A group supporting shale gas operations in Lancashire has invited business leaders to take part in a survey about attitudes to protester activity in the county.
The online survey, organised by Lancashire for Shale, also invites participants to give consent for their name to be used in a letter to a local newspaper.
The introduction to the poll refers to protests at BAE Systems at Wharton and Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
But it was put online before yesterday’s announcement by Moore’s Readymix of St Anne’s that it would no longer supply the Preston New Road site.
The poll, hosted by Survey Monkey, asked participants to say whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statements:
- Protester activity is likely to have a negative impact on public perception of the county
- Protester activity is likely to have a negative impact on the Lancashire economy
- Protester activity is likely to directly harm the performance of my business in Lancashire
- I am concerned about the economic costs of protester activity in Lancashire
- I am concerned about the policing costs of protester activity in Lancashire
On the protests outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, participants were asked to agree or disagree with these statements:
- Protester activity and direct action is likely to have a negative impact on public perception of the area
- Protester activity and direct action is likely to have a negative impact on the local economy
- Protester activity and direct action is likely to directly harm the performance of my business
- I am concerned about protester activity and direct action at Preston New Road
- I am concerned about the economic costs of protester activity and direct action at Preston New Road
- I am concerned about the policing costs of protester activity and direct action at Preston New Road
The poll asked for details about the business, such as turnover, employment, sector. It also asked participants to give their views on whether:
- People have a right to peaceful protest
- Protests should be fairly but robustly policed
- Protests should not be allowed to disrupt local business
The final questions asks:
“Would you support a call to national protesters to end their disruptive direct action at Preston New Road?”
“Do you consent to us featuring your name and Company/Organisation as signatories to a letter to a local newspaper calling on national protesters to cease their disruptive and potentially dangerous behaviour at Preston New Road shale gas site?”
DrillOrDrop asked Lancashire for Shale how many companies had been invited to participate in the survey, how they had been selected, how many had replied, how long the survey was open and how the results would be used.
Lancashire for Shale said:
“We sent the survey to named contacts in predominantly Lancashire businesses with whom we’ve corresponded previously (and that, for Data Protection purposes, have consented to us contacting them).
“In conducting the survey, we are simply trying to gauge how Lancashire businesses view protestor activity in general as well as that specific to shale gas exploration so that we are better able to reflect their views in future. We currently have no specific plans for how the results may be used in the future.”
The survey referred several times to “national protesters”. DrillOrDrop asked whether Lancashire for Shale had a different view of local people who protested, as opposed to people who lived outside the area.
The group did not respond to this question.