policing

Cuadrilla condemns fracking protesters for eight-hour road closure – opponents blame police tactics

pnr 170725 Reclaim the power1

Blockade of lorry convoy at Preston New Road, 25 July 2017. Photo: Reclaim the Power

Police closed the road outside Cuadrilla’s Lancashire shale gas site for eight hours today in response to anti-fracking protests.

Opponents of the company’s activities at Preston New Road near Blackpool took part in a sit-down protest and climbed onto two vehicles as police tried to bring lorries into the site.

Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said the protest was “causing delay and misery” to commuters, visitors and businesses.

Frack Free Lancashire blamed today’s blockage on the police for escorting a convoy of vehicles and encouraging two lorries to occupy  both lanes of the road.

pnr 170725 Sally Moss

Sit-down protest at Preston New Road, 25 July 2017. Photo from a video by Sally Moss

pnr 170725 George Brown

Lorry protest at Preston New Road, 25 July 2017. Photo from video by George

The A583 Preston New Road was closed in both directions at about 8.30am, for more than two miles, between Whitehills roundabout and Fox Lane Ends.

At 5pm, police opened one lane and operated a contraflow. A post on the Fylde Police Facebook page said “campaigners remained on top of vehicles and in road”.

The national campaign group, Reclaim the Power, which has been co-ordinating a month of direct action protests at Preston New Road, said eight trucks had been blockaded.

Yesterday the group said there had been 16 consecutive working days of disruption outside the site.

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Policing Preston New Road, 25 July 2017

“Apology needed for inconvenience”

Mr Egan said this was the fourth complete road closure in as many weeks. He said there had also been eight more partial road closures.

In a statement this afternoon he said:

“We condemn today’s ongoing closure of the Preston New Road by protestors since 8.30am this morning.

“No responsible person can claim this is peaceful or lawful protest when it is causing delay and misery to local commuters, businesses and people visiting the area during the holiday season.

“Far from boasting online about their illegal exploits, the national activists from Reclaim The Power should publicly apologise to all those road users that they continue to inconvenience due to their self-serving, publicity seeking and foolish actions.

“We will exercise our democratic right to carry on with our lawful work at Preston New Road which is progressing to plan.”

“Successful tactics against unwanted industry”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“We understand Cuadrilla’s frustration at the successful tactics being employed against their attempts to impose this unwanted industry on the people of Lancashire.

“However, this morning’s total blockage would not have been required had Police not resorted to escorting a convoy and encouraging two HGVs to occupy two lanes, which was unsafe and inappropriate.

“We also note Mr Egan’s claim that his work is ‘progressing to plan’ but believe it has as much credibility as his repeated and misleading claims about the size of the well pad being the same size as a rugby pitch.”

Criticism of police

Police were criticised on social media by both sides of the argument.

In a comment on the Fylde Police Facebook page, Adam Saunders:

“Why are these people not being arrested on the spot? I’m pretty sure if average joe had a few to many beers got on a wagon and hurled abuse at you…. They would be arrested?”

Phil Cardwell said:

“You are failing in your duty to the people of the Fylde Coast that you are supposed to serve. Allowing anarchists to blockade a blue light route. How much more do we have to take? Get the road open NOW!”

Dan Tudor-Pole said the police should edit their Facebook post from “due to protester activity” to “due to Cuadrilla activity”. He said:

“These people are doing the right thing and stopping this dirty industry form taking place in the Fylde. This is the first drill pad of many, the Fylde will be absolutely covered in them if Cuadrilla and co get their way. We said NO.”

Claire Stevo said:

“Why is there an HGV straddling two lanes? How did it get there? Cuadrilla have no right to commandeer an entire road. Convoys were not part of the original traffic plan.”

39 replies »

  1. “which is progressing to plan” – ah but which plan Francis – the original one or the one you had to update again late this morning 😂

  2. Traffic plan? Don’t make me laugh. This isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. If the police were serious about enforcing it, they wouldn’t allow convoys in the first place.

  3. Egan would say that wouldn’t he. He will do all he can to denigrate anyone who opposes this insidious industry.

    • Perhaps what Francis Egan meant was that with any protester action, the plan is for the police to deliberately close both lanes, that way all the blame is pointed at the protesters, not Francis and the police.
      Interesting strategy isn’t it?
      Perhaps the Industries pet Wreck it Ralph rentamob team will be called in to produce some masked disturbance to complete the stitch up job?

  4. What a sad bunch. Been talking to many local people and the growing consensus is that the protestors are from outwith the area and are not welcome. They are fed up with the traffic delays and the area being run down by the dregs of society, the exact opposite of what the 5 or so anti protestors on this site would have you believe. Not long to go till exploration commences hence the last hurrah by the poorly dressed hooligans. The tide is turning for the anti protestors hence main stream media starting to report on their bad behaviour, and before you lot start moaning about Murdoch blah blah blah save your breath, he is rich and successful and you’re….not. Media is realising there isn’t actually any large scale appetite to stop fracking but merely a bunch of NIMBYs and hardcore lefties hence not afraid to speak out anymore.

