Rain failed to stop opponents of Cuadrilla’s fracking plans for Roseacre Wood from gathering for a rally outside the re-opened inquiry this morning.
The hearing, at Blackpool Football Club, is expected to sit on 10 days over the space of three weeks.
It is focusing only on highway safety. This was the reason behind the refusal of planning permission by Lancashire County Council in 2015 and the recommendation for refusal by a planning inspector in 2016. Click here for the background to the inquiry and click here for live updates from day one
Barbara Richardson, chair of Roseacre Awareness Group, one of three main parties at the inquiry, told supporters:
“National interest does not outweigh public health and safety”.
Maureen Mills, a member of West Lancashire Borough Council, said:
“Roseacre Wood is not on a main road. There is no safe route into Roseacre Wood.
“The inspector carries a huge responsibility on his shoulders. We can only hope that the inspector takes to heart the grave responsibility he has for our countryside and our lives.
“The human consequences of what is happening in this country are dire.”
Natalie Bennett, former head of the Green Party, said:
“We do not need this gas. It is not a sensible energy policy. We should be defending local lives and local livelihoods.”
Anti-fracking campaigners from Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire joined the rally. Kelly Jennings, from Woodsetts in Rotherham, is attending the hearing following the refusal of plans by INEOS to drill a shale gas exploration well in her village. She said:
“We don’t want this. It is not safe. It is not good for our communities.”
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