a complete life-change for the people.

Ms McKay said she appreciated that the appeal was not what people were used to.

John Bailie


Mr Bailie said he is in business in Poulton Le Fylde. He said:

I am not a receptor nor a scaremonger.

Mr Bailie said he had superimposed a 36m rig on pictures of the blimp balloon launched on the day of the site visit to Preston New Road.

The view of the balloon from a wide area showed that Lancashire County Council had been correct in refusing the application on landscape grounds.

Mr Bailie raised concerns about articulated lorries and removal of hedgerows. The landscape will not recover, he said. Similar applications would follow if the applications were approved.

Who will want to visit or live anywhere near these sites, he asked.

He quoted a University of Bristol study which found house prices had fallen around the Preese Hall site.

We will not be bullied, we will not be bribed.

This is our living environment and it is under threat.

Mr Bailie asked the inspector

Please urge the Secretary of State to make the right decision and show Cuadrilla the red car and reject this appeal

Fred Moor


Mr Moor, a former chief officer of Fylde Borough Council, said the issue of trust had run through the inquiry. He referred to Cuadrilla’s argument that the inspector should assume the regulator would do its job properly.

Mr Moor said he wanted to present evidence that the Environment Agency could not be trusted to do its job properly over the regulation of bathing water on the Fylde coast.

80 samples should be taken and tested to establish water quality, he said. At Fleetwood, there would be a bad failure if the  80 sample had been tested.

It had, in fact, been classified as excellent because it had discounted three full years of samples and in another year it discounted two sample results.

So Fleetwood’s water quality is based not on 80 samples but on 18 samples from the best year.

Fleetwood is not an exception, he said.

“This same disregarding and discounting process has been applied to half of all Fylde’s bathing waters to give a false results.”

The results were changed retrospectively after the data was collected.

“I am convinced that Government persuaded or colluded with the Environment Agency to adjust these results. Neither was prepared to accept so many failing bathing waters on the Fylde coast.”

He said the real issue is not the bathing waters.

“The real issue is that we simply cannot trust the Environment Agency to do a proper job of regulation when the Government has already indicated the outcome it wants to achieve.”

Mr Moor added Greg Clark’s statements on the National Planning Policy Framework and shale gas were incompatible.

To applause from the audience, Mr Moor added:

“Given the prejudicial support that he and others have expressed for shale gas development in yet another Ministerial Statement recently, I have no confidence in his ability to take this decision impartially.”

“So I hope you might find a way to convey my disquiet about regulation and about impartiality to the Minister.”

Sarah Beddows


Ms Beddows said she wanted to make a statement about noise pollution from the drillhead as it passes through shale rock. She asked:

Have you heard this and have you heard at night?

I have heard this and at night. I have heard it for hours because it couldn’t sleep. You cannot believe how annoying and intrusive this is.

it will have a very negative impact on lives.

Ms Beddow researched on the impact of noise but had not received satisfactory answers. If this was an airport application then flights at night would be banned.

Due to inadequate noise studies I would like to see this application deferred until there is enough research on the impact of noise on drilling below homes.

Ruth Owens


Ms Owen said the inspector was welcome to Blackpool – but would she return if it became known again as Frackpool.

The traditional game of spotting Blackpool Tower would be replaced by spotting the fracking rigs.

If fracking is so safe, why do they not want you look at the holistic view of the industry. What do they not want you to see?, she asked.

Ms Owen said she had spoken to people in Pennsylvania: gagging orders, silenced doctors, noise and light pollution driving people to the depths of despair.

In the UK it will be self-regulated, like the banks, and look where that got us, she said.

Ms Owen quoted Nicholas Soames: “You can’t frack in a built up area. It is a silly thing to do”

If the fracking industry is so safe why does it need manipulate legislation?

Democracy has already spoken. We are the people of Lancashire. We don’t want fracking here, not anywhere.

Rick Johnson


Mr Johnson, from Lancaster, said he had submitted an objection to the county council.

He submitted a paper in which he said he had identified two problems which make fracking unsustainable and cannot be mitigated: climate change impacts and industrialisation of the countryside.

The risk of bad publicity are far too great for large oil and gas companies to get involved in fracking, he said.

“We can’t use the gas that the appellant hopes to find”, he said.

Peer reviewed research showed shale gas had higher methane emissions that coal and oil. The appellant is asking the people of Fylde to put up with a great deal of disruption to produce a fuel that will make it harder to meet methane emissions. It is a bridge to nowhere.

Philip Mitchell


Mr Mitchell, a chair of the local Green Party, said he had campaigned against shale gas for five and a half years, since he heard that Cuadrilla was drilling for gas in Singleton in Lancashire.

He said the British Geological Survey had not highlighted the risk of earthquakes from fracking operations when it gave evidence to parliamentary inquiry on shale gas. But four days after the inquiry report was published, there was an earthquake triggered by fracking at Preese Hall.

Mr Mitchell said Cuadrilla, the Environment Agency and MPs cannot say fracking is safe because they are no authoritative on health. He added:

“These applications are not only in the wrong locations, they are in the wrong century”.

He urged the inspector: “Don’t let these communities be the victims of that”.

Jean King


Ms King, a Fylde resident for 40 years, gave evidence about the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands.

Gas drilling had set off earthquakes and wrecked harms, she said. There were weekly earthquakes. Land collapse and subsidence had followed, she said. There were now thousands of claims for compensation.

Human rights were at risk, she said. Officials should err on the side of caution. They were violating rights by failing to protect citizens, she said.

Madam inspector, she said, could this be our future?

Noreen Griffiths


Ms Griffiths, a Fylde resident, referred to evidence of leaks from abandoned wells. But abandoned wells would not be monitored, she said. She said wells would be “super highways for leaking methane”, contributing to climate change.

There was no way to know if biocides would contaminate soil or if there was a risk of explosions.

She asked if this an industry that should be passed on to future generations.

Please look beyond what you can see, she asked

Mike Hill


Mr Hill said he was chartered electrical engineer and had 20 years experience in  the oil and gas industry.

Mr Hill said was one of 77 people who contributed to the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering shale gas report and is cited in it. He said the report did not say fracking could be done safely or it was safe – as often misreported.

“We said it can only be safer if proper regulation is in place, best practices are used and there is strict reinforcement”.

Mr Hill said his own peer-reviewed paper concluded that just one of the 10 key recommendations in the report had been implemented. Other research showed there was “a very large gap between where Best Available Techniques should be and where they are now”.

“By the Royal Society’s own standards, any fracking or indeed overrule by the Secretary of State would not be acceptable at this point in time due to insufficient regulation and inadequate monitoring”.

Mr Hill said the environmental permits to frack at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road are illegal under the Mining Waste Directive. They are flawed and should be withdrawn, rendering any planning application null and void, he said.

He added that the monitoring and inspection strategy is “totally inadequate” and initial studies by US institutions including MIT and Princeton, have shown there is a significant cause for concern about severe health risks associated with living within a 10 mile radius of a fracking well.

He said risks had not be assessed and mitigated with fracking. He listed failings, including lack of industry-specific regulation, no independent verification and the EA and the HSE being found wanting on fracking regulation.

“I cannot accept, as a professional engineer, that an extra 2% of gas out of the Fylde is worth 1 single additional birth defect or one extra admission to Preston hospital, he said.

To applause and a standing ovation, he said:

“Fracking, at this time, cannot possibly be allowed to go ahead. It would be against good engineering principles, human decency and common sense.”

The inspector asked people to reduce the length of the applause. If people disagreed with this they would be asked to leave.

Maureen Mills


Mrs Mills runs a company and said she was encouraged to join the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs Mills challenged the evidence of Babs Murphy, the Chamber’s chief executive. Ms Murphy supported the appeals on behalf of what she said was the “vast majority” of members.

Mrs Mills said the chamber did not have the mandate to support the appeals. The chamber said it had not carried out a survey of members of shale gas. “I was speechless” by this, Mrs Mills said.

Mrs Mills said she had asked who was on the Chamber’s policy-making committee but it had not yet been provided.  She had been told she could contribute to the discussion by attending the AGM. She told the inquiry she had done this and fracking was not on the agenda, which had been provided only on the day.

She said she protested in the strongest terms that the Chamber had claimed to represent all its members on fracking. It is none profit making but it is in a powerful position to help profit-making companies

The power  has been abused, she said.

