Industry

Cuadrilla announces viewing area for fracking site – opponents say it’s a PR stunt

PNR viewing area 170413 Cuadrilla Resources 1

Viewing area of Preston New Road. Photo: Cuadrilla Resources

The fracking company, Cuadrilla, said today it had set up a viewing area for its Preston New Road shale gas site near Blackpool.

In a statement, it said the area would allow “interested members of the public to observe the site from a safe location as work progresses and from which to conduct peaceful and lawful protest, if they wish.”

The announcement comes a day after the High Court judge, Sir Ian Dove, dismissed two legal challenges to the planning permission for the Preston New Road site.

There have been roadside protests since Cuadrilla began work on 5 January 2017. Opponents described the viewing area as “yet another attempt [by Cuadrilla] to ingratiate themselves with the community they have forced themselves upon”.

Cuadrilla said the area, measuring about 18mx12m, would be open during daylight hours, from about 9am-5pm each day that work was taking place. The statement said the area had clear visibility of the site. The company said:

“Members of the public interested in viewing the site are encouraged to make use of the space, which will ensure that the major A583 road and entrance junction is not obstructed and is kept safe and secure for all road users.”

PNR 170407 FrackFreeCreators - Knitting Nannas Lancashire2

Drone image of Preston New Road well pad, 7 April 2017. Photo: Frack Free Creators Knitting Nanas of Lancashire

High Court injunction

At a hearing in the High Court last month, the company sought to exclude a viewing area from an injunction outlawing public access to the Preston New Road site.

Anti-fracking campaigners argued in court that they could be “corralled” in the protest area and it would be used to justify excluding protest along the roadside. They also believed it would set a precedent for other shale gas sites around the country.

The judge, Philip Raynor QC, granted the injunction but refused to exclude the viewing area. He said the area, then described as 25mx25m, was too small to be reasonable and could be a source of “increased anger” if protest was limited to it.

Today, Cuadrilla said people who used the viewing area would not breach the injunction because the landowner had given consent for its use.

Reaction

Preston New Road Action Group, which brought one of the challenges to the planning permission, responded to the announcement:

“It’s an interesting and grim take that Cuadrilla feel they need a “viewing area” at their Preston New Road site. Perhaps this is part of their belief that fracking will attract tourism.

“Yet another PR stunt, yet another attempt to ingratiate themselves with the community they have forced themselves upon.”

Judge grants injunction for Cuadrilla’s fracking site – but rejects protest area proposal

Dismissal of legal challenge against Lancashire fracking site: Breaking News and More detail and reaction

56 replies »

  1. Sorry just to note the paradox that, in my opinion, the greatest danger to the development of UK shale gas is probably the increased supply of, and hence cheap, LNG. This comes primarily from the vast new supplies of fracked gas in the USA adding on to existing worldwide production. I don’t know how the anti-trackers feel about that. The possibility that UK fracking will be fracked by the frackers!

  2. As I brought up this point a couple of years ago on this forum.
    No fracking wont hurt lancashire tourism as claimed by the anti fracking brigades.
    In fact it will help and creat a new tourism boom in Fydle. And Cuadrilla is smart enough to realise it and provided the first step. But fall a bit short on the concept. There’s a need for two viewing areas. One for the fracker enthusiasts and the other for the anti frackers. And it would be wise keep the two as far apart as possible.
    The way that I envisage this tourism sector is that the fracker packers will run their own tours to show the curious and the skeptic what fracking site ACTUALLY look like compare to the stories they hear in media. On the other hand the anti fracking travel agents will organize tours and events for the anti frackers eco warriors and protestors to take photos opportunity of what fracking can do to the country side and use it as a travel brochures to promote their tourism and raise more funding for their businesses.
    Obviously each of this tourism sector can accommodate and specialise in their clients needs. For examples something like this. For the fracker packers the tour packages can come with free three months of shale gas supply and share exercise option in Cuadrilla. And for the anti frackers clients maybe free showers or hair cut upon arrivals and free candle stick gift pack. They may serve their clients coffee or tea and the other may serve harshes and class A substances depending the client needs. Obviously this is only some of the possibilities but their business model can be developed for each of their client needs.

    So contrary to the claim that fracking is bad and take away tourists business from Lancashire it actually bring in the tourists for Lancashire. It is a fracking win-win situation for everyone. So whats not to like.

    • “to show the curious and the skeptic what fracking site ACTUALLY look like compare to the stories they hear in media”

      Indeed – I’m sure people who visit will marvel when they see the 9.9 hectare surface works and compare it to Francis Egan’s single rugby pitch fairy story that found its way into local and national media. 🙂

      • Rather looked like an unruly vehicular scrum down to me? though i am not sure that scrum is entirely the right word? where’s the ref? I suspect he is safely in “kettle cage compound” with the rest of the cheering spectators? All three of them!

        http://www.heraldscotland.com/resources/images/6104134.jpg?display=1&htype=0&type=responsive-gallery

        You know looking at this image above Cuadrilla could dispense with the fenced off prisoners concentration camp compound….. sorry…. “visitors” kettling area all together? They could just use their other tax payer funded resource to do the same job? That would save Cuadrilla all that money and nasty publicity whilst putting the cost onto the tax payer and blaming the police for doing their job for them. Besides its not as if they dont have either planning permission for, nor legal permission do create that compound from the court ruling is it?

      • 9.9 hectares is 100m by 990m or 200m by 495m. The drone image looks far smaller than this. Are there more surface works associated with the site? It does look a lot closer to rugby pitch size (120m by 70m). Is there any sort of scale on the photo?

  3. Will be fun when the viewers and the protectors mix it up in the cage!
    Seriously!
    And where will the viewers park?
    Dangerous hidden entrance on brow of a hill on sharp bend!
    Has any of this got planning permission?

    • Planning permission! yes, that’s an interesting question? Excellent thinking Peter! As you say, what about parking, sight lines, health and safety considerations? Public Highway permission? New foot path access? Signage? Children facilities? Picnic benches? Toilets? Seating for the elderly? Food and drink concessions? Assistance and explanation by professional public officials? Locks on the Gates? Opening and closing times? Advertising Posters and pamphlets? Perhaps they could charge for entry?
      Oh what fun we can have with this?

    • My thoughts exactly Peter. Fracking enthusiasts certainly won’t be given house-room to park at Maple Farm as antis are!

      • Perhaps Farmer Wensley will allow them to park up at his farm house? I heard he’s not very popular in The Grapes or in his local church these days so he might welcome the company.

        • He’s not really short of company though is he? He can always chat to the dayglo orange, hard hatted security guards that have taken up permanent, 24/7 residence with him. That’s when he’s not busy driving his tractor down the cycle lane, making sure he sheds plenty of his load all over the local, mainly elderly residents standing on the pavement.

  4. So will there be ‘Monitoring equipment’ provided by Cuadrilla so that we can see that the Air isn’t polluted. Water testing, especially the Waste water isn’t Radioactive. And a measure to show how much is being used AND how much is returned.
    Land pollution measurements, I’m sure there are more that if we had the equipment but you assume that as Cuadrilla have to self monitor they must have it and it should reduce some of the concerns.

  5. So lots and lots of clean water mixed with an unholy assortment of unnamed chemicals go into the ground. Lots and lots of poisoned water, radioactive sludge, flared off dodgy gases including methane and maybe some shale gas for consumers come out of the ground.
    Whoever thought this was a good idea must have been shiffing some gas out of an aerosol cannister at the time!
    There is really no good side to this for Communities, Commerce, peoples health or the environment!
    Only the bribe takers and snake oil salesmen will maybe benefit but not for long!

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