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.


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

57 replies »

    • Thats it GottaP! alienate everyone, the more you post the further everyone will step away from your cause, good job, you are doing a great job for us! Keep it up, or rather down from where it comes from.

      Everything you say
      drives more people away
      your words so betray where your mind is
      Your colleagues will say
      Off our side you will stay
      Our PR image not your way is

      • Phil, all I’m doing is labelling the bunch of roadside protestors, I appreciate that may seem harsh but tbh they simply ain’t the type of person I’d want as a next door neighbour! Not alienating anyone I don’t want to 🙂

        • GottaB, thanks for replying, you see we can all label people, but labelling just leads to dehumanisation and we all know where that leads, don’t we? i illustrated precisely what that would be like before, but it left a nasty taste, so i don’t like doing it. The point is labelling is abusive, its unnecessary and it only antagonises and adds nothing to the debate. People do what means the most to them, just as you do, that does mean they are sub humans any more than we all are. We can discuss facts from our various points of view, or we can descend into hate-mail and as i said, that just alienates everyone. Antagonism just polarises people, and sympathy for your point of view just evaporates, your colleagues as well.
          If we can keep debate on an even keel, we may be able to avoid the next holocaust, i for one would give anything to prevent that happening again.
          What do you say?

          • Phil relax there is no holocaust coming. It’s just a simple fact that as humans we don’t all get along and that in a way can be very positive albeit can be negative too but hey I’m an optimist 🙂
            The genuine anti frackers are causing themselves undue stress and anxiety by prolonging the inevitable.

        • Cuadrilla aren’t the sort of people we want as a next-door neighbour. 24/7 noise pollution from drilling, causing earthquakes, flares depositing radionuclides (radioactive fallout in the form of radon and radon’s radioactive progeny – radioactive lead and pollonium) over the land and in our trout ponds and over our homes. Cuadrilla are really bad neighbours.

    • “And to your left is a sensitively designed viewing area, typically in keeping with the countryside. On your right is our glorious enhancement of the local vista”.

    • Viewing gallery for those who want to see a scaled up version of the factual proven technical failings a little further down the road as stated by the British Geological Survey.

      Don’t forget to factor in the need to increase the seismic threshold to 2.6 magnitude as requested and allowed after the first few treatments.

      Maybe there is some ancient law which will get round this. Something like…

      ‘Under the 1564 Galileo act’ all seismic events between 1 and 10 magnitude are hereby called 0.5 magnitude.

      Slip it in 30 seconds before recess and ‘Bingo’, problem solved.

  1. The proposed viewing area is ideally sized to accommodate a get together/party for all those in the UK who support shale gas. Every one could bring a friend and there would still be plenty of room to dance and chat and behold the magnificence of the changing look of the Lancashire countryside.

  2. PR stunt? No-you would have to insist that the dress code was animal costumes and they would need sacks of manure to qualify for that!

  3. They are way behind schedule. They were supposed to be drilling by now but no drill rig to be seen. There is nothing to see. Interesting that on the drone image it looks huge but from ground level it look like a housing construction site. They are very slow.

      • There’ll be some pretty nasty staff entering the atmosphere from the site, but I very much doubt any of it will be steam.

        • Why do you feel they are “nasty” Malcolm? Pop in for a cuppa tea and chat and I’m sure you’ll see you don’t come out upset 🙂

  4. I think the best use would be for coach parties of EDF customers to attend. Centrica could organise their posters-“EDF-out” and “LGF-in” (let’s get frack-in). Visiting entertainment could be supplied with John and refracktion explaining how their bills are a mirage and there are vast loads of cheap gas “available”, but EDF need subsidising so they will build a nuclear power station to support alternative energy sources, and because there are few other volunteers they should be given free reign on pricing. (But not to mention that the next one is likely to cost them a further £10 billion in direct taxes. The NHS could not cope with the customer surge-although they might if income from UK fracking taxes were diverted their way.) And, of course, our existing storage for gas is all in good working order, but we just do not want to use it, because it might disturb the fish that have entered through the perforations! LOL

    Just give me the TV rights. Would be a stronger box office than Gladiator. Only downside I can see is that it could produce a “run” upon saw-dust and then where would the eco latrines be, and as a result, an absolute final nail for the Guardian.

    Anyway, have a good Easter. Off to munch my chocolates bought with my pocket money supplied by AJL, before that mirage disappears.

  5. I reckon the plan is to use protectors as canaries. I doubt there’s much else monitoring they’re going to do on emissions; it certainly won’t be 24/7.

  6. I don’t believe the injunction can be varied just on the word of the farmer, for one thing there are many more people named on it than him

    • Excellent point – maybe the judge should be asked? And where IS this “consent” anyway – has anyone actually seen it in writing anyway?

      • Medium Frack job underway. All the kit you can see will be gone after the job except the pad and a xmas tree / wellhead where the red BOP is sitting. Note no fence required, don’t see any ptotestors, don’t see any Police, don’t see any problem……

        • Shale gas sites will require return visits to re frack horizontal wells and return visits to frack higher levels. More trucks, more visual impact and more seismic activity. Any suggestion that they come and frack once and then go for good is complete nonsense.

    • Looks like dried blood on an open wound? Must be the American experience judging by the trucks and pick ups? Just looking at it makes me want to vomit, which in fact is exactly what the process is. Too early to look at that, almost put me off my breakfast!
      “viewing area”, what a joke! its too far away and will be used to “kettle” onlookers, we are not fooled by that little game at all, it wont be used for anything other than to land the drones after they see what is really going on, we had better have bucket nearby when we look at the footage though?
      Does this remind anyone of red wood ants crawling over a nest? Its that dried blood colour that does it i suppose? At least wood ants are entirely natural and part of the ecology, this display looks unnatural, menacing and somehow offensive on a Good Friday morning, some connection there perhaps? Eeeuuuchhhh! cant look at this any more.

        • That’s funny? i thought they were all excited at this prospect? But if they’re not very excited about it, then it doesn’t matter does it? So they shouldn’t mind if it is stopped?

  7. Again just a bit of background news. From The Times this morning. The Rough storage facility, once the UK’s major long-term gas storage facility is now essentially closed for re-injection (re-filling) during the Summer and looks to have no future. The last remaining usable gas will be withdrawn over the next few weeks. So the UK becomes more dependent on continuing supplies from the North Sea, Norway and Europe via undersea pipelines. Peaks in demand will be met partly by the limited ability of the pipelines to increase supply, which of course means competing with continental Europe on price. Another source of sticking-plaster gas is LNG imports from the USA, Peru, and the Middle-East, a major supplier. So while the protestors are generating hot-air outside Cuadrilla’s site they are indirectly warming the hearts of the head-choppers out East.

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