Maggie Smith


Ms Smith, from East Lancashire, said risk from fracking included mental as well as physical health.

“There is a persistent anxiety from the disintegration of the landscape”, she said.

The evidence of December’s floods shows that “runaway climate change” is happening now. We don’t have time for transition fuels.

This is causing fury and despair, she said.

Linda Nulty


Ms Nulty said there was strong resistant to fracking in her local community of Medlar with Westham, where she had been a parish councillor.

She said she became concerned when she felt the earthquake. She did her own research, visited sites and attended meetings. She said:

Nothing I have seen or heard has convinced me that we should be pursing shale gas for our energy needs.

The sites would be “horribly visually intrusive, always visible in the flat open countryside”.

“This is not the remove north. This is a quiet farming and tourism area which is quite densely populated.”

The equipment is heavy and it has to be transported on unsuitable roads, she said.

She has not received a satisfactory answer about the treatment of flowback fluid. Water treatment facilities need to be improved and licensed, she said.

Ms Nulty said she lives 1.5 miles from both sites on the A583. Vehicles will use the road outside her house, she said. Traffic already comes to a standstill for two hours on each evening.

The whole route for both sites is fraught with difficulties in an area that already has huge traffic problems.

She said she was concerned about air and water quality. Three of the four sites drilled in the area had problems so far – not a good record, she said.

She predicted that the 20mX20m monitoring sites were future exploration sites.

“This temporary permission will inevitably become massive exploitation”

Laurence Rankin


A former Environment Agency officer, Mr Rankin said he had reviewed the regulatory framework for the agency. He said he challenged the claim that regulations were gold standard.

Mr Rankin said effective regulation required permitting, monitoring and enforcement. If one was missing it would not be effective.

Despite breaches of planning consent, failure to apply for permits and a lack of well integrity, there had been no enforcement actions against the gas industry.

Mr Rankin said the precautionary principle required the proponent should bear the burden of proof. This has not happened and Cuadrilla understates the risks, he said.

Cuadrilla argued that uncertainty applied but lack of data did  mean lack of risk, he said.

Self regulation and  multiple regulators had resulted in “an  ill-fitting jigsaw of regulation”.

The Environment Agency had EA admits there is no Best Available Technique document relevant to fracking activities.

He said the EA and the planning authority had a duty to protect groundwater. But the EA had not issued groundwater permits in the area because it had misunderstood its responsibilities.

Industry experts estimated 34% of North Sea wells had integrity issues, he said.

Mr Rankin said climate change is biggest environment and economic threat to the world. Shale gas will add another fossil fuel to the carbon budget without removing any other supplies. It will accelerate climate change, he said.

John Hodson


Cllr Hodson, a cabinet member for planning on West Lancs Borough Council, referred to the National Planning Policy Framework.

He said this has produced a fertile ground for legal challenge. The government had introduced ministerial statements when it realised that the NPPF did not support its “pet projects”.

Cllr Hodson said the purpose of planning was to support sustainable development – ensuring we do not create worse lives for future generations.

He quoted Greg Clark’s introduction from the NPPF: “We are allowing communities back into planning”.

The social dimension of the fracking applications had not been adequately assessed, he said. The Director of Public Health for Lancashire had raised the psychological risks. This should have been given equal weight to other issues but the planning reports had been silent on this

Cllr Hodson Lancashire people would not be misled by what he called sham public consultation by dubious bodies. He said people opposed to fracking had been described as swampies, domestic terrorist or receptors.

He urged the inspector to convey the collective view:

“We will not be guinea pigs for this industry,  we will not be traduced by disinformation, free pencils and carrier bags, or dodgy PR excercises. We will not be browbeaten by central government. We are Lancashire. [applause].

Jane Smith


Ms Smith, who lives in East Yorkshire, said fracking would not generate jobs or help the local economy.

She said there were concerns about whether regulate could protect people from fracking in built up areas.

There is no reason at all why investment should not be made in renewable energy.

We have strong winds, we have a coastline and we have sunshine. Renewable energy is clean and efficient and does not the environmental and health and safety risks as fracking.

There is also an imperative to hold temperatures to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, she said. To combat climate change 80% of fossil fuels needed to say below ground.

We are mere custodians of the earth. No sane human being would want their children to inherit land poisoned by industrial processes.

Stephen Holgate


Cllr Holgate is a member of Lancashire County Council and was a member of the development control committee in the early stages of Cuadrilla’s applications. He was moved off the committee in April.

He welcomed the public inquiry because it offered a greater scrutiny of fracking at the two locations.

Unlike a formal development control committee meeting, it allowed issues to be considered that were not material considerations.

Cllr Holgate raised concerns about post-well abandonment and cumulative effects.

He was concerned about the failure of abandoned wells. Any rigid structure will fracture under earth stresses, leading to a loss of well integrity, he said. The industry would say there would be nothing in the well that would cause problems, he said. But if that is true why would they go to the trouble to insure well integrity.

Cllr Holgate said one study showed 100% of well plugs failed within 100 years.

He said development control had limitations in considering applications for fracking. Two wells will not stand up commercially. There were more likely to be 100s of wells.

Committees can only look at what is in front of them. But Lancashire is a strategic authority and it needs to be looking at things strategically and it should not be looking at things one at a time.

Helen Dryden


Ms Dryden said it was misleading to say the applications would be for six years. Stages of teh developments could be delayed. And the time frame of the sites could be extended if they went into production.

She said governments could not be mistrusted to say no to industry pressure to carry out operations such as re-fracking. There could be decades of impacts from the shale pads.

She said the failure to look to the future was a cause for major objections. The UK should be moving to a low carbon energy, she said. There could be dire consequences for the UK, she said. Establishing a shale gas energy would increase the UK’s contribution to climate change.

Do no commit the communities of decades of fracking hell. Say no to an industry that has the potential to wreck havoc throughout the county and the UK.

Graham Lloyd


Mr Lloyd said he opposed fracking for a hundred and one reasons but he wanted to concentrate one reason –  water contamination. He said the Sherwood aquifer would be drilled through by Cuadrilla’s plans.He asked the company:

  1. Can Cuadrilla give an assurance that the Sherwood aquifer would not bre breached.
  2. If there was a breach can they guarantee there will be no contamination of the
  3. If there was contamination will it be completely cleaned up, especially radioactive material?

He said the Sherwood aquifer might become very useful in future periods of drought. He said local water supplies should be put above national energy demand.

Mr Lloyd said drinking water sources could be polluted by spills, leading to problems downstream of a site.

Gayzer Frackman


Mr Frackman said he had lived in Lytham and St Anne’s for nearly 30 years.

April Fool’s Day this year will be the 5th anniversary of the Preese Hall earthquake that “rocked” Blackpool, he said.

“By now we should have an outright ban knowing how toxic this industry is to air, water and our environment”, he said.

Mr Frackman quoted the Medact Report as saying “One can state categorically that fracking poses threats to human health”. He had handed a copy of the report to 10 Downing Street on 7th December 2015 with a letter putting David Cameron on notice that “now he knows the dangers he has a duty of care not to go ahead with his plans to make my home town the “shale capital of Europe”.

Mr Frackman also referred to plans to use former salt mines in Preesall to store gas. He said there should not be fracking near these caverns.

He added that 180 charges of depleted uranium were used to make holes in the drill casing to allow fracking fluid into the fissures to cause the fracks.

He said the Infrastructure Act allowed companies to store anything in a well, including radioactive waste. People deserve to know the dangers they are living with, he said.

Mr Frackman paid tribute to Pat Davies,chair of the Preston New Road Action Group. She could have sold up and gone to live in Ireland, he said. Her daughter is getting married and she should be getting excited and helping her with her wedding.

But she has sat in the inquiry everyday, he said.

“Because of people like Pat Davies and others Cameron will not frack Blackpool or Lancashire”

Mr Frackman also asked the inspector: “Why are the regulators not being questioned at this inquiry?”

Gail Hodson


Cllr Hodson, a member of West Lancashire Borough Council, said she had written to Amber Rudd on four occasions and had no reply. Response from DECC were not satisfactory, she said.

One of her letters covered the protection for National Parks, where fracking is banned.

Communities are not getting the same protection as National Parks. How is that right, she said.

Cllr Hodson questioned  the quality of the UK’s gold standard regulation. She said abandoned wells were not monitored. She criticised a DECC response that said the exploitation of  shale gas could not be missed.

