Updated: 4,000+ people call for removal of rig from Cuadrilla’s fracking site

pnr 170716 FrackFreeCreators - KnittingNanas1

Preston New Road site, 17 July 2017. Photo: Frack Free Creators Knitting Nanas of Lancashire

Updated 31 July 2017

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition in the past four days calling for the enforcement of planning conditions at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site in Lancashire.

The petition was launched in response to the company’s decision to deliver its drilling rig at about 4.15am on Thursday 27 July, in breach of an agreement designed to prevent disturbance to people living nearby.

Mark Mills, a local opponent of Cuadrilla’s operations and the creator of the petition, called for the removal of the rig. He said it should be delivered during the permitted hours of 7.30am-6pm.

He said:

“The permission for Preston New Road was predicated on Cuadrilla meeting the planning conditions which were supposed to give us the confidence that if this did proceed it would be done safely and according to the rules.

“To ride a coach and horses through the conditions of the planning permission to me seems incongruous.

“I am staggered that a company that should be trying to win a social licence to operate would so flagrantly disregard planning conditions and ride roughshod over the council.”

Cuadrilla said yesterday it had taken the decision to deliver the rig overnight to avoid the road being blocked by protesters and what it called “the attendant prolonged inconvenience to local road users and potential impacts on commuter and protestor safety.” (Cuadrilla statement in DrillOrDrop report)

Lancashire County Council said the delivery was a breach of planning conditions and said it was writing to Cuadrilla requiring it to prevent this happening again.

But Mr Mills said:

“I think it would be inadequate for our council to say ‘We are aware of your breach and don’t do it again’. It needs to be more penal than that. It is too important to allow them to apologise and give assurance that it won’t happen again.

“They picked the most contentious piece of equipment to do this with.

“The future of this industry is going to be decided largely by what happens in Lancashire. Other companies will see they are riding roughshod over the conditions and think they can do the same.”

“Very disappointed”Paul Hayhurst

Lancashire County Councillor Paul Hayhurst, who represents the area of the Preston New Road site, said he was “very disappointed” that Cuadrilla had breached the permissions, apparently with the consent of the police.

Cllr Hayhurst, an independent councillor, was on a group that worked with Cuadrilla and the local Preston New Road Action Group to draw up the conditions after the Communities Secretary granted planning permission for the site. Cllr Hayhurst said:

“This condition was put forward to protect the local residents and stop them being disturbed outside working hours. It was with Cuadrilla’s agreement”.

During the planning inquiry into the Preston New Road plans, Cuadrilla’s barrister implied that the company would go to great lengths to abide by planning conditions. Talking about noise conditions, Nathalie Lieven QC said:

“If my clients are foolish enough to breach the noise limits they are going to bring on themselves a whole pack of trouble.

“They are going to extreme lengths to ensure that [breaching the limit] would not happen.

“The problem for Cuadrilla if they don’t make that effort will be very costly.”

But opponents of Cuadrilla’s activities at Preston New Road have said they have evidence that the company has breached other conditions since work began in January.

“A lot of complaints”

Within three weeks, Lancashire County Council admitted it had received “a lot of complaints and allegations”. The head of planning, Andy Mullaney, said there were examples of lorries not following the agreed transport route. (DrillOrDrop report)

There were also complaints about vehicles waiting outside the site access, carrying loose material which was not covered in sheets and lorries not using wheel-washing facilities.

In March, Marcus Johnson, the then county council cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, told a committee meeting:

“It has to be said that, as we are discovering at Preston New Road, the applicant [Cuadrilla] doesn’t have a particularly good record when it comes to planning conditions.” Link to DrillOrDrop report

170703 pnr Miranda Cox Kirsten Buus for Reclaim the PowerKirkham Town Councillor, Miranda Cox, who took part in a lock-on protest at Preston New Road this month, said a friend had been woken by the lorries early yesterday morning.

“She saw a massive convoy coming in from Preston past her house. She was obviously very disturbed by it”.

Cllr Cox said:

“I want more robust action taken against Cuadrilla. It’s not the first time they’ve breached planning. We have got evidence of a number of issues that we feel are sufficient to warrant more robust action.

“We have got evidence from day 1 of safety issues and breaches in planning.

“We are not going to sit back and accept this. This was a more severe and obvious breach and people are really upset about it.

“Some of the other breaches would be described as low key. But they are part of a bigger picture about regulation, about safety and about the disregard that this company holds the community it has invaded.

