Cuadrilla seeks to extend protest injunction at Lancashire fracking site – and applies for fracking consent

180321 PNR Emma Thompson Refracktion10

Actor Emma Thompson at protest outside Preston New Road, 21 March 2018. Photo: Refracktion

Cuadrilla confirmed this morning it was taking further action to prevent protests outside its site at Preston New Road near Blackpool.

The company also said it had submitted an application to the Energy Secretary for hydraulic fracturing consent at the site. If approved, this would be the first high volume frack in the UK since 2011 and would be the UK’s first ever frack on a horizontal shale gas well.

In a press statement this morning, the company and landowners had filed papers to the High Court to replace the injunction currently in place at the site. A hearing is due to take place on 31 May 2018 in Manchester.

The campaign group, Frack Free Lancashire, described the development as “desperate measures” by Cuadrilla and said protests would continue.


Cuadrilla said the proposed injunction would replace and extend the duration of an existing injunction , granted in March 2017, forbidding trespass at the site and surrounding farmland. The new order seeks to prohibit what is described as unlawful obstruction” of the site entrance and the adjacent main road.

If approved, it would prohibit lock-ons”, where protesters chain themselves to objects or together to prevent access. It would also prevent climbing onto, or slow walking in front of, vehicles accessing or leaving the site.

The draft injunction also seeks to prevent protesters combining together to commit unlawful acts to “injure or cause damage to Cuadrilla”.

Unlawful disruption of Cuadrilla’s supply chain by, for example, blockading supplier properties would also be covered by the proposed injunction.

There have been daily protests outside the Preston New Road site since work began in January 2017. Lancashire Police said 341 people had been arrested up to March 2018. Campaigners have also protested outside Cuadrilla suppliers.

Today’s development follows similar applications to the courts by Ineos and UK Oil & Gas.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said:

“Whilst we fully respect the right to peaceful and legal protest, unfortunately over the last 18 months we have seen an extraordinarily high level of unlawful protest activity.

“This has been directed at and impacted not just our workers but also our suppliers and other law abiding citizens using the main road passing our site for their normal daily activities.

“Such unlawful conduct cannot be permitted to continue, and we hope that if we can secure this injunction it will deter this unlawful behaviour which is reckless and continues to cost local taxpayers millions of pounds.”

In the court papers, Cuadrilla said it feared “an imminent escalation” of protests in June 2018. It says the campaign group, Reclaim the Power, is planning a fortnight of direct action between 11-24 June against the fracking industry, supply chain and political support.

The hearing is scheduled to take place at Manchester High Court District Registry, Civil Justice Centre, 1 Bridge Street West, Manchester M60 9DJ at 10:30am on Thursday, 31 May 2018.

All papers regarding the application to the High Court are at this link

On the application for fracking consent, Mr Egan said:

“Following the Government’s very recent announcement which underlined the national importance of shale gas we are very pleased to submit our application for hydraulic fracturing consent to the Secretary of State. We are now very close to demonstrating that Lancashire shale gas can be commercially developed in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. We look forward to receiving consent to progress from the Secretary of State at the earliest opportunity.”

“Desperate lengths”

A spokesperson for the Frack Free Lancashire campaign group said this morning:

“Frack Free Lancashire is wholly unsurprised that Cuadrilla need to resort to the desperate lengths of an injunction that assaults our basic human rights of meaningful protest, under sections 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The only surprise is that it’s taken them so long to attempt to buy the law.

“When you have forced a dirty industry past all manner of democracy and the refusal of local communities, protest and dissent is expected.

“This industry and its inflictors are both toxic and unwanted. Protest will continue, regardless of the fracking industry trying to manipulate the law to benefit their own ailing operations.”

Other reaction

A spokesperson for Lancashire For Shale said:

“We welcome today’s news that Cuadrilla is seeking to provide greater safeguarding for local businesses that want to play a role in the developing shale gas supply chain.

“Over 700 local businesses have expressed an interest in supplying the industry, and, already, Cuadrilla’s activities at Preston New Road have seen nearly £9m spent with Lancashire firms. The protection that this injunction would provide for local businesses will allow even more to engage without fear of being targeted.

“A successful shale gas industry will be a boon for Lancashire, bringing new contracting opportunities, boosting the jobs market and stimulating inward investment. We need to do everything we can to maximise the potential for local people and businesses to benefit, and an injunction will be a great help with that.”


78 replies »

  1. I can’t see any issues with injunction not being granted. A good move with the summer hols coming up.

      • Howard, I was not aware that the right to protest superseded other human rights including the right to work a lawful job, the right to run a lawful business, the right to not be threatened and abused, etc. Please explain why protesters should be allowed to trounce on the rights of others. It must have something to do with the fact that protesters understand what is best for society and they need to be allowed to act any way they feel is appropriate to pursue their agenda, correct? The ends always justify the means?

        • Maybe the small problem of producing an unwanted, and defiantly not needed, fossil fuel which will ultimately contribute to climate change and kill the human race; not a bad reason? Perhaps it’s time WE took an injunction against such industries?