“I have not received any satisfactory response to my legitimate questions and concerns so far”.

Gina Dowding


Cllr Downing, a Green Party councillor for Lancashire, listed five reasons for objecting to the proposals.

Opposition: She said fracking was the biggest issue she was contacted about as a councillor.

Two months ago, large areas were affected by flooding. Fracking meant more fossil fuels took us in the wrong direction for meeting climate targets. Burning fossil fuels would make flooding more likely. Flooding of fracking sites adds a burden of worry to residents.

Fracking would diminish the rural areas of Lancashire. There will be hundreds or thousands of fracking sites, not just the two we are discussing here, she said.

Health: The greatest impact on health is the environmental and social context in which people live their lives. Fracking will have an impact on lives, she said.

Local democracy: the decisions were made by fellow councillors after considering a huge amount of information, she said. All the parties involved invested huge time and resources in the decision. It is vital that those decisions are respectred.

Dave Kitts


Engineer, Dave Kitts listed questions he had submitted to Cuadrilla about use of chemicals and disposal of waste.

  • Is it true that Cuadrilla will be importing radioactive elements and injecting them and what will they be?
  • How will Cuadrilla control or prevent the migration of gases throughout rock formations, who will monitor it and how will they do it?
  • What is the emergency response to accidents involving trucks carrying waste on local roads?
  • How will Cuadrilla provide the required level of self-monitoring, supervision and regulation.

Mr Kitts said he expected things would go wrong.

He said there had been health problems in other countries. The industry had responded: Prove we are to blame or shut up. Could this happen here, he asked. Yes, he replied.

We are meant to trust and believe Cuadrilla and regulators will do their job properly.

All of this seems to be too big an ask.

Dave Penney


Mr Penny, of Frack Free Lancashire, listed his opposition to fracking:

  1. Fracking in the UK is ignoring the European Commission regulations recommending environmental impact assessments.
  2. He said the Environment Agency does not appear to know the extent of the  chemicals used in the process. He cited hydrochloric acid as an example.
  3. The EA would allow oil and gas companies to use hydrochloric acid at 15% concentrations in acid wash
  4. The government will allow venting and flare-offs of climate changing greenhouse gases, including methane
  5. Under the Infrastructure Act companies would be allowed to pump back material into the already fractured wells. This has led to an increase in earthquakes in the US.
  6. There is no legal obligation on companies to maintain the integrity of closed wells. They can degrade very quickly.
  7. The government has campaigned against robust regulation of fracking and is not prepared to follow the EC recommendations on environmental impact assessments.
  8. Fracking should not take place in flood areas but the 14th round offered licences included areas prone to flooding
  9. Fracking risked increasing seismic activity
  10. Insurance premiums will rise with fracking
  11. Seismic testing will not need planning permission
  12. Companies will not need to take out insurance to clean up pollution
  13. There are threats to human health
  14. The DEFRA report revealed risks to health and economics
  15. Fracking is against our climate commitments made in Paris
  16. Shale gas will not be profitable or produce cheap energy
  17. There are questions about whether fracking will create job

Christine Shields


Ms Shields, from north Lancashire, said she was concerned about the local geology and the risk of earth tremors. She was also worried about the content of flowback and the risk of groundwater contamination. How will be insured that any responsibilities will be passed on to the exploration company?, she asked.

She was concerned that the first well to be fracked in Lancashire had not been a success, she said.

I understand we need to think about energy sources. There are alternatives to fracking if the government put resources into renewables and encouraged people to reduce their use of energy.

I want to continue vegetables and milk from Lancashire, she said.

Ms Shield quoted from a statement by Andrea Leadsom which said licences were not a right to drill. “A whole planning process has to be gone through, Mrs Leadsom said.

Ms Shield said “We’ve done this in Lancashire. My understanding is that any time in the future this [the Preese Hall well] could cause pollution

Nick Caunt


Mr Caunt said he was from Freckleton. He described shale gas as a “poisoned chalice”.

He was concerned about air pollution from all parts of the process at the proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. Pollution from flaring would affect his family.

He said the highest pollution spots in Fylde were all on the Roseacre Wood traffic route. It was not acceptable to add to this pollution, he said.

It is not acceptable to local unconventional gas rigs without public consent near homes and farms.

He said he was concerned about unburned methane. Wells leak, he said.

The Bowland Fells were a pristine example of upland moorland, he said. The southern Pennines had been damaged by air pollution and were subject to expensive restoration. We cannot increase air pollution, he said.

Peatlands store carbon and are currently under threat. It was imperative that the northern Pennines were not damaged.

Inquiry resumes


Inquiry break


The public statements resume at 2pm

Ros Wills


Ms Wills, a Blackpool nana opposed to fracking, lives 5 miles from Preese Hall. A pharmacist, she said she had researched the chemicals used or produced by fracking.

She said fracking flowback fluid would be detrimental to people and future generations. She produced a list of references and a list of the products used in fracking fluids used at Preese Hall in 2010-2011.

She asked whether there would be regular testing for components of fracking fluid. She raised concerns about the use of biocides, hydrochloric acid and contents of flowback, including heavy metals, radon and naturally-occurring radioactive material.

Ms Wills feared local people were being used as guinea pigs in a toxic experiment.

Mavis Kemp


78-year-old Mavis Kemp asked for the appeals to be dismissed. She was on permanent medication of chest complaints. She lived at Foxwood Chase, 300m from Preston New Road. Five of the seven properties have people with chronic condition

In Australia, there is a 2km difference

I will smell it, hear it and see it. How can you say that is not an impact.

At my age this is likely to be permanent and the effects on the last years of my life will be horrific.

She said she had attended all the meetings on the Preston New Road plans. It has been a very anxious two years.

The flaring of gas will have a very negative effect on my already laboured breathing.

The lorries would generate fumes that we know are carcinogenic, she said.

I feel trapped. I can’t sell my house. I’ve been told the area is a no-go area until this is resolved.

I can’t stay because of my health and I can’t go either.

She said Cuadrilla was wrong to compare the fracking sites with HS2. People would be compensated for HS2 and had a chance to leave their homes, she said. We don’t have a choice, she said.

If this is a matter of national significant and  the government wants to push this through, it should assist local communities.

She urged the inspector to dismiss the appeals and “give me back my life”.

Muriel Lord


Ms Lord has been a geography and geology teacher and for 50 years has lived on her family’s farm on the edge of Cuadrilla’s licence area.

Ms Lord described the geology of the area, including bringing samples for the inspector. The Hodder Bowland shale was faulted and had millions of fissures, breaking layers into brittle slabs, she said.

She said she had attended many meeting and was astonished at how little the geology was discussed.

“We have never been shown rock samples or drilling data.”

“According to DECC and the BGS, all Cuadrilla’s well data is commercially confidential. Because of this secrecy, we’ve had to seek information in other ways”, she said

There had been no drilling data because it was commercially confidential. Other sources had been necessary, she said.

An FOI release, for example, revealed drilling difficult at Grange Road,Singleton, where fallen shale blocked drilling equipment and holes developed in the well bore where shale had slipped. A side-track  had to be drilled.

A published report about the Preese Hall fracking confirmed public fears that earthquakes could result from fracking. That included the sentence:

“It is known that the Bowland is heavily fractured and faulted (which makes it a desirable target for shale gas exploration)”

Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood were both near faults. Laterals were planned in the weakest, upper Bowland shale, she said.

There is no way that the natural environment can be regulated, Ms Lord said. The seismic traffic light system would merely indicate that damaged had occurred, she said.


Sand has a vital role in fracking, Ms Lord said. But it is mentioned only briefly in the applications.

“There’s nothing about quantities, where it will be sourced from, nor how it will be got to the sites. There’s nothing about sand in the extra documents about traffic which Cuadrilla sent to the inquiry recently”

Ms Lords said Cheshire was the main source of top quality silica sand and the nearest source to the Fylde. The Preese Hall well used 463 tonnes in the six small fracks.

She estimated huge quantities would be needed: 2,500-3,500 tonnes for one well delivered by about 100 lorries.

Minerals Planning Guidance warns that silica sand is a finite and valuable resource.

“It is a national asset to be used sparingly and never wasted. It seems extraordinary that permission can be given for it to be pumped a mile or two underground and lost for ever.”

Ms Lord asked whether Cheshire had been consulted about Lancashire’s demands on its countryside.

