Breaking: Lancs community group vows to fight Cuadrilla Lancashire fracking decision + more reaction


In the past few minutes, a group fighting Cuadrilla’s scheme to frack at a site in Lancashire has vowed to fight on, despite a go-ahead from the government this morning. (See DrillOrDrop report)

In a statement, the Preston New Road Action Group said

“This is not the end. We will challenge this.”

This morning, the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, approved an appeal by Cuadrilla to drill, frack and test up to four wells at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, near Blackpool.

He said he was minded to allow the appeal at another site, Roseacre Wood. But he said he would reopen a public inquiry to hear more evidence on traffic issues.

Both applications had been refused planning permission by Lancashire County Council in June last year.

Pat Davies, chair of Preston New Road Action Group described today’s decision as wholly undemocratic. She said in a statement:

“There is no social license to proceed with fracking in Lancashire.

“It is deplorable that an industry which has been rejected on every level seems to believe it is acceptable to inflict itself on an unwilling county.

“That is neither right, nor fair and not least, it is wholly undemocratic.

“The ramifications of overturning local planning decisions are huge and stretch way beyond the fracking argument. Ordinary people are appalled that we are governed by people who say one thing and do another. The callous disregard for local planning raises questions about whether local planning has any real purpose now. This government has changed and introduced laws to facilitate the shale gas industry at every opportunity and yet it still hasn’t gained acceptance from communities.

“Dismantling the democratic process to facilitate a dirty fossil fuel industry when only months ago the UK committed to climate change targets in Paris is another example of saying governmental hypocrisy.

“We repose trust in our government to do the right thing and listen to the people it governs: that is democracy in action. This is a sad day as it is clear to all that this government neither listens nor can it be trusted to do the right thing for local communities.

“Profit clearly comes before people. The precautionary principle enshrined in planning has not been applied here.

“This decision will be scrutinised by many, not just the people of Lancashire and this travesty of justice will not be accepted.

“This is not the end. We will challenge this.”

Other reaction

DrillOrDrop is collating other reaction to the announcements and will update as new comments come in.

Lancashire opponents

Barbara Richardson, Roseacre Awareness Group

“If fracking goes ahead in Roseacre, it would devastate our community. We are allowed to make deci

“We are not scaremongers, just concerned residents.  These are totally inappropriate greenfield sites, situated in the very heart of rural Fylde, for an industry of this nature.

“So much for our government saying they want local people to have control over their own destiny. Even our own MP urged his own ministers to respect local decision makers.

“We will continue to work with our friends at Preston New Road, and other threatened communities, to stop fracking from happening. It has been a David and Goliath battle. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources of Cuadrilla and the oil and gas industry.

“Fracking is not the solution. It is a backward step in energy policy. Ours is a small and densely populated country, unlike the wide open spaces of the US, which cannot support such an industry without devastating results. Be assured this is about money not people.”

Bob Dennett, Frack Free Lancashire

[The next step] is probably going to be direct action. That’s the only option we are left with because we have exhausted everything else.

[What will you do?] I will quote David Cameron, I will do whatever it takes to stop this industry. I will personally do my best to ensure that is peaceful and legal. (Source: BBC Breakfast News, pre announcement)

Pam Foster, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking:

“Today’s decision doesn’t surprise us. We are dealing with a Luddite Government that is fixed on drilling for fossil fuels when it should be creating thousands of new jobs by investing in clean green energy. By riding roughshod over Lancashire County Council’s decision, Sajid Javid has shown that he cares little for democracy or for the health and welfare of Lancashire’s residents, not to mention climate change. The strength of opposition to fracking is immense and is growing daily. We will carry on fighting and we won’t stop until we have stopped this dirty, polluting industry.

“It’s obvious that Sajid Javid has little regard for democracy, climate change and the mounting evidence that proves fracking is detrimental to public health as well as the environment. The anti-fracking movement will come together to ensure that fracking never happens anywhere.”

John Hobson, Defend Lytham

“We are extremely disappointed by the government’s pick and mix approach to democracy which seems to involve moving the decision further and further away from local decision makers until the desired outcome is achieved.