“It’s a moral issue. They’ve come into our community uninvited, unwanted, and they haven’t got the decency to abide by the rules.”

gina-dowdingGreen Party County Councillor Gina Dowding, (pictured above) who also took part in the lock-on protest, said the delivery of the rig had been “meticulously planned” by Cuadrilla and the police.

“This is yet another demonstration of Cuadrilla’s disregard for the local community.

“I hope other councillors in other parties will call for action against Cuadrilla.”

Liz OadesAnother county councillor, independent, Liz Oades (right), who represents a Fylde ward, said:

“I am very disappointed that Cuadrilla felt justified in breaking the law in order to deliver the rig.

“The wanton disregard for the conditions bodes very badly for the future operation of this site and I am seriously worried about what will happen when drilling takes place. Will we see the same arrogance displayed the next time Cuadrilla feel that the conditions are inconvenient to them?

“For these reasons I sincerely hope that the County Council will take necessary action.”

“Minor breach”

This morning, Lancashire For Shale, (a group who, on their website, list Cuadrilla as one of their supporters) issued this statement:

“Lancashire For Shale finds it ironic that the protesters are complaining about a minor breach of the planning rules, which caused no harm and was clearly taken in the interests of saving police resources, costs to Lancastrian taxpayers and potential disruption to the local residents.

“It should also be borne in mind that the complainants are associated with the same national organisations and people who have a long running track record of breaking the law, not only in Lancashire, but throughout the country.

“Their repeated lock-ons and other actions throughout July have caused numerous problems for local residents and businesses. Enough is Enough!!!”

(29/7/17  Edit to clarify that Lancashire for Shale list Cuadrilla as a supporter of their group)


28 replies »

  1. Hahahaha what a laugh. The rig is in, done and dusted. The LCC have already provided their response and that is, don’t do it again! Not sure why the antis are getting nervous as apparently UK shale isn’t going anywhere?

    • 1,200 people called for its removal. 12 million people called for its installation. That’s democracy, folks.

        • Maybe 12 million is the collective number of fake multiple id lemmings leaping off the drill or drop cliff?

      • No that’s not democracy – that’s bullshit! When did 12 million people call for the destruction of their own world? Nobody was actually asked, or even informed. The local council and local population distinctly voted against it but the corrupt dictator of Downing Street said ‘f*** you, we’re doing it anyway’ (because her buddies stand to gain a few bucks and she’ll get a backhander). Definitely NOT democracy!

    • Earthquakes!!!! What the sort of earth tremors experienced when an HGV drives past your house? Get out of your bubble wrap suit and get some b*lls.

    • Shhhh! GottaBFibbing doesn’t know the difference between a ground vibration and an earthquake!
      Dont wake him from his PMT sleep? Ahhh look, so sweet, little hands and keyboard twitching, A bit of a pong though, must be nearly potty time!

  2. This does not instill any confidence that Cuadrilla will adhere to any of the remaining planing conditions if they have failed at the outset. Poor show.

  3. Cuadrilla has a bad track record already for breaching planning conditions, I seem to recall reading an article that before they had even commenced on this site there had been at least 19.

  4. 1200! Wow! just sooooo impressive! 142,000 people live in Blackpool alone. So 1200 people put of 2 million in Lancashire said no! Big deal. Not.
    Same situation in London, where Reclaim the Power name calling cowards chicken to debate live when they’re not having cups of tea and cake with Nanas.
    They can only muster 197! Out of a city of 8.4 million? Where are we here, London, Lancashire or North Korea? 100% is big in Pyongyang, not Preston.
    Please help these poor souls

    [Edited by moderator] The Dadaesque demonstration of disrupting traffic to protest traffic disruption is as pointless as it is ineffective,

    • 351 signatures on Backing Fracking’s letter to Lancashire Constabulary – just sooooo impressive! 142,000 people live in Blackpool alone. So 351 people put of 2 million in Lancashire said Harrumph! Big deal. Not.

      What worries me is that some conscience-free people who find meaning for their lives around fruitcake science of the likes of anonymous paranoids like Backing Fracking, get so desperate that they go full Harold Hamm and get convinced they will live in eternal wealth by drilling under a warehouse in Acton to get fifteen minutes of flame. The Theatre of The Absurd demonstration of two men and a cat (OK maybe no cat) applying to frack London is as pointless as it is ineffective.

    • [Edited by moderator]

      To the Protectors i say carry on with things,your Quest is just and i am right behind you if not alongside.The Frackers are quaking and shaking,their foundations are weak.He dares to call Reclaim The Power,why are they affecting things.