Emma Bartlet


Ms Bartlet said the negative effect of climate change was happening right here, right now. She said the Lancashire floods had badly affected one of the proposed fracking sites.

To avoid catastrophic climate change, 80% of fossil fuels had to stay in the ground: coal, gas and oil.

Ms Bartlet said the Paris agreement was a historic event. She asked how could we keep the lights on but keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground. She said renewables had grown hugely.

She referred to a Harvard study which found an increase in atmospheric methane in the US, at a time which coincided with the increase in fracked gas.

The inquiry should look  a local impacts. But it must be aware that the eyes of the world are on it. The other countries that signed to the Paris Agreement would be watching.  This will be the first real test case since the treaty was signed, she said.

Let this inquiry do its duty in securing the future of the planet.

John Powney


Mr Powney told the inquiry he was a gas engineer and was familiar with risk assessment.

He said gas contained naturally-occurring toxic compounds and radioactive material. They should not be confused with flowback fluid, he said.

The setback distances in the US had been designed to protect communities but had been shown to be inadequate in places, he said.

“The regulators in the UK had failed to commit to what is a safe distance for communities from fracking sites.”

“Hardly a gold standard, hardly a standard at all.”

Scotland considered a setback of 2,000m and Kevin Hollinrake considers 1,600m. In New York state no set back distance was considered safe. In the Fylde, some people lived several hundred meters away.

He said the operation of fracking and drilling together increased the risks to local people. Things can, and do, go wrong, he said.

Mr Powney said the material produced by the sites would be hazardous. People living a few hundred meters away were at risk.

If we are serious about protecting public health there must be mandatory setbacks based on scientific evidence and they should be non-negotiable.

Public safety could not be guaranteed, he said.

Kristen Durose


Ms Durose works and has lived in Blackpool for all her life. She has two businesses and is a fan of the town’s football club.

She said Cuadrilla said there was no evidence that fracking would suffer. “Of course not”, she said, “because they haven’t done it”.

She said perception is what drives people to visit an area. If you perceive a town is dying and water and air quality is poor or earthquakes will shake the tower it doesn’t matter if it is true.

She said the proposed 22 jobs at the two sites was “put to shame” by tourism initiatives.

The public is being led to believe that without fracking the area will suffer. It isn’t true, she said.

Blackpool doesn’t need to take the risk of fracking. Without it, the town will continue to do what it does best which is to welcome people with a kiss and a laugh, and, if you want one, a kiss me quick hat, she said.

Neil Lewis


Mr Lewis said he had lived between the two sites for the past 40 years. He said he was originally from Ohio. It had “a large and unhealthy dose of fracking.

There is very little social licence for fracking in the Fylde, he said. The more people know, the more people oppose fracking.

In a local survey, 29 businesses had opposed fracking and 11 asked for more information. None supported.

Cuadrilla is not a philanthropic company, he said. Most of it is owned by US and Australian company. This company, listed in the Cayman Islands, will sell us gas at competitive prices, he said.

This is a carefully orchestrated plan, Mr Lewis said, which will lead to thousands of wells and hundreds of pads.

I have seen it in the US. I would love to take you all to see the aftermath of fracking: a boom and then a bus.

70% of the workforce comes from outside the are. House prices are affected. Traffic increases.  In short, total upheaval.

He said 20 years of research could not be ignored. Referring to the Preese Hall earthquake, he said:

““When the Preese Hall frack went terribly wrong my house shook so badly at 3am on the first of April 2011, that I thought the pictures and mirrors were coming off the walls. However, the HSE didn’t hear about it for several months as Cuadrilla neglected to include it in their self-regulated monitoring reports.”

Francesca Sullivan


Ms Sullivan said she was representing Unite members in north west England. She said she also lived at Wharles.

Unite has 1.42m members and the largest union in UK power generation. In 2014 the conference noted the international opposition, the risks and the threat to climate change. The motion also noted that local people and workers in the industry were vulnerable, she said.

Unite support renewable energy and energy conservation. In the north west this could generate 22,000 jobs.

Information from Cuadrilla said all the scare stories were from bad practice overseas. But her concern abouut the company had grown. She said security guards at  Roseacre Wood had no welfare facilities for a few days. The company had misled, she added.

Ms Sullivan said her daughter would go to school at Weeton, a mile from the Preston New Road site. If it goes ahead at the Lancashire sites it will go ahead anywhere, she said.

She asked the appeals to be turned down on behalf of her family, the local community and United members.

Angela Livesey


Ms Livesey said she lives at one of  houses closest to Roseacre Wood. She moved to the house 10 years ago she started a new life with her husband, Roger.  They were both first generation non-farmers, she said.

This amazing diverse community, which cares for people whatever their circumstances, is evident today in the support given during this “enormously stressful” time.

She begins and ends her day in the tranquillity of her garden. She grows her own vegetables and flowers and keeps hens. “This is my right and this is what I chose”, she said.

Everyone has a right to our community. She said the community was coherent, despite what Cuadrilla said.

She described how a note had been put through her door about a meeting in Elswick about the Roseacre Wood that was already taking place. She was a member of Cuadrila’s Community Liaison Group. It felt a waste of time, she said, because it gave evasive answers.

She said there has been intrusion from security guards and television crews. She said she had already paid for professional help to deal with the stress of dealing with the planning appeal.

Mrs Livesey said the roads were not suitable for the vehicles planned for the route to Roseacre Wood. What happens when the inevitable accident happens?, she asked.

The county council had concluded that the site was not suitable. I work within regulations every day. Why should Cuadrilla not do the same, she said.

She said what was planned was industrialisation. How could the lighting and noise not be intrusive. How were regulators going to ensure that the company would adhere to the rules?

She asked what would happen to her garden. She said advise was that her vegetables were no longer edible. She feared her new life would whither and die. I do not want to be last generation of her family to enjoy Roseacre, she said.

Liz Oades


County Councillor Liz Oades is the ward councillor for Roseacre Wood. She asked the inspector to protect her residents.

She said she was speaking for safety, not against fracking. Please look carefully at the siting of the wells and the regulatory regimes.

She said fracking should be carried out remotely on industrial sites. Industrial processes should be carried out on industrial sites, she sai.

Cllr Oades said she was concerned about the ability of te regulators and the companies to regulate the sites.

Residents will be responsible for policing and they will have to hope that the regulators will take action.

She called for a single regulator. She said:

The proposed system will not do.

She also called for the recommendations of Lancashire’s Director of Public Health to be implemented in full.

This area is a beautiful tranquil part of the Lancashire countryside. She said the impacts could not be mitigated.

Fylde is being targeted by developers to build houses. We are rapidly losing areas of tranquillity and dark skies. Roseacre, which is pure countryside, should be protected for its rurality, she said.

She said leisure activities around Roseacre generates jobs. Fylde has onel kof the lowest employment rates in the UK, she said. Fracking would have a detrimental effect on tourism, farming, horticulture and countryside pursuits.

The roads are totally unsuitable. They are perfectly designed for rural pursuits. The infrastructure is not up to standard for this type of operation, she said

“Please think of the people of Lancashire. We are not the desolate north. Please don’t allow our residents to be used as guinea pigs”

Emillia Ansell


Ms Ansell is 16-year-old studying for A levels and living a few hundred meters from Preston New Road.

She said she was concerned about the risk of climate change and carbon emissions. If this wasn’t addressed by switching to clean low carbon energy sources we would be living in a very different world to that which we are used to. She said:

I can’t understand why at this critical time we are thinking about rolling out this dirty form of energy when we have so many alternatives.

I feel that renewable energy is not being given the support it should, she said.

By the time energy is made from shale gas, the alternative technologies will have developed.

Fracking for shale gas is not a safe technology, she said. “It is astonishing that we are sitting here even considering it.”

The risk and impacts are asking far too much of us, she said.

I want to walk my dogs without worrying about a fracking rig. I want to sleep at night in my quiet countryside home without being woken up, she added.

John Taylor


Mr Taylor was responsible for transport for Lancashire Fire and Rescue until retirement. In 1997 he was appointed MBE for services to transport. He said based on his 50 years experience he thought significant risks had not been assessed for the Preston New Road site.

He said the use of HGV in Cuadrilla’s plans had not been defined accurately. In sufficient consideration had been given to the biggest articulated vehicles (OGVs), particularly they would be most likely to be used.