          • Unless you live in a cave Sher you use fossil fuels to stay alive… Gas in the U.K is needed more than ever…

            • You must have a big windmill to generate enough electricity to heat your house and provide energy for cooking. What do you do when the wind doesn’t blow?

              “Demand should be generated on power available” – well that’s the point, there is lots of power available from that 10 million year old compost heap we call shale rock. Let’s use it.

            • ‘well that’s the point, there is lots of power available from that 10 million year old compost heap we call shale rock’ – sadly that’s not true, but you know that. It’s a finite resource, dirty, is a big source of methane [bigger headache than CO2] not easy to extract without industrial process, shakes the earth, pollutes the planet; pointless

              One day you will understand what ‘power’ is; less is more. An intelligent person would realise this.

              Think what this means

              ‘Power should not be generated on demand; demand should be generated on power available’

              and you will realise why I don’t need a huge wind turbine, and why we don’t need to burn all this gas….

          • But perhaps you do use electricity, well if you’re contributing to this discussion you must be. Roughly 40% of the UK’s electricity is generated from the burning of gas.

            • err, no INEOS; keep up. Yes I use electricity, powered by the wind.So you see all this bullshit is hysterical to me. You say constantly we cannot do without gas, well bros – ta dah; yes we can, and do. Sorry to burst your proverbial balloons and lame arguments…..

              Power should not be generated on demand; demand should be generated on power available.
              Nighty night.

          • Sherwulfe can you explain how gas is “not needed” given that it heats 80% of homes, provides 60% of cooking fuel directly, and generates 40% of our electricity.

            • Okay, so let’s get to the nitty gritty, although I don’t have great hopes you will actually take any of this in, because all you want to do is sell gas, but will give it a go.

              1. The thread of the discussion, and has been all along, is that we do not need shale gas; it is dirtier than coal and has no social licence [whatever the blue conmen say]

              2. There is a small matter of climate change acceleration through the burning of fossil fuel; this lovely planet we live on has a balance mechanism that is being screwed up by the 0.01% of mammals [humans] through the excessive burning of fossil fuels.

              3. We have the technology to produce electricity using machines that harness the wind and sun; renewable power, can be used over and over again and do not take millions of years to replenish. Unfortunately for the oil and gas barons this would mean relinquishing control of the masses; a scary though for those control freaks.

              4. If every household in the UK is insulated to the highest standard and has its own power generation [solar and house battery/wind for those able] we can cut the demand for ‘national’ power substantially. Maximising renewables enables us to burn some gas but only as a minimum. This stretches the reserves for 1000s of years instead of decades [best scenario for keeping the temp below 1.5 degrees)

              5. Managing power consumption via changes in lifestyle will eradicate the need for fossil fuel burn. In the UK we are primarily a service economy; why are we travelling to and fro to buildings when we can work at home? Why do we have the illusion that more money makes us more powerful/safe, when all we need is a shelter and to be able to grow our own food? What is the point of chasing heaven when we have Eden right here and now; we would see this if out eyes were not so tight shut and covered with pennies for the ferryman. Power should not be generated on demand; demand should be generated on power available.

              Shalewatcher. To save the human race we need to get clever, right here and now; tomorrow is too late. Pursue the money dream covered with oil and gas and we die. Use your intelligence and we not only survive, but live without conflict, no more oil wars.

              I understand this may be hard for you to take in, scary even to think that people could get on together and look after each other [see how communities are rallying against you]. But happen it must or it will not end well even if you have a great big yacht.

              I am often asked the details of my lifestyle. All I can tell you is that you have to find your own way; if it’s too difficult to create you own clean power switch to a company that can do it for you, for now. Cut out the waste, dump the plastic, save your money and use it to support your family.

              Mass migration will be the consequence of staying on the fossil fuel train; indeed it has already begun. Remember, one day the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich.

          • Well you are using a plastic keyboard and most of your electricity is provided by gas… Next…

            The amount of electricity you use and plastic tap tap tap you keep churning out you have a bigger carbon footprint than most…

  2. Always the option that would be followed with fracking date approaching. Can’t really claim Cuadrilla have not given every opportunity for peaceful protest to continue, but the number of arrests and cost of policing just show the antis have abused the situation.

    • Greedledum and Greedledim

      So feared the publics fury

      That In Junk Shams were the only thing

      That could buy off the secret jury

      For Greedledum said Greedledim

      Clodzilla must forcefully impose their monstrous frack

      But the public knows that In Junk Shams

      Are no more than corrupt scams

      And will never make us crack

      Our protest grows in leaps and bounds

      And crush their In Junk Shams

      We will route all the frackers so,

      And all on Drill Or Drop will know

      That threats are nothing new and they to hell will go.

  3. All these will be zero all for nothing if flow rate is not commercial viable and reserves estimate is small.

    • You have a valid point TW; it’s sad that it comes to this, but ultimately the ponzi scheme will fail, sadly many will suffer as a result.

  4. I wonder if we will see Emma Thompson (Greenpeace) or Friends of the Earth stand up and challenge this – I suspect not. They more interested in using the Anti fracking campaign when they can as an opportunity to beg for some money off Joe Public.

