180,000+ name petition supporting Lancashire fracking decision delivered to government


MP Cat Smith (pictured left) with Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners delivering the petition to Oliver Whitney-Coates, civil servant at the Department of Communities and Local Government (pictured right). Picture: Friends of the Earth

A petition of 186,000+ names was delivered to Downing Street and the Department of Communities and Local Government this afternoon calling on government to respect the refusal of fracking plans in Lancashire.

In June last year the county council rejected Cuadrilla’s application to frack up to four wells each at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood in the Fylde area of Lancashire. After the company appealed, the schemes were examined at a public inquiry. The local government secretary, Greg Clark, will decide the applications, probably this summer.

Lancashire opponents of fracking delivered copies of the petition to Mr Clark and David Cameron in the past hour. They were joined by the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Cat Smith, and the campaign groups, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

Pat Davies, of Preston New Road Action Group, said:

“We are asking Mr Clarke and Mr Cameron to recognise our democratic right to have the decision to reject fracking at this site made by Lancashire County Council upheld.

“As residents, we have followed due planning process and our community has made it clear there is no social licence to proceed here.”

Barbara Martin, of Roseacre Awareness Group, said:

“Roseacre Awareness Group are humbled by the strength of public feeling and would like to thank the many thousands who took the time to sign this petition.

“This is not just about fracking and fossil fuel extraction; it is about local democracy and local communities being empowered.”

In a joint statement, campaigners Hannah Martin, of Greenpeace, and Rose Dickinson, of Friends of the Earth, said:

“We are here today on behalf of more than 150,000 people who have stepped up to defend Lancashire’s democratically-made decision to say ‘no’ to fracking.

“We are asking David Cameron and Greg Clark to stand by their commitment to local democracy, by respecting the decision of Lancashire County Council – a decision supported by local residents, businesses and councillors.

“Fracking poses risks to people and the environment, and politicians in Westminster shouldn’t force this risky technology on any community.”

Cat Smith said:

“Fracking is not the answer to the question of climate change and how we meet that challenge, nor does it have a democratic mandate in Lancashire.

“When I have been asking questions in Parliament in the past few weeks about the risk to jobs in tourism, no one has any answers to that either.

“I’m proud to stand up for my constituents, their jobs and our planet by joining Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth handing in this petition.”

Cuadrilla statement

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, told the Blackpool Gazette

“As with previous petitions organised by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth I very much doubt the majority of the signatories claimed are from people in Lancashire or indeed all based in the UK.

“Our right to appeal is a fundamental part of the same local democratic planning process which, just last week, allowed Friends of the Earth to legally challenge a decision of planning permission granted for fracking by North Yorkshire County Council.

“These processes are available to all and it is not for people or organisations to cherry pick just the parts that deliver the outcomes they like.”

Updated 16/6/16 to include Cuadrilla statement

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11 replies »

  1. I wonder why our local (conservative) MP for Preston North & Wyre Mr Ben Wallace, the main area of fracking development in Lancashire to date, does not appear to be standing up for and representing his constituents in all this? His constituency is right next door to Labour’s Cat Smith’s constituency after all and he should be just as vocal against fracking and his party’s dictat, or does he not care enough about the people and the area he is elected to represent?

    • When I emailed him on the subject, he said he wasn’t either for or against fracking. The fact remains though that he’s voted for it every time it’s come up in Parliament and he is a Tory after all.

  2. So……I wonder how many of these 150k signatures came from Lancs? Is this really about local communities? I don’t think so. I think it is about a very vocal national minority that is upset because it understands that it is going to lose this battle and this war.

    • If you have been following the National polls on the subject you would have noticed a constant rise of those opposing the industry. If you remember 90,000 objections to the Lancs applications from around the country. And today another 185,000. As large areas of the country are in a PEDL it is obvious people from all over will be objecting. Lets not forget the numbers in support of the Lancs and Yorkshire applications. It amazes me that you still reference numbers.
      In 2010 the first shale gas applications were submitted. It is now 2016. No shale gas in 6 years and yet you reference a battle and a war that we are losing. World War 2 started and finished in less time than the Industry has not produced any gas.

      • Like Balcombe,every NIMBY Parasite who need’s Oil/Gas/Heating etc But does not want it extracted near them…your answer Bill in NOT MANY! One day at Balcombe “FRACKING” protests we had more than 2,000 but Balcombe has only 1,800 residents! Every Jobless SWAMPY came for a FREE holiday on grass verges of B2036 in summer of 2013..They RUINED/DIVIDED a lovely Village SADLY!

      • John, If you followed the National election, you will recall that 11.3 million votes were cast in support of a platform that vocally endorsed the exploitation of onshore gas. So, the fact that 90,000 or 180,000 now object to fracking doesn’t really bother me. Why should that vocal minority carry more weight than the 11.3 million that voted the Tories into power?

  3. I always find it bizarre that some people imagine decrying petitioners on grounds of them not living ”locally” is acceptable, and yet say and perhaps know nothing about how far fracking pollution will spread and contaminate water supplies, aquatic life, the air and substratas of land via earthquakes and smashing it to pieces.

    Fracking activity spreads much further than a few miles, where the local people live. It spreads across vast swathes of land which have no respect at all for artificial political or social boundaries, which is why people petitioning against fracking sign to oppose it.

    • As Fracking has only taken place ONCE at Preese Hall UK how far do you know far ANY pollution would spread? Pure scaremomgering bullshit!

      • I object to the word scaremongering it is far to mild a word to associate with this insidious polluting industry which has left pollution devastation and misery throughout the world along with UCG and Coal Bed Methane extraction. Never compare these cowboys with their ponzi schemes with the original pioneers of the oil and g as industry

      • Actually, Malcolm, fracking has taken place in around 200 wells in the UK. Including at Wytch Farm. But we don’t need that experience to understand the impact of gas drilling. In the US where 2mn wells have been fracked, the country is enjoying a renaissance in clean air while also benefiting from a resurgence in manufacturing due to lower fuel prices. Fracking has been shown to be safe when practiced correctly. Anti-fracking candidates have consistently lost in the US.

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