He had particular concerns about OGV2 entering the Preston New Road site. 10,600 vehicles use the road during the day so site traffic will mix with road traffic. Following traffic will need to brake sharply to allow OGV2s to go in and out of the site.

He forecast there would be shunt or collision accidents. East bound traffic would be forced to slow down and follow the OGV2 with the risk of rear-end shunts and overtaking accidents. There was a risk of blocking the east-bound lanes.

He said it was concerning that no parking on the site and off-site. He said the transport plan was not fit for purpose and should be revised. He said a slip road would reduce the risk considerably.

John Sutcliffe


Mr Sutcliffe, a local resident, said he wanted to talk about health and traffic impacts of the Preston New Road site.

He said Cuadrilla’s traffic document was a flawed document because it did not distinguish between the different types of HGVs, which ranged from 7.5-44 tonnes.

Air pollution from vehicles was a particular health concerns, he said. People, especially the elderly and the very young, would choose not to go out.

There had been four accidents outside Foxwood Chase, the nearest street to the Preston New Road site, he said.

Police accident data is only available is someone is hurt so there is a shortage of evidence.

Mr Sutcliffe said sand transport had been omitted altogether from the traffic assessment. There was not enough data on the chemicals carried and the volumes.

Cautious and inexperienced drivers would face HGVs from the site. The visibility issues discussed at the inquiry did not deal with dusk or  bad weather conditions.

Mr Sutcliffe said he woke up regularly four times a night and he predicted he would find it hard to get back to sleep if the proposals went ahead.

John Tootill


Mr Tootill owns Maple Farm Nursery 800 metres from the Preston New Road site. He has been growing specialist trees and shrubs for 32 years.

The biggest threat to our existence is this “obscene proposal” to drill under our home and business, he said. This is because our environment would become too unpleasant and contaminated to continue, he said.

He said his main customers were families and home-owners who usually visited the nursery of a day out. They would not do this to a location where close to a fracking site, he said.

“As a responsible parent, I would have to relocate my children”, he said.

The area would become one of the most undesirable in the country.

He said his business would close. A lifetime’s work would be “down the drain” and four jobs would be lost, he said.

The unsuitable of the Fylde geology for fracking has been highlighted by geologists and by Cuadrilla themselves, he said.

“He said they didn’t know what they were doing at Preese Hall and they don’t know.”

The noise and landscape issues cannot be mitigated, he said. No amount of regulation will render the fracking process safe. Spills and leakages will occur, he said. Fumes and particulates will be emitted. Any spills from the site would travel downhill to his property. Fracking fluid would migrate along faults.

He said he was also concerned about toxic particles and fumes. A toxic smog would form around the homes of he and his neighbours, as smoke does now.

My home and business would not be replaceable as sale would only release 50% of the value, he said. No one would want to relocate to where I would be trying to escape from.

A rented property and little prospect of employment would be what would be in store for me, he said. There would be diminished opportunities, he added.

“People and environment before profit”

Kate Styles


Ms Styles, who runs a shop a few miles Preston New Road, said a social licence to operate requires participation, credibility and trust in a company.

Trust is hard to earn, quick to lose and very hard to regain once lost, she said.

Manoeuvring of businesses with an interest in shale gas behind the scenes with government reduced trust in the industry. She said breaches of planning conditions had led to concerns in the community.

She questioned whether a social licence could ever be earned and without it how could the industry operate.

Graham Daniels


Mr Daniels lives at Carr Bridge Park, less than a mile from Preston New Road, where most of the residents were elderly.

The noise from the proposed development will disturb a quiet area, he said. It would also add to traffic on the A583.

He said elderly people were concerned about crossing the road to get to the bus services.

The proposals would not be sustainable developments, he said. A healthy community is a good place to grow up and grow old in, he said, quoting government planning guidance.

Preston New Road is not an acceptable site for heavy industrial use, he said.

It will have a very serious impact on the health and well-being for residents.

He suggested Cuadrilla had assumed that community of elderly people would not matter.

“They are wrong. They do matter. That people of Westby with Plumpton and Little Plumpton can be treated as collateral damage is quite frankly unacceptable.”

The local community has made it quite clear this development is unacceptable, he said.

Gillian Wood


Ms Wood said she lives five miles from Preston New Road and was born in Blackpool.

She gave an example of poor onshore oil and gas regulation.

She said on October 7th 2014 there was a complaint about West Newton and an investigation began. It was revealed that the workover rig had been imported by Cuadrilla. It did not carry a signed declaration of conformity and there were concerns about its safety. It was deployed seven times 2010-2014, four times by Cuadrilla. The signing off of equipment is of utmost important.

“That is not gold standard regulation. I would call it is shoddy. “

She said Cuadrilla had been criticised by a government minister for not reporting problems at Preese Hall. “This failure discloses weakness”, the minister concluded, she said.

No penalties have been imposed. They have had failures at every level, she said.

We did not sign up to live in an industrial wasteland.

Lancashire said no to fracking … to try to force it on use is not democratic. All eyes are on us.

Stephen Garsed


Dr Garsed is a retired environmental health officer with a PhD in pollution.

He said scale and proportionality were “very important in decisions affecting the public interest because they affect the balace of cost and risk versus benefit”.

“To achieve the right balance requires an informed public debate based on the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. He said:

“The responsibility for full disclosure of material facts likes with Cuadrilla.”

He compared the first announcements of shale gas on the Fylde – where it was claimed that the gas was equivalent to 50s years of UK demand – with the Institute of Directors data which said it might supply 4.5 years of UK needs.

On flowback, he said Cuadrilla indicated there would be more than 50,000 cubic meters of flowback waste but it has not said where it would be treated and disposed of.

Cuadrilla’s appendix contained more information on the disposal of the small amounts of human waste than on the vast quantities of flowback waste, he said.

Dr Garsed said Cuadrilla can hardly cope with the waste from its trial wells because of a national lack of treatment capacity.

“How then will it cope with the waste from 4,000 wells? The public needs to be told and the supporting evidence disclosed.”

Dr Garsed referred to the visit of Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom to Doe Green. She tweeted she had gone there to “see what a hydraulic fracturing site might look like”.

He said:

“It is of huge concern that a government minister responsible for energy was taken to Doe Green instead of to the fracked site at Preese Hall and is seemingly unaware of the difference between high and low pressure processes”

Dr Garsed referred to the damage from fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall well. 10 recommendations had been proposed following this. All need to be implemented, he said. But he added:

“It is not the regulators’ responsibility to control the risk, but the dutyholder’s.”

He said Cuadrilla had a poor record as a prospective dutyholder.

“Instead of making available to the public material evidence on cost and risk, it has mounted a propaganda campaign of unfounded assertions, careful evasions and clever half-truths”.

“It damaged the only it has fracked; it has failed to demonstrate a coherent policy for the management of large volumes of flowback waste and in bringing this appeal seeks to overturn environmental controls designed to protect local communities”.

Dorothy Kelk


Mrs Kelk  said the Climate Change Act was a relevant material consideration in planning applications, under the National Planning Policy Framework.

It has been argued that shale gas could be used as a bridging fuel to coal, she said. But coal is already being phased out. Without a binding global climate deal, there is no guarantee that shale gas will be used instead of, rather than in addition, to other fossil fuels.

“As things stand today, the world has five times more fossil fuels in reserves than we can safely burn and setting up a whole new fossil fuel industry will only add to the problem.

Gas is a fossil fuel, she said, not as the oil and gas industry would like us to believe, a low carbon source of energy.

The European gas industry has attempted to rebrand itself as a green alternative to coal and nuclear. “This is likely to be disastrous for the renewables as well as having massive implications for greenhouse gas emissions and the fight against climate change.

Mrs Kelk said Thursday 4th March was the first time in recorded history that average temperatures across the northern hemisphere briefly crossed the threshold of 2 degrees celsius above “normal” temperatures.

She said at one time she had not expected to see the impacts of climate change in her life time. Now I know that in fact I already am, she added.

She said predicted costs of climate change to the economy were “eye-watering high”.

Climate change is a serious environmental, security and socio-economic challenge, she said. It requires urgent action, with the engagement needed of local government and communities.

Mrs Kelk added that the participation of local people was increasingly important in an age when the legitimacy of government was being questioned.

James Marsh


Mr Marsh said the appeal sites would not contribute to the local economy. He said Cuadrilla would need thousands of wells to meet the claims of gas production it has made.