      Call me Nick and i shall return the favour ten fold my friend.But i do not mind i have developed quite a thick skin over nine years of fighting predators coming to Great Britain to prey on the people.
      To make a quick buck and sod the consequences.
      But this time is is the Environment at risk,nature,water,rivers,ditches,streams the earth.
      Tremors,Earthquakes.No matter what magnitude one is one to many.

      There is a saying it is far better to try and fail than not to try at all.
      We shall see,i have complete faith in the sleeping giants,the communities and people to rise up and see these invaders out of Great Britain.
      Its a joke thinking that they can run riot through the countryside,thousands of truck movements,chemicals,radioactive waste,all the water through villages towns,motorways using the police as a private army.
      This is a nightmare,wake up and stand alongside the protectors.
      The First Drill Is The Hardest To Stop
      Good heavens my blood pressure has risen i am going to a darkened room to lie down for a while.
      The battle lines have been drawn. Cuadrilla chose a field in Lancashire for the battlefield.
      Have they chose their battlefield well.I do not think so.

      For or against bring it on.Time will tell who will have the last dance near the Well To Hell.
      Then i shall shake hands with the infiltrators as they trudge off into the darkness.
      To be forgotten in the Mists Of Time.
      Then wait for the next predators with their tricks to arrive.

      • Excellent Damon, bravo! That small speech would not have been a miss in a theater. (I’m being serious BTW) The game is afoot, may the best, most honest and honorable people win!

  5. No means no. We the people of lancashire do not want fracking here now or ever. I 100% support the protectors and have no objections what so ever to taking alternative routes to get to Blackpool whilst they protect the gates on PNR. They are doing a fantastic job delaying cuadrilla. Thankyou each and everyone of you protectors. ❤❤

    • Rubbish, I live in Lanacshire, and I, and many people I know, support shale gas exploitation. I object to the protesters and would support a clearer definition of obstruction so the Police can arrest them and tougher sentencing.

      • If you support shale gas exploitation you cannot possibly know what it is. Get informed by people who do know – not the industry’s lies and propaganda.
        Police are people too and have their own families to protect so they are insane if they side with eco-vandals who destroy the land, poison the air, soil and water and exacerbate climate change. Thankfully they are beginning to realise this. Certainly the Welsh police are now refusing to enable Cuadrilla’s crimes.

  6. That most of the people protesting but what about the thousands for it and the priority for the country wealth +jobs

    • Most surveys say about 80-90% people oppose fracking. The minority who are for it either have vested interests or they have no idea what it actually entails.
      If you think fracking brings wealth or jobs to a country you are as wrong as it’s possible to be. Anyway, ‘jobs’ is always the lamest excuse ever. Should we bring back capital punishment just so there are jobs for executioners?

      Jobs in renewables have far better prospects, being viable as permanent positions for local people that won’t require retraining or moving house every few years. Renewables are the way of the future, while fossil fuels must be left to the past (or there won’t be a future). Shale gas has a very short-lived potential. It’s reckoned no more than 30 years at most, by which time climate change could quite possibly have tipped over the point of no return – especially if we keep feeding the cause, ie. burning fossil fuels.
      Not only does the whole industry have severe limitations but individual wells run out quickly and new sites have to be establish regularly.
      We do not have the advantage of vast uninhabited areas like they do in USA and Aussie. At some point nearly everyone in UK would live, work or go to school within sniffing (and sickening) distance of a frack rig.

      Many shale gas companies go bankrupt, get huge tax breaks, and when they do it is us who’ll have to bail them out. And it is us who’ll have to pay for the enormous clean up operations as they leave each site in a toxic state. And compensation for property devaluation. And it is our workforce having to stay off sick and our NHS having to cope with the sicknesses people who live near frack wells suffer. And where do you suppose the millions of gallons of irrevocably poisoned water that is stolen from the earth’s ecosystem will go? Why do you think it is now banned in Texas and many other US states where they’ve had most experience? Why do you think most progressive countries like Germany have banned it before it begins?
      When all is considered fracking is a very, very expensive business!

      • Well argued Bee Warren. Agree with all your points except that Texas hasn’t banned fracking. New York, Vermont and Maryland are the three States that have bans in place along with a growing number of counties in the USA. Germany has had fracking and is enforcing a ban on new fracking, but has on ongoing dispute with ExxonMobil over this.

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