“For the local residents at Roseacre and Preston New Road this must come as a bitter blow. For other residents in the Fylde, the knowledge that the fracking industry is poised to start its invasion of our area will be a wake up call to those who have so far allowed the potential impacts of this invasive industry to pass them by.

“However, getting planning permission is only the first step on a long journey for Cuadrilla. Attempting to frack in an area where they have demonstrated that they have no social licence to operate is likely to prove extremely problematic for them, especially now that locally made decisions have been overturned.”

Lancashire Nanas group

“This ruling is called ‘landmark’ and for us it certainly is: it is a landmark moment that reveals the willingness of our government to gamble with our childrens’ futures – it marks the point where our local Councillors have been rendered impotent – it marks the point where ‘local democracy’ was shown to be a myth and it marks the day when our hopes that we had of a voice and choices in our own lives, were extinguished. The Prime Minister said she wanted a society fairer for all …where’s the fairness for Lancashire Theresa? You’ve made clear we truly aren’t ‘all in this together’.

“The Nanas will not be standing aside and letting Cuadrilla pass into the paths of our families. We have exhausted every option available to us in this democracy …our obligation remains to ensure the health and wellbeing of our children. How this plays out? We are still working out but we do know, it no longer involves bright yellow tabards, tea, cake and smiles… as Nanas put it as we dressed in black “The oven gloves are off”.

“On Saturday at 10am we will gather with other groups at Maple Farm (on Preston New Road next door to World of Water) – just a field away from the site earmarked for fracking.”

Yorkshire opponents

Ian Conlan, Frack Free Ryedale

“Why is it that local communities are allowed a veto over wind farms in their area, but when they reject fracking the Government can call in and reverse their decision? The hypocrisy and contempt shown by this decision is simply breathtaking.”

Steve Mason, from Great Habton

“This decision shows that there is a crisis within local democracy when it comes to planning. In Ryedale, for example, fracking at Kirby Misperton was strongly opposed by the local District Council, all five Town Councils and all the Parish Councils near the well-site. However, the North Yorkshire County Council planning committee summarily approved the application without even bothering to discuss the local councils’ objections – and not one person on this committee lived in or near Ryedale. How can local people have any faith in a planning system that rides roughshod over local opinion in this way?”

Frack Free East Yorkshire

“The people of East Yorkshire stand in solidarity with Lancashire today, following the central government decision to overrule their wishes, and force fracking on the residents and businesses of Preston New Road in the face of massive opposition.

“Most of the East Yorkshire Wolds has recently been licensed for gas field development, and threatened communities both here and in Lancashire have been researching the wide range of impacts – including climate change, serious human and animal health impacts, earthquakes, traffic, and noise, water and air pollution – and overwhelmingly rejected fracking.

“There were an incredible 31,000 objections to these applications (only 422 in support) so for a government, that claims to support local decision making, to trample the community’s wishes in this way, is a travesty of democracy.

“But the people there are not about to allow such a dangerous and unpopular industry to go ahead.  The fight goes on, and they have our full support.  We say no fracking in Lancashire, no fracking in East Yorkshire – no fracking anywhere.”

Environmental groups

Helen Rimmer, north-west campaigner, Friends of the Earth

“This is bad news for Lancashire – the community have been fighting fracking for more than five years. This fight continues until this unproven and unpopular industry disappear for good.

“Instead of shoving us down a dangerous path that inevitably leads to climate change, the government should invest in renewables and energy efficiency, an emerging industry that could create 24,000 jobs in the north west alone.”

Hannah Martin, energy campaigner, Greenpeace UK

“This fudged decision shows the government is struggling to force fracking on a reluctant nation. Fracking will put our countryside and air quality at risk. Digging up more fossil fuels that we can’t burn if we are to honour the international agreement we signed in Paris and is coming into force next month makes little economic or environmental sense.”

National politics

Barry Gardiner, shadow Energy Secretary

“I think it is a very sad for British democracy.

“It has gone against the elected members of Lancashire County Council who were very clear in saying this was not something that local people wanted.