100 well pads would give 4,000 wells maximum but this would not produce 7.5% of UK gas needs. It would result in fracking under virtually every field in the Fylde.

The figures do not stack up, he said. It is a futile experiment.  For Cuadrilla that a single site is vital to the national interest cannot be substantiated. It must be judged on its own merits. There is no national strategy for shale gas.There is an imperative to address climate change.

The proposals put the environment and local community at risk, she said, and she asked for the appeals to be refused.

Elizabeth Bullock


Mrs Bullock, an artist, lives near the Preston New Road site.

She asked why methane was not captured from flow tests but flared instead. She said it was an issue of money. The enclosure of a flare is only a partial screen, she said. It does not stop noise or flames.

Flames will be clearly visible during flaring, she said. It will also be noisy, she said. What will be released into the area is only guesswork, she said.

A school downwind had already loss pupils.

People in the Fylde do not deserve to be used in Cuadrilla’s experiment.

Robert Seed


Mr Seed said he had been advised by an estate agent that it would be difficult to sell his property, 750m from Preston New Road.

We believe the fracking operation may raise the water table and increase flooding, he said.

Mr Seed said he and his wife, Shirley, suffer from health problems. He said they both had mobility problems. But the stress and anxiety caused by the fracking plans had been more serious. All the stress has had detrimental effects on their health.

Diane Westgarth


Ms Whitegarth lived on Moss House Lane, one of the nearest houses to Preston New Road. Her neighbours include a cat rescue service, a rare pig breeding business and a horse re-homing centre. She asked what would happen to the animals at these businesses and rescues. The businesses would not survive.

Fighting back tears, she spoke about her elderly neighbours and people who lived near the Preston New Road site.

Ironically there is no gas on Moss House Lane, she said. Our home was valued at £750,000 in 2012. The property’s value in 2014 was reduced to £150,000. Buyers pulled out of the sale of her parents home in Lytham St Annes because of fracking on the Fylde coast.

She said the recent operation to donate an organ to her brother was less stressful than fighting fracking.

She said her son suffered from asthma and she flaring methane at the site was a massive and legitimate concern.

There has been no offer of compensation and no baseline health surveying. Cuadrilla was opposing health monitoring, she said. “Who will take responsible and where is our protection? We cannot afford to move but we cannot stay, she said.

She said she and a friend were offered £15 to attend a demonstration for an hour outside Blackpool Football Club in support of fracking on the first day of the inquiry.

“Cuadrilla do not have and never will have a social licence to frack the Fylde”

Anike Ditchfield


Miss Ditchfield said she was speaking as an economics graduate of Manchester University and person who had grown up in the Fylde.

She said her friend Jo White had been to Pennsylvania to see for herself the impacts of fracking. She described what Mrs White had seen and the difference between Lancashire and Pennsylvania. (See DrillOrDrop report)

My home is less than a quarter of amile from Grange Hill. Properties are closer to the appeal sites.

It would be senseless to proceed with this industry without set back distances. England is far more densely populated than Pennsylvania and the impacts much greater.

Agricultural products would

where does ndustrialisation of the countryside begin. In Pennsylvania I am sure it began with a few test wells and seismic testing. She asked the inspector to refuse the appeals

In a nation where countrysi

Karen Ditchfield


Mrs Ditchfield lived near the Grange Hill site. She said the well had dominated her life. She did not get used to the noise, light or vibration. The tall wire fencing and locked gates are a “constant reminder” of problems at the site. She said Cuadrilla drilled a side track well when it had permission only for a vertical well.

The only good thing about the experience was meeting people who were prepared to oppose fracking.

Cuadrilla changed their tactics. Instead of drilling single wells, they are planning four wells and connecting them to the grids. This was about investor confidence, she suggested.

The company said the sites are only temporary. “What a con”, she said. The landscape would be altered for ever. They would change good agricultural land into industrial sites.

Cuadrilla has a very bad track record on planning conditions, she said. The argument that the effects were temporary and reversible is flawed, she said.

The statement that tourism would revive when people got used to it (Cuadrilla witness) was ridiculous, she said.

If these appeals are granted it will give the go ahead to the industrialisation of swathes of Britain (applause).

The inspector asked where visitors came from to visit the glassblowing and fishing business. Mrs Ditchfield said they came from the UK and abroad.

John Ditchfield


John Ditchfield glassblower and owner of a fishing lakesaid. I am one of the neighbours near the Grange Hill site. He

He said he did not object to “a small rig gas for a nine weeks”. It was like Cape Canaveral or ICI had arrived. They did not complaint because they thought it would be there

You could feel the vibrations of the drill. You could see the lorries going up and down. And it was noisy.

He was asked if his well water could be tested. The company, working for Cuadrilla, refused initially to give him a copy.

Mr Ditchfield asked the company to check the water in his fishing lakes that had thousands of pounds of stock. Cuadrilla made no response, despite several requests.

We had quite a lot of workers from the site to see the glass being made. We asked what would be left on the site. They said it depended whether the gas would be clean or contaminated. They said there would be a refinery. I told them about the water and asked about why the water would not be tested. They said because you will lose all your stock.

They never ask local people about wildlife. They said there was no wildlife. We have badgers and nesting barn owls.

What is bothering me is the major gas storage plan at Preesall, about nine miles away. The villagers won three appeals. This has been overruled. I don’t think earthquakes go together with storage of gas. It frightens me.

David Kenworthy


Mr Kenworthy said he had lived in Lancashire all his life and the Fylde for 60 years. He supported Cuadrilla’s plans.

He said imported energy provides little or no employment and benefits to the local economy. A local shale gas industry would help the economy.

He accused opponents of selectively quoting from overseas experiences and applying them to different geologies in the UK. He said this represented ignorance, rather than balanced judgements.

He said the Roseacre site would generate fewer lorries than the M55 when it was built 40 years.

Will the protesters sit by when there are plans for alternative energy sources. Recent evidence shows they will not. Renewable sources would have a greater impact. Fossil fuels or a nuclear alternative were inevitable in the short-term.

Mr Kenworthy any development would affect someone, wherever it went. Fracking would have less impact than a wind turbine and it would last for a few years, not for decades.

Opponents should look at the North Sea oil and gas industry that had operated safely for 20 years.

Much media attention had been given to the opponents and not to facts of the industry.

Tony Raynor


Mr Raynor supported the plans as a local resident living about six miles from one of the proposed sites.

He said he wanted to highlight the benefits of shale gas to the supply chain. His company supplied a telephone system to Cuadrilla’s office. His view had not been influenced by this “relatively small contract”.

He said he had visited four times. He had seen local firms delivering services to the company’s office. These included carpets, window coverings, security, decoration and design. Such was the prevalence of locals that it was the main conversation among locals.

From where I sit, Cuadrilla have gone beyond their pledge to support local businesses, he said.

Paul Linderman


Mr Linderman provides self-catering accommodation on the Fylde coast.

No other industry than shale gas would create the level of jobs. The 22 jobs created at the sites proposed would spend money locally. The gas provided would ensure the UK would be secure in energy.

Blackpool had some of the most deprived areas in the country. A new industry could help the town and other towns in the county.

The income generated at exploration could be many millions of pounds. Money is being spent now, he said.

He added that 2,000 people became unemployed when the tourist season ended. If the industry came to Lancashire these people would find more chance of getting work.

He rejected the idea that fracking would damage tourism. What will affect tourism is the effects of poverty in Blackpool.

Both sides have genuine concerns, he said. Mike Hill, an independent candidate in the general election, was not elected, he said. People who support shale gas are not putting notices in their window. They are people who are concerned about the economy. They may not be shouting loudly but I ask you to consider their view.

Devon Platt


The first speaker, Devon Platt, grew up locally and has been studying geology at Durham University.

Mr Platt said the UK would be importing 80% of gas by 2020. He said fracking had been around for 50 years. It had been used to exploit geothermal energy. It is not a constant procedure, he said.

Mr Platt said he was searching in vain for graduate level jobs locally. Can we afford to turn down 1,000 well-paid jobs in Lancashire? he asked. He said Aberdeen was a good case study of the benefits of oil and gas.

He criticised publicity against fracking as misconstrued and inaccurate.  . He said fracking could not contaminate groundwater. He said trucks needed for fracking would be no more disturbing than agriculture.

He said the Environment Agency would ensure the industry was properly regulate. The impact on the environment would be minimal

The harsh reality is that renewables are economically available today. Gas is vital inthe transition to an alternative.