  5. Both Theresa May and Claire Perry, the newly appointed Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, are graduate geographers. For them to be supporting fracking makes no sense. Are they are under the thumb of multi billionaire Jim Ratcliffe or others with influence from the very rich list such as John Whittaker of Peel Holdings. Time for Theresa and Claire to dig out their college textbooks and have a quiet few days refresh reading. Then confess their mistakes and order this dangerous and ridiculous experiment to stop immediately. Surely their courses included physical and environmental geography.

  6. No Muriel, they are simply from the two thirds who do not oppose fracking in UK. They fail to reach the level of intelligence that the antis possess, but that is the majority within the UK.

    Are the rest of the two thirds on the rich list too? Strange how someone who is calculated as the richest man in the UK, and self made, could get so far when acting so stupidly. Need a few more like Mr. Musk-15 years without a profit, or paying a dividend to his investors, and about to ask for another $3 billion! Now, that is “alternative”! This time, next year Rodney.

    • MURIEL…….. you are being fed a 100% , 24ct RED HERRING by Martin when he makes his point that two thirds , do not oppose fracking in the UK.

      These are the current facts ….

      18% ….. support Fracking

      32% ….. OPPOSE Fracking

      The rest DO NOT have an opinion either way , because basically , they do not know enough about the process…. ( That I can assure you will change over time.)

      AS you can see, Martin is being very crafty with his choice of words , his above post leaves you thinking that those who oppose fracking are in the minority ….. ( His words are spoken just like a true , professional, fully paid up, industry PR salesman )

      Dont take my word for it , here is the government’s own survey results which some would say may possibly of been skewered in favour of the government own pro-fracking stance, wherever possible.

  7. Sherwulfe-no need to be so self critical. Maybe if you added some content there would be no need?

  8. That’s an interesting point Muriel. In fact England has led the world in developing the study of Geology – going back to James Hutton and John Whitehurst of the late 1700’s – with stratigraphy and the ‘deep time’ approach to sedimentation etc. Talk to anyone knowledgeable about geological formations in this country and they’re probably roll their eyes when viewing the ‘layer cake’ diagrams of the hopeful shale gas promoters … the UK strata most unlike the layers found in some of the most productive formations in the States.

    You have to wonder how/why this whole drive is being goaded along, and by whom.

  9. The only difference In this injunction from Cuadrilla’s previous one is that it seeks to prevent “unlawful activity.” The law as it stands is already perfectly capable of dealing with unlawful behaviour, if it is proved in court to be unlawful. What Cuadrilla are attempting to do is to prevent a citizen’s right to protest and be judge and jury and convict people before they have been tried. Not conforming with an injunction is a civil offence. Who is to oversee this The police have told me they will not be involved in civil matters.

    • Pauline Jones, it has already been proved in various courts across the land, that lock ons, slow walks and vehicle surfing is against the law.

      This injunction seeks to prevent further lawbreaking, but not prevent peaceful protest.

      The activists seem to have forgotten that you can protest peacefully as is your right. But when you stray beyond that, then that right is superseded by the laws of the land.

      • There is also a Climate Change Act which require the governance to reduce carbon emissions; which law are we going to put on top?

        • The UK cut its power station carbon emissions by 25% in only 12 months, simply by switching from coal to gas.

          • Not enough John, that was the quick fix; the next stages are much harder due to the lobbying from the oil and gas companies…look it up.

            Oh and by the way, the coal has been replaced by renewables, not gas.

            I am always confused to understand why we need to generate electricity from gas when we have machines powered by wind and sun that can do it much more efficiently and over and over again, unlike gas which is a once only use; up in a puff of toxic smoke…..

            Time to get intelligent, or carry on regardless…

          • How are the increased renewable sources factored out of that value John? Also are you saying all coal sources were shut down and completely handed over to gas in only 12 months. It isn’t clear at all what this is based on.

      • John Harrison. Exactly. As I said the law is already perfectly capable of dealing with unlawful protest and those who are protesting clearly understand that. So why do Cuadrilla or any other private company need to issue an injunction? This is purely an intimidation exercise, designed to intimidate, threaten and deter people from exercising their Human Right to protest. I’ve said it before. Be careful what you wish for. If private companies are allowed to use their huge wealth and lobbying power to prevent the democratic right to protest against them, don’t for one minute think this will stop at the fracking industry. Next time it could well be something that you are vehemently opposed to.

        • Pauline Jones, yes the activists fully understand the laws and consequences, that’s why none of them dare cross the painted line in the bell mouth.
          It also explains their actions today with the caravan, which will result in bail conditions with a 1 mile exclusion from Cuadrilla’s site.
          The perfect excuse to not risk falling foul of the new injunction, whilst still remaining warrior heroes in the eyes of their gullible following.

      • As I said, if an action on public land rather than land held by Cuadrilla is proved to be unlawful, it will be dealt with by the laws that already exist. There is no need for Cuadrilla or anyone else to have an injunction to prevent unlawful action.

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