It is also locking us into a dirty fossil fuel technology which really is the energy source of the past when instead we should be developing low carbon technology like wind and solar that really have a future”. (Source: BBC News)

Lancashire County Council

Cllr Marcus Johnson, executive member for environment

“We have made it absolutely clear that there must be one regulator to regulate the shale gs industry. The government really does need to step up to the plate and make an effort to reassure people that this industry is safe because at the moment I don’t believe that anyone thinks that it is.

[Are you making any progress on a single regulator?] “No unfortunately no. The government has not responded at all. It seems hell bent on going down the shale rute.

“My message to the government is must regulate this industry properly. You must make sure this industry, if you are determined to go down this route, is one that people can trust. At the moment we just don’t feel that is the case.” (Source: BBC News)

Official council statement from Cllr Johnson

“This was one of the biggest planning applications ever put before any council – literally tens of thousands of people responded to the consultation processes, and the applications involved substantial levels of technical detail.

“Our development control committee carefully considered many hours of evidence both for and against the proposal, and the committee members ultimately cast their vote based on the evidence they heard and whether they thought the proposal was acceptable in planning terms.

“A local council, made up of councillors democratically elected by local people, and charged with serving their interests, is exactly the right body to make decisions on local matters. It is clear that the government supports the development of a shale gas industry, but I would ask them to do more to address the concerns of local communities and the councillors who represent them by supporting the best environmental controls.

“The Secretary of State’s decision to allow more time to consider issues related to highway safety around the Roseacre site reflects the committee’s concerns on this issue. We will now await information from the applicant on the details required to fulfil the planning conditions set out for the Preston New Road site.”


Breaking news of the announcement

Key points in the government decision

Industry reaction

Communities Secretary’s ruling

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

55 replies »

  1. A sad day for democracy. If it had been a wind turbine the decision of the council would have been upheld and by the “delay” on the Roseacre site it seems like this should have been an outright refusal but the government is trying to find ways round the decision. This government is a disgrace.

    • Teresa May has just lost many of her party’s supporters. She forgets that the countryside is populated by mainly conservative supporters. It will be very interesting to see how this riding roughshod over democracy translates into voting in the next general election, particularly as most of the other parties have come out against shale gas as it cannot meet our climate change targets.

      How interesting that the media has not picked up on the companies themselves, funded mainly from China; registered offshore, so no tax revenue expected.

      The Hinkley point decision was the pointer to this going ahead. It’s not about ‘ordinary working class people’ – the term itself is derogatory as if most folk in this country are of a lower class; at what exactly is ordinary?- it’s about selling off our country to the highest bidder piece by piece, just like Thatcher.

      But there is a misconception by the Cons. The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is the people. The North is not desolate. It produces a phenomenal amount of revenue for the country, now these ‘home grown’ tax paying industries are under threat from the destructive shale gas industry.

      The people of the North will continue with the fight until the war is won.

      • Have to say Teresa May had not many supporters as she was not voted in. Cameron managed to win the election but the process he engaged in is still being adjudged due to showing signs of wrongdoing and violations of election rules on spending allowed, still under investigation and enforcement. It was always amazing Cameron got a tiny majority vote and the international electoral commissioners watching that vote listed major concerns with our electoral system, saying it breached major standards…a bit like those faux gold standards for regulating fracking..showing our government doesn’t know what a gold standard is.

        The Tories were bleeding grass root support during the coalition government so it was weird they caught up to bring Cameron a victory at the last election.

    • I really can’t see what is undemocratic about the decision process. There is a system decided by various democratically elected governments that when a planning decision involves the national interest it can be taken back into central government (democratically elected). I can’t see it’s any different from how the decision about the new London airport will be arrived at, if that was left to local councils of course there would be complete opposition. So in my opinion, it’s still democracy but at a national rather than a local level.

      • ‘I really can’t see what is undemocratic about the decision process’

        This might help with your dilemma Mark:

        ‘ “I think it is a very sad for British democracy.

        “It has gone against the elected members of Lancashire County Council who were very clear in saying this was not something that local people wanted.