Day 17 of the inquiry opens


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

35 replies »

  1. In my opinion, only one of the supporters of shale gas spoke well – as he stuck to what he believes are some of the benefits. Unfortunately the other three lapsed into attacking the opposition and yet again promoting the “silent majority” Completely disregarding the fact there are circa 69 speaking in opposition from the local community and only four in support.

    I also find it interesting that those in support of fracking try and distance themselves from the emerging science from the US. And seem to think it is wrong for those opposed to reference information from the US. Not only have Ineos stated they have employed experts from the US as to quote Tom Crotty, they are the best – as the UK does not have the expertise. And much of the best expertise is derived and based upon the US shale industry. Even if some of our regulations may be different or indeed tighter – we cannot ignore what has occurred in the US and cannot ignore peer reviewed science – no matter whether you support or oppose – facts are facts.

    I fail to see how supporters of fracking can state that fracking can be done safely, x million wells have been drilled safely etc because these factors will no doubt be largely based on the US but then they disregard the negative impacts and peer reviewed science – surely they are being selective!

  2. Well of course there are impact just like wind farm and tidal wave . But can manage these impacts. Of course we can.
    I don’t trust the opinion from opposition just as much they don’t trust mine. And all common from many at this inquiry are their personal view and not consensus facts.

  3. It has been a moving and humbling experience to listen to the public speak in this inquiry. The have conducted themselves with dignity and anyone who has failed not to be moved by this in my opinion has no heart.

  4. Sad that so many people have chosen to ignore the experts, and rely on second hand made up nonsense from groups like Friends of the Earth, Frack Off, Refracktion and the like.
    So the Environment Agency are not up to it? Where is the evidence that they will permit pollution? How many have contacted Cuadrilla with their concerns?
    There are impacts with any new thing, and what we are seeing here is a well orchestrated tide fear, set by cynical groups like FoE.
    They know there are none of the issues that people are concerned about, except the usual planning issues of noise and traffic. The trouble is they are determined to stop shale gas as they think it will increase greenhouse emissions.
    In fact it will reduce them as coal will be burned less and less.
    50% of the UKs electricity was generated from gas this morning, and less that 1% from wind. Power cuts anyone? or would we prefer to have a modern economy, where reliable electricity is a given?

    • 375 thousand people employed in our Mighty North Sea Industry. Production up in 2015 with demand dropping. Denmark produced 42.1% of all it’s electrical needs in 2015. Denmark average wind speeds 4 metres per second. British wind speeds 9 metres a second. UK grid can take 80% renewables. I know how to make sure the lights stay on. Do you?

      • And Denmark’s CO2 output per capita is higher than UKs (Global Carbon Atlas). Which implies that lots of wind, lots of coal and imported hydro produce more CO2 than less wind, lots of gas, small coal, 20% nuclear and a bit of hydro?

      • Lancashire County Council will never allow one turbine higher than 38m (the disputed rig height condition) due to landscape and visual impact – whoops – Dewlay is 126.5 to blade tip!

      • And Denmark in its recent energy review stated that it could not see and end to it using fossil fuels until well past 2040 and it has far far fewer people than us so isn’t a great example anyway.

      • Pepsico Uk installed a 2.5MW turbine at their factory in Skelmersdale in Lancashire.. It was commissioned and up and running 2 months ago.80 metres hub height. Last month it produced over 45%of the factories electric requirements.Over the year it produces 30% of total requirements. 600 people work there. I live off grid.Wind and solar provide most of my electrical needs. I do still use some gas. My daughter picked up the phone and changed her energy supplier to good energy.Offshore wind farms are proving very efficient and cost effective. Dong energy are installing 8MW machines offshore in the UK as we speak and hope to have costs down by 2020 in line with fossil fuels. Domestic solar works well with no major infrastructure and next generation panels will remove the need for subsidies.The UK could easily increase home grown North Sea production by reducing the crippling tax regime of 60 to 80%. (shale being offered at only 30%). Move forward quickly with renewables and maximise one of our biggest industries, North Sea Oil and gas. That ties in climate change, logic,and drives down renewable costs so everyone benefits.

      • JohnPowney – Installed capacity is one thing, actual electricity production is another. Pro shale gas people are constantly accused of ignoring the science. Why don’t you look at the facts. Check Templar Gridwatch now, a nice sunny spring day up here:

        Wind is currently generating 1.17GW to the grid, mainly from offshore. You could add 50% for off grid turbines but none of the turbines around here (Lancaster) are turning so not valid at low wind speeds. Installed UK wind capacity according to Renewables UK is 13.5GW from 6,700 turbines.

        Gas is producing 19GW, coal 9GW and nuclear 6GW.

        I know how to keep the lights on – clearly not wind turbines! Perhaps the wind will pick up tonight? After all the wind is always blowing somewhere!

      • You are correct. It is about production not capacity. Turbines produce about 30% of their ratings.Today production from wind is 3%. In 2015 overall it was 11%. That was from 13.5GW capacity. The new Hornsea 1 project (approved and started) will produce 1.2GW capacity. That will give us another 1% of our total electric requirements. 1 project, 1%, forever. I believe this will be the start of many such viable and sustainable projects in the UK.

      • So 1.17GW from 13.5GW installed capacity wind produces 3% of total demand of 39GW today. This equates to a LF today of 8.7% from 6,700 turbines today. If you want to increase the wind contribution today to get another 1% contribution from wind you will need to have another 4.5GW wind installed capacity (LF is 8.7% today) or just under four new wind farms the size of Hornsea 1 (installed capacity 1.2GW). This is the big problem with wind.

        Installed capacity is meaningless, offshore LFs are between 35 and 40% and onshore 25 – 28% depending on how windy the year has been.

        Just to replace coal today you would need another 9GW at LF 8.4% = 103GW CAPACITY of new wind installed.

        This will never happen as when it is windy most of them will have to be shut down AND be paid to be shut down.

        Until our storage problem is solved (Demark uses Norwegian pumped hydro for storage which results in high electricity costs in Denmark) we will continue to need gas, increasing as coal is turned off. The longer we delay new nuclear the more gas we need. Changing the tax regime in the North Sea may help but it will not have a huge impact on marginal fields while oil prices are low. All the big super fields with huge amounts of associated gas have been developed and depleted. The same for Morecambe Bay and the Southern North Sea Rotliegendes gas fields.

      • Sorry but disagree with your maths but happy to be corrected. You are looking at 1 days figures to do your sums. That is like me waiting for a windy day and doing mine. A full year figures would seem sensible. In 2015 wind power delivered 11% of all the UK electric energy requirements.We got that from 13.5GW capacity. If we add another 1.2GW capacity we get another 10% capacity. If 13.5GW equals 11% then 14.7GW equals over 12%.
        See to see latest developments of N sea from 1 project. 8% of UK gas demand. Also note that they can make money even at today’s prices. North sea gas is under half the price to produce than onshore UK shale.

      • That was my point. Using one day’s figures (today e.g.) demonstrates that wind can only provide so much of the mix. Without coal / gas / nuclear how would we make up the shortfall today? I agree that over the year the LF and average contribution is much higher, I recall that for 80% of the time over a year there is a meaningful contribution. But for the other 20% where does the electricity come from? We need reliable base load (clearly not wind) and demand load (which can easily be wind ibut only if it is windy). No problem with a mix of renewables and something else, but the something else will have to be gas for a long time yet. Nuclear will / may provide our base load.

        I don’t understand how North Sea gas can be half the cost of shale gas in the UK but this may be because it is associated gas they are talking about – whereby oil is the primary product. An offshore development will cost infinitely more than an onshore development. Shale gas wells should be low cost after a few have been drilled. But perhaps we will never know?

    • Johnson,
      Here is the evidence regarding the Environment Agency ( EA ) in which your above post asks “quote” where is the evidence that they will permit pollution ??

      I suggest you ask Trafford ( Manchester ) residents or Councillors who questioned and were left bewildered after a public meeting at the Soccer Dome, Trafford Park with the EA, who could not see any problems with an Incinerator being built in an Air Quality Management Area, Davyhulme. Which for the record already has one of the highest rates of air pollution in the country.

      I’ m certain you will find VER LITTLE confidence or support for the EA in Trafford.

