Crane operator pulling out of work at Cuadrilla’s fracking site


Preston New Road outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site this morning. Photo: Ros Wills

The company that supplied a crane to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool has pulled out of the job and is waiting to remove its equipment.

Bryn Thomas Cranes LtdBryn Thomas Cranes, of Flint, was sub-contracted by another company to carry out two-three days of work at Preston New Road.

The contract was due to start yesterday but Nick Bartley, from Bryn Thomas, said the company was unaware of the site or work when it took on the job. He said:

“Since we have been made aware of what kind of site we have been hired in to, our machine is being collected”.

Cuadrilla announced this morning that the drilling rig for the UK’s first horizontal shale gas wells had arrived on the site.

Mr Bartley told DrillOrDrop:

“We were ordered to supply a crane. We were told to go to AFC Fylde [the football club based at Wesham].

“We thought it could have been work on a stadium.

“Our driver met the customer’s representative at AFC Fylde and was then escorted to the site”

Mr Bartley said the company only found about the work through comments on its Facebook page, emails and social media posts.

Asked what made Bryn Thomas pull out of the contract, he said:

“It was the reaction from residents in the area. We were not aware of the intensity of feeling. We don’t want to upset a lot of people through no fault of our own.

“Understanding more the impacts and effects that this has had on the local communities, the management made the decision to have the crane removed from site”.

Mr Bartley said the crane had been derigged this morning and was in a road travel position from 7.30am.

“The driver is parked and ready to leave.”

The road outside the site is currently blocked by police vans and lock-on protests. In a message to Cuadrilla’s opponents, Mr Bartley said:

“I assure you the crane operator has not, and will not be, carrying out any lifts. If any assistance could be given to allow him to leave site as quickly as possible that would be greatly appreciated.”

DrillOrDrop invited Cuadrilla to comment. This post will be updated with any response.


34 replies »

    • Well done Nick Bartley, from Bryn Thomas for standing up for his principles; company trying to dupe him by implying it was to go elsewhere?…could this possibly suggest that Cuadrilla have rung round everyone and they said NO so they had to lie to get the equipment via a sub-contractor? interesting…..

  1. Our democratic process failed. It appears that small wins at least can be achieved via protests.

  2. Boycott Bryn Thomas Cranes – clearly unreliable. I’m sure the antis / protestors award a lot f heavy lift crane contracts. If I was in business I would disqualify this company from my tender process.

    • Do you live near the site, is it in your backyard? These are local residents, the local community, being ignored by the government. I applaud Bryn Thomas for putting ethics over profit.

      • Paul Tresto. But you aren’t, so you can’t. LCC turned Cuadrilla’s fracking application down. Sajid Javid overrode local democracy to push it through. I also applaud Bryn Thomas for making a stand for democracy against this filthy polluting industry.

    • That CRANE operator deserves support from everyone opposed to horizontal unconventional drilling!!!!! YEY for good sense. And the finger to the likes of UKOG and ANGUS who ignore planning regulations and walk all over people to get what THEY AND THEIR INVESTORS want! Selfish #$%@!

        • They will have support and respect for having principles and good judgement not to mention the fact that they are told to go to another place so they are initially unaware it’s a track site .

  3. Paul tresco, if you were in business you wouldn’t last long!
    [Edited by moderator]
    Obviously you don’t live near a Fracking Zone or you would be singing a different song!

    • You could at least spell Pauls surname correctly. I am pretty sure Paul is more successful in life than you are and his experience will easily trump yours. What are your creditentials as a leftie that is adverse to growth/capitalism/risk? And why wouldn’t he last long in business? The crane operator was FORCED to pull out due to abuse by antis, they don’t give a monkeys about fracking but they would have assumed blockades etc would be next.

      • Paul and others like him who PREY off of people deserve [edited by moderator] opposition and a bad nights sleep!

    • Peter, your memory is clearly not too good, perhaps it is all the fracking chemicals / flare gases etc? Or the earthquakes, or the fact that Cuadrilla pulled a fast one??

      [Edited by moderator]
      I live in Lancashire, not far from you (again). I have the same Bowland shale beneath my house as you do.

      What do I do? Whatever I want, within the Law. You would be surprised about my business success. I closed my company and retired in my early 50s. How about you, what do you do? Apart from the obvious?

      I do like winding you and Cindy etc. up. But unlike all the antis on this BB I fully understand the techical aspects of oil and gas drilling and stimulation. And how many truck loads it takes to move a rig in……
      [Edited by moderator]

    • Peter
      I live near a fracking zone, and I support fracking. Ditto oil drilling, mining, wind farms, biodigestors, nuclear, solar farms, water mills, geothermal, insulation, electric cars, nuclear fusion and so on. But not H2S!
      I do not think the issues are as binary as ‘ near no’ and far yes’. Support for anti fracking comes from all over the country, so it is not surprising that support for pro would be likewise.
      Mrs H says it’s only because anti fracking is the accepted wisdom that I [am against] it, and I always prefer to swim against the tide. That antis consider themselves in the same light ( I think) is worth a paper in its own right I guess.

      [Amended at poster’s request]

  4. it’s clear from their statement that bryn thomas do care about fracking and that is why the crane is being removed

  5. Do all these anti’s just make up things to make themselves feel better about what they have done? These companies are being forced to turn away revenue due to intimidation, it has nothing to do with them not supporting fracking. Of course they knew where the crane was going!!

    • Intimidation was what LCC councillors were subjected to in 2015 when they were threatened with personal liability if they didn’t support the application ..Do you get paid by the hour like the 20 people who turned up at Blackpool FC last year on the first day of the enquiry..They stayed for just 1 hour because that was what they had been paid for , on questioning they knew nothing at all about the process of fracking

  6. their story fits the facts, they were told to take the crane to afc fylde and then it was taken to pnr, as has been posted the demonstrators are never likely to be a customer of bryn thomas so why would they be be bothered what the demonstrators post about them

  7. GBK, if that is the case why were they booked via a third party and told to go to AFC Fylde where that well know fracking supporter Haythornthwaite has one of his many business interests, it is not the first time that trick has been pulled by Cuadrilla since January. That says a lot about their business ethics, or lack of!

  8. Lol seriously guys if you want to pretend the hiring company had no idea where or what it was being used for then fair doos. I suggest you pick up the phone and try and hire one and be prepared to answer a heck of a lot of questions as to where and what it will be used for. There are insurances etc that need to be filled out.

    • And they need to know what they are lifting, how many lifts, what rigging to bring etc. Two drivers for 24hrs operations… But it all makes a good story.

      • Paul
        I agree with you on this. Few companies should send a crane off to a job with little knowledge of the task involved, no clue as to what is to be lifted or the requirements of the lift plan.
        It would show a lack of due diligence.
        Or, as is sometimes the case, a small company meets the rigours of oil industry requirements and bows out with as much grace as possible on the day.

        However, we do not know the full story, maybe the company was hoodwinked in some way or fed duff information. Certainly no one is off to take statements and build the timeline, determine the immediate case and do a root cause analysis. So they should have our sympathy.

        Either way, the word In the pub is that Cuadrilla should forget Lancashire and hire tried and trusted companies from Notts or Derbyshire who like working with swampies ( their words ) a la West Burton and Ratcliff on Soar and consider long term hire with a swampie on the roof as a good way to earn a living.

        As they say, how else does the honest working man make a living?

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