        It is also locking us into a dirty fossil fuel technology which really is the energy source of the past when instead we should be developing low carbon technology like wind and solar that really have a future”. (Source: BBC News)
        Barry Gardiner, shadow Energy Secretary’

      • Fascinating! Did you vote for Teresa May? No one did, this government has not been elected, democratically or otherwise. Democracy should work at all levels, not just at national level. That contravenes the very idea of democracy, it should work from the people up, not the government down. Government down rule is called an oligarchy, that is not democracy.

      • Only that Cameron & Osborne said ‘we’re not a dictatorship, final approval will rest with local planners’

      • If the ”system” you alone are defining, decides a national interest overrules local objection then why is the council being asked to deliver an inquiry, as well as spend valuable time and resources on evaluating validity of the planning application, and why then is it being sued for rejecting it on legitimate grounds?

        That isn’t democracy, that is third world politics where the dictator milks all finance from anywhere it can get its grubby hands on it.

    • What a tremendous day for democracy! National democracy has triumphed over local NIMBYism. The electorate has spoken and fracking will go forward as it is the will of the people. Onshore gas production is of nationally significant importance. Thanks to this decision the UK will benefit from cleaner air, more jobs, more wealth, a more secure energy strategy, less expensive power, fewer deaths from fuel poverty, and less dependence on expensive foreign sources for gas. What a victory for the 11.3 million voters who put the Conservatives into power! Hurrah for democracy!

      • For the second time peeny, go and spout your misguided triumphalism to the the residents, I would even take you there myself, we can talk about all those things we have in common, that should while away about 20 seconds. What sort of music do you like? Frackhouse? Frack and Role? Toxic Grunge? Frolk? Dead Country? No?

        • “In the NIMBY perspective, citizens are portrayed as overly emotional, uninformed and unscientific in their opposition, motivated by narrow, selfish interests, and obstructive of policies that would provide for the collective good (McAvoy, 1998). Proponents of this view see policy-making as ‘corrupted by self-interested or irrational citizens who abuse the democratic process and lead policy-makers away from optimal solutions to social problems’ (McAvoy, 1998: 274)”

          • Well that went down like a brick balloon. No words of your own still? Do try to choose someone relevant or at least on a better floppy drive. What will it be next Kant? Lao Tzu? Nitche? Lenin? Lennon even? Sophoclese? John Cleese? Ghandi perhaps?….Jung, Freud? No? Tolstoy? Plato? Aristophanes? Thatcher maybe.

            • Rich, Sherwulfe. I don’t expect you to understand the irony there, but some others might.

              No, I rely on fact. You rely on fiction. I rely on science, you on science fiction. I rely on objective analysis, you rely on slanted hyperbole.

              It’s cool. As long as we know how the game is played!

              • jayus

                ’emotional, uninformed and unscientific in their opposition, motivated by narrow, selfish interests, and obstructive of policies that would provide for the collective good’ describes all your posts schadenfreude. Have never read a single instance of ‘objective analysis’ let alone ‘fact’.

                But I forgive you mångata

              • I’m giving you the opportunity to tell the residents personally what you have been saying on these posts. What’s the matter? Frit?

                • Tut tut, i’ll take that as a Frit, something about cows and herds there i suppose. Anyone else from the PF’s here willing to come and talk to the residents?

                • Phil, I think it was you who was praising Ingraffea’s work on fugitive methane emissions. Well, here is Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate, former Sec. of Energy, and huge fan of renewables, speaking on that very subject. Enjoy!

                • Steven Chu comes out to decry fracking and use of fossil fuels:

                  Chu is a vocal advocate for more research into renewable energy and nuclear power, arguing that a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combating climate change.[18][19][20] For example, he has conceived of a global “glucose economy”, a form of a low-carbon economy, in which glucose from tropical plants is shipped around like oil is today.[21]

                  Chu said that we have to transition to better solutions. If we don’t find them, the oil and gas will come out of the ground. One example is California and then US efficiency laws on home appliances such as fridges and air conditioning (pioneered by UC Berkeley Rad. Lab). This has not only brought down the use of electricity running these appliances, but brought down the cost of the appliances themselves!
                  Prof. Chu ended his very informative talk with the Native American saying: “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

      • 22 jobs, more unhealthy emissions, definitely not the will of the people, which planet do you live on? Se4cure energy…have you missed all the hikes in energy rates this government keeps failing to stop? More wealth….twice as much will be needed for environmental clean up…should you change your drugs you seem to have have lost all rationale….and where on earth did you get stats that said the minority gov win of only 11.3 million tory voters ALL wanted fracking?