    • Johnson,
      Here is the evidence regarding the Environment Agency ( EA ) in which your above post asks “quote” where is the evidence that they will permit pollution ??

      I suggest you ask Trafford ( Manchester ) residents or Councillors who questioned and were left bewildered after a public meeting at the Soccer Dome, Trafford Park with the EA, who could not see any problems with an Incinerator being built in an Air Quality Management Area, Davyhulme. Which for the record already has one of the highest rates of air pollution in the country.

      I’ m certain you will find VERY LITTLE confidence or support for the EA in Trafford.

  5. I agree with the comments from KT. David Kenworthy and others of the same persuasion fail to understand that we in the North of England will not benefit from cheap gas.All gas produced goes into the national grid and sold on to the highest bidder.Fracking will not create thousands of jobs for locals as fracking companies bring in their own skilled workers.Any extra employment is in lorry driving and catering for workers. Many of the fracking companies are foreign eg Eneos who do not care whether they employ British workers,so how would that help our economy?
    If fracking is allowed to go ahead,agriculture and tourism will be very adversely affected.
    Last year,the Government produced their Defra report which was heavily re-dacted.When it was finally released through the Freedom of Information Act,we could see just what this Government wish to inflict on us.One fact being ” That homes near fracking sites will devalue 7% and some will not sell”
    I have read the letter which was sent last July to George Osborne from Gregg Clark,Amber Rudd and Liz Truss .It went into great detail as to how they want to push fracking ahead showing no concern for people who would be affected by it.I would describe this letter as “appalling” They accept that people who would live near fracking sites will be badly affected.
    I sincerely hope that Democracy will prevail and this application by Cuadrilla will NOT be approved

    • I despair at the comments of pro- frackers, do they just not read the evidence? The experiences of those at West Newton and on the Fylde run parallel. I have tried on many occasion to get Mr Roberts to read the factual, fully referenced and still being updated report into What Went Wrong at West Newton A. I keep trying to tell him, he isn’t affected by this industry so he genuinely does not understand. I waste my breath. The anti-frackers are not the Luddites it’s the blinkered pro-frackers who don’t see past there self-serving rhetoric

      • You are absolutely correct,the pro-frackers will not listen to any factual evidence.I don’t understand how they are prepared to see our beautiful countryside industrialized in order to make a few people rich.
        They seem happy to stick their heads in the sand.I despair

      • Most people who have worked in the industry are pro shale gas (at least the ones I have talked to), generally because they have direct experience and understand the various issues raised by the antis and know that a lot of it just isn’t true for the UK (or even proven in the US). Most people who oppose it have not worked in the industry but are ready to believe anyone and anything that is against shale gas exploitation. However direct experience does count. There are exceptions, ironically the two “famous” ones are both ex Schlumberger I believe. One worked in HR and the other was a wireline engineer. They are entitled to their opinion of course, however using Google (thanks for the tip Ma G) it doesn’t take very long to see that there are questions over the validity of their input. But believe what you want. For my part I have 30 years experience managing drilling and production ops all over the world and know Schlumberger very well – they worked for me many times – they are a very professional and successful company, the best in their original field of wireline logging, and they appear to be pro shale gas. Of course they will make a lot of money out of it should it proceed. But they would stand to lose a lot if things went wrong as prophisised by the merchants of doom. Noise, visual impact (joke) and traffic will be the deciding factors at the appeals – not emotional but irrelevant (in planning terms) pleas by members of the public as we heard yesterday.

        How many on this board have actually drilled, cemented or stimulated a well before? It would be interesting to know.

      • Before the LCC committee meeting last year groups were given the opportunity to give 30 minute presentations. Cuadrilla had an American “driller” on the panel.(not Vaugn). He explained how good everything would be and hoped no one would raise questions. One of the councillors held up a piece of the report by professor Smythe and asked the driller about the fact that the Bowland shale is riddled with faults. The “drillers” answer was “we will just avoid them”. Classic. As you know the DECC report tells us the Bowland shale is heavily faulted.(regardless of what you think of Smythe) So after drilling and injecting into a fault Cuadrilla didn’t think that their expert “driller” needed to mention anything about faults at the planning meeting.Priceless.
        What did you think about Mike Hills presentation?

  6. John Powney. You are aware that Smythe’s work is challenged by most practicing geologists of considerable competence. Smythe put a paper on the journal Solid Earth which was open to comment Westaway, Engelder, Younger, verdon, Riley.Clarke and Birdsall, all highly competent geologists in this aspect of geology commented very critically on it and raised questions on its basic thesis.
    Having published several peer-reviewed papers in academic journals on the history of geology I would have been embarrassed to have that level of criticism.

    I think I will give more credence to those seven geologists and to the other geologists i know who are experts in this field

    Every geological terrain is highly faulted as any geological map shows and any driller would be following the expert advice of the company geologists rather than straying outside his expertise.

    • On the subject of geological issues I presume you are familiar with the findings in the official review of the report on the issues that occurred at Preese Hall.

      Click to access 5055-preese-hall-shale-gas-fracturing-review-and-recomm.pdf

      It would appear that there are serious issues relating to Natural Faults and hydraulic fracturing.Here are a few of the many stated in the report.

      “the fault intersected the well bore and fluid was directly injected into the fault during treatment”

      “there is only a limited understanding of the fault system in the basin. Although some large scale structures have been mapped,earthquakes in the magnitude range of 2 to 3M require only a relatively small rupture area,and so can occur on small faults”

      “There might be other comparable faults at resevoir depths throughout the basin”

      “We (The British Geological Survey) are not convinced by the projected low probability of other earthquakes during future treatments”

      “The analyses failed to identify a causative fault,and detailed knowledge of faulting in the basin is poor. In the present state of knowledge it is entirely possible that there are critically stressed faults elsewhere in the basin”

      “There is no evidence to suggest that the causative fault is unique and knowlege of faulting in the basin is poor,so it is quite possible that there are many such faults throughout the basin”

      I am up to page 5 of 26. I think we can safely say there are serious geological issues.

      Please comment on this report and the presentation by Mike Hill regarding implementation of recommendations.

      • ” Any driller would be following the expert advice of the company geologist” Cuadrilla’s geologist did a superb job of guiding the driller at Preese Hall. “left a bit Eric. Stop. Right a bit Eric. Stop. Yep this is the right place. Oh dear we seem to have drilled right through a fault and activated it. Never mind if we keep quiet for 6 months it may go un noticed. If this wasn’t such a serious matter it would make for great cartoon.

      • This is very important,so I hope that the Lancashire Council are aware of these facts.I live in Ryedale which I am sure has the same geology. A big worry.

  7. Sue – rest assured the Inspector has been given expert information from several witnesses on geology which proves many shortcomings in Cuadrilla’s data and assumptions. One thing I have noticed is the pro frackers have produced very little concrete evidence on anything so far; even their claim of jobs is not substantiated in any way. Also where are they when other people are speaking? Surely they should be interested in what evidence is being presented. The Chamber of Commerce have not been there at any time other than when they are speaking. The pro frackers all disappeared on the 10th not long after they had spoken. Only one remained until the break and then he cleared off too. Perhaps the truth hurts! It shows a total lack of genuine interest in the serious matters at hand. I have been extremely impressed with the depth of knowledge from many credible witnesses with impeccable qualifications to speak. Certainly not scaremongers, nimbys or people easily influenced by others as they try to make out. It is obvious the speakers have done their research properly and not been swayed by an industry with vested interests. I think even the Inspector noted that at the close.

    • Geology is not part of the Inspector’s brief. Traffic, LVIA and noise are.

      It is not unusual for people who do not object to a planning application to remain silent. With wind farms it is very unusual for letters of support to be submitted and at appeals for pro wind Rule 6 parties to appear. But we are told most of the country supports wind energy so why stay so silent? Because that is human nature and they trust the planning system to work.

      Basically the same as here, those against are out in force for various reasons, local people don’t want development nearby, FOE have a zero carbon agenda etc.

      The Inspector will assess the appeals under planning law and make her recommendations. It may be that she recommends the appeals are dismissed although I expect one site may get approval and the other refused based on traffic. But Cuadrilla will no doubt be pleased if one site is approved. At least then a proper assessment of reserves can be undertake. If comments on this website are correct it will not be commercial and the whole thing (in Bowland Shale) will go away. Fracking faults is not commercially attractive to Cuadrilla so a few more minor tremors induced by fracking along faults will make it uncommercial.

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