    • Been using Skype then Peeny? – I’ve just discovered which plan Frankie was talking about – On the latest news tab of the PNR page on Cuadrilla’s website it tell us “the drilling phase of operations is expected to commence in Q2 2017”.

      He’s got 4 working days left to get that drill in and start 😂

      • ooops silly me Q2 ended 4 weeks ago at the end of June – my bad – well Frankie’s really eh – LOL

        • [Edited by moderator] I’ve come to learn that the losers in a capitalist world have little respect for others that simply want to live their lives.
          [Edited by moderator]

          • [Edited by moderator]

            It’s funny that you call me a “loser in a capitalist world” and it’s only recently that your wackfracky mates were posting my company accounts and saying they were proof that I was paid huge sums by Putin. Try to keep in step there or the PR narrative falls apart son. 😂

            [Edited by moderator]

    • “The protestors are from outwith the area and are not welcome.” The fracking company Lancashire said it didn’t want is half owned by an Australian company controlled by the Chinese, half owned by an investment company registered in the Cayman Islands and the operation in Lancashire is run by a bloke from Ireland. Clearly all local lads.

  5. Interesting how there is now great satisfaction in causing disruption to locals, yet a few months ago this was a great uprising of local democracy. Apart from a few days delay Cuadrilla must be delighted about the situation as the media start to become energised about the way this “protest” has been hijacked, and by whom. The arrest details will quite easily identify how local the protest has become.

    It is slipping away from the local antis and they seem oblivious, or uncaring, about it.

    refracktion-if you actually read what GBK had posted (too difficult?) and not rushed to score points you would have been able to reply sensibly. Try today’s Times. (Murdoch was the clue.) Par for the course today, everyone rushing to “speak” without “listening” first, and, as a result missing the point.

    • Dont you anti anti’s all say that locals are irrelevant?
      Sudden change of heart?
      No, just political meanderings.

  6. o my goodness , the man on the lorry looks pathetic ,so sad.the anti frackers are not giving a good impression of them self .

    • [Edited by moderator] Point me out one well dressed anti protestor! And don’t include the Councilors who are told to tidy up their appearance before representing the ‘community’.

      • Peeny – come yourself to have a look. I realise the transatlantic ticket might be a bit off-putting but do come one down!

  7. Gosh what’s so important about being well dressed!!! What sad priorities!! Wonder why fracking is so important to some commentators, I can only presume they hope to benefit in some way?? But why so unpleasant? Cuadrilla tell us their ‘lawful work is progressing to plan’, so no problem!! Personally, my family think the protesters are amazing, brave, people! We love you!!!!! Thank you!!!

    • Your appearance says a lot more about you than you realise. Me so unpleasant ??? HAHAHA have you seen how the bunch of protestors act? Another delusional individual.

  8. LM-it is yourself who has the myopic view. The only benefits most fracking supporters in the UK stand to gain are energy security and, hopefully, more control over energy costs-exactly the same benefits the whole of the population might get. I know it is helpful to the antis to try and tag us with the rabid capitalist title but that has been done to death and nobody is listening any more.
    The “locals” stand to gain a great deal more in the longer term, but that one will just take us down another speculation road.

    • MC
      ‘The only benefits most fracking supporters in the UK stand to gain are energy security and, hopefully, more control over energy costs-exactly the same benefits the whole of the population might get.’
      Most fracking supporters = investors
      Energy security; we already have
      More control over energy costs; are you having a laugh!
      I recently returned from France; wind turbines are striding across the countryside. From the M1 more giants gently turning. This is the real change; fracking is a dead duck.

  9. The protest is going well and thank you protesters you will be successful the people of Lancashire support your fight for democracy.

    • Actually they are failing and will keep on failing, all they have done is cause a nuisance which has led to a few delays. Keeping in mind there are only TWO sites this is a pathetic show by the antis. Wait until they have to divvy themselves amongst dozens then hundreds 😀

      • Peeny – as Lancashire Constabulary have consistently (and ruefully) demonstrated there only need to be half a dozen protesters at each site and they need 100 officers over a 24 hour period. I think we might manage to keep that many on each site old thing 🙂 This whole policing strategy is as unsustainable as the industry it is facilitating, and they know it.

      • ‘which has led to a few delays’

        First planning application by Cuadrilla passed in 2010 to frack the Becconsall well.

        Pressure from Frack Off, REAF, FOE and many others caused years of delays until eventually Cuadrilla withdrew their fracking application minutes after evidence given in private at LCC regarding functional links between their proposals and the protected RAMSAR site.

        Hello 2017.Millions spent. Still not a whiff of gas.

        No chance of this industry developing. Running on fumes.

        UK shale. One step forward, 10 steps back.

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