  2. Well, it seems the ground for this anti-democratic infringement into our countryside has been chosen. As far as i am aware this is the first time an invasion has been sanctioned by our own government, un elected admittedly. Looking back in history there have been many proposed invasions of our country, some successful and some not. We in England are no slouches in that respect either, many countries suffered under British rule. But that was always by and for the rich and powerful, and those who believed in profit before anything. The poor average person had no say then and as we can see, no say now. Slavery was and is the most evil legacy of our history and still goes on here and elsewhere.
    So, where do we stand on this latest effort to destroy our precious countryside? Are we slaves to meekly stand by and see our country destroyed for profit? Doff our cap and say ‘beggin your pardon, sir, master knows best’.
    There are many ways to make a slave, one is to remove all legal representation from their condition, another is to so drown them in distractions, they fail to see that moment when the soft game becomes a hard and bloody and serious game, and then it is too late.
    The chains become visible, the prison walls become visible solid barriers, many will refuse to see this evidence of confinement and entrapment and continue to live as if nothing is wrong, until they also walk into the walls and are restrained by those chains.
    Well i guess now some more of us can now see the chains and the walls, and the elephant in the room fracking machine grinds into our lives and shows its contempt for us. And then what do we do about it?

      • Unfortunately if we don’t find a way of generating more electricity that is not dependent on weather conditions, it will just be the Northern House.

    • As you say Phil, “Many countries have suffered under British rule”. Throughout history the rich and powerful in this country have enslaved and pillaged other countries. Now the government can no longer get away with that they are turning on their own population. For Northern Powerhouse read disposable Far Flung Colony.

      • Hi Pauline, yes you are right, they turn on us because they have no other victims to feed off. No more, if they want austerity, it works both ways.

      • Please don’t forget that we import 20% of our gas from countries that drastically restrict the rights of women.

        • Mark, I am pleased you are concerned for these women.

          So let’s stop wasting fossil fuel; insulate, smart use and put up more clean energy generation. We’ve got 20 billion barrels of our own oil and gas left! Considering we have wastefully used just 47 billion over the past 41 years, got plenty to go at if you need your fix.

          • Yes… they should rebalanced the tax incentives. I think the new government is exercising weakness, not power actually. What a pushover they’ve been for the frac juggernaut! That’s bound to turn ugly. TM will get worn down by Brexit then probably crushed by reactions to this.

      • The British didn’t invent slavery and they were amongst the first to enact laws for its abolition . Sadly trading slaves meshed well with the early rapid expansion of mercantile capitalism. Exploiting cheap labour was very profitable for various industries of the era.

        • I would like to agree with you, however this country is still involved in slavery, not just here but across the world, the figures show that immigration has descended into slavery for those here illegally and that is used to trap them into slavery. Thousands of immigrant children have gone missing to feed the child sex market and god alone knows what horrors prepared by those who control their movements and that goes right to the top. Women still hit the glass ceiling, and are still receiving lower pay than their male counterparts, female and male immigrants are being drawn into sex slavery everywhere. I am afraid that emancipation of any meaningful quality still evades us. Now we see that slavery now extends to those that unwittingly support this corrupt system. I wish that this was not so, i wish the world had woken up long ago, but it hasn’t, we haven’t, only by realising the truth can we wake up to how things really are, and do something about it.

      • Hi Pauline something else occurred to me, and that is that this government is still smarting from the brexit result, even Cameron distanced himself so fast he left his shadow behind. Enter Teresa May. Maybe they want to punish us, what better way than destroy our environment. Insanely spiteful though that “May” be, it certainly takes the focus off their tail dragging over brexit. Just a thought.

    • The feudal system the tories just inflicted upon the north in its northern frackhouse project is a repeat of every assault on northern integrity from every time the tories get into power. Osborne’s northern powerhouse is a euphemism for northern frackhouse and anyone who couldn’t see that coming isn’t from the north.

      Offshore tax evaders and tory donors, including Murdoch a key fracker and an Aussie from where one conglomerate LEEP backwards , friend of Osborne derives, bragging about fracking for gas in 2017 as early as 2010 —have traditionally raped pillaged and plundered the north to line the streets of London with gold.

      Odd how democracy works. How can a conglom with handy mates at North Yorks Council passing its applications, and other councils such as Newcastle, make braggadocio statements in 2010 in their company blurb, which turn out right? Amazing, one wonders who is running this country cos it certainly isn’t democratically elected governments. Theresa May met with Murdoch who apparently sanctioned her premiership…amazing—wonder which congloms in the UK Murdoch has sticky links with………………..

  3. Yorkshire Groups will support Lancashire as they have supported us. This is a tragedy for both local communities and local democracy. This is not the end we fight on.

    • Fight, fight, fight Caroline. A rebel without a clue! Spend lots of money fighting the appeal. Spend lots of money fighting the appeal ruling. Spend lots of hard earned money gathered by scaring the citizens to fight a technology that will help clean the air, provide jobs, provide wealth, protect energy security, and protect the environment from wind turbines!

      • This must be another meaning of the words clean and the concept of reasoned discussion I had not previously come across. It is positively unhinged, not to mention grossly insulting and misogynistic. You are a disgrace peeny, I would not be surprised if your programmer took a large sledgehammer to your hard drive?

        • That’s it Phil! Insult me when you cannot keep up with me intellectually. The facts are on my side and the tide has turned. Keep burning money to fight the industry as it will redistribute wealth into hands that make better decisions. ;o)

          • Intellectually! i love it! I think your CPU needs upgrading, Windows 95 is no longer supported (:-)) Aahh you made me laugh this morning, well done!

          • Fight fire with fire I say.
            Redistribute? Ha! Into personal off shore tax havens more like! Don’t tell me, go tell it to the residents.

          • HAHAaaaaHAAAAA thank ever so much for the best laugh I had all week peeny…..keep up with you intellectually……..oh so funny …………………..

                • Ok, big fella. But you go tell them that they need to live without electricity when the wind doesn’t blow. Fair enough? You should also tell them that all of the good jobs will be going to country’s that are more competitive from an energy perspective. They’re going to love ya, Phil!

                • Still frit? still cows in herds i see, Dont tell it to me, go and talk your case to the residents, dont just talk the talk, walk the walk. I all ready do talk, i talk to everyone, even you. We would rather live without electricity or gas than have our health and that of our children destroyed. Not that we have to there is enough wind generators, solar panels and free energy devices for our needs. Energy poverty is just another fear propaganda device. We would rather drink clean water and breath clean air than to live under your hateful poisonous dictatorship, We love and respect each other and our planet, something you would not understand.
                  Excuse me a moment…..would you put another fracker on the fire? my bath water is getting cold!

        • Do pigs fly above your dreamland of air-cleaning gas wells halfpenny? You’ve established your insanity and don’t need to carry on.

    • This is a tragedy for the whole of the north and beyond. Once water gets flooded and fracked leaving radioactive water water polluting pristine land and drinking reserves, you do wonder how many more reservoirs will be bought up by the Chinese, already owning Kielder, and whether Scotland will have its highest quality water in the UK, drained off to provide England with drinkable water in 50 years time when we know the dire consequences of fracking will be permeating the land as in the US and Australia.

      Already the tories are building a major road up through the north via Northallerton to Scotland to provide a route for the possiblity of bringing down more water from the north to England, as well as providing a good transport route from Yorkshire to Newcastle for exporting fracked gas which will be sold on the global market to the highest bidder.

      More worryingly NO PLAN for disposing of frackwaste, and given the government just more or less threw out the Zane death appeal case, we can see a pattern emerging where any spills and pollution cases will be similarly brushed under the carpet….

      The nasty party just became the very nasty party

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