The Green Party Co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, said today he would be raising community concerns with Cuadrilla about what would happen in an emergency at the company’s fracking site.
During a visit to campaigners outside the Preston New Road site, he said:
“Local people are not being told what to do in the event of an emergency.
“Anywhere else, in any other site or public building, you would have these procedures in place and people would know what to do.
“This is not happening here and it is simply unacceptable.”
He also said people wanted to know about the future of fracking at Preston New Road.
“Are Cuadrilla going to be here five years, 10 years, 20 years.
“Are they going to make this, as I think has said, the fracking capital of Europe.
“If so, local people need to know about it. If they’re not, the investors need to know about but someone doesn’t seem to be telling the whole story.”
Mr Bartley is due to meet Cuadrilla executives at the site tomorrow. He said other community concerns included the impacts of fracking water and what would happen to the waste.
Earlier, Mr Bartley had accused Cuadrilla of “bully tactics” and “curtailing dissent” in seeking an injunction against fracking protests at Preston New Road:
“The frackers have tried to stop peaceful protest in Lancashire – but we will not be silenced. Fracking is a dying industry and it is time the Government finished it off for good.
“Across the country we have seen injunctions rolled out in a bid to curtail dissent, from the fracking site at Preston New Road to the tree campaign in Sheffield. But we will not give in to these bully tactics.
“Fracking for gas will wreck our climate targets and risks contaminating local environments. The community in Lancashire said no to fracking here and it is an honour to join them on the front line of this fight.
“Instead of pursing the dirty, dangerous fracking industry the Government should be investing in cheaper, cleaner renewable energy for the future.”
Cuadrilla issued a statement this afternoon responding to Mr Bartley’s comments. The company’s Chief Executive, Francis Egan, said:
“Our recent High Court injunction has had, and will have, no impact on legal protest. It is in place to protect the legal rights of our workers, suppliers and the people of Lancashire who have been impacted in going about their daily business by an extraordinary level of unlawful protest at Preston New Road over the last year. Illegal protest, peaceful or not, should not be allowed to prevent law abiding workers doing their daily job. The right to work is as important as the right to protest.
“Mr Bartley has requested to visit our Preston New Road site and we have gladly agreed to that and look forward to showing him how shale gas will be safely and responsibly explored for and produced.”
The interim injunction, which was awarded by Judge Pelling QC on 1 June, prohibits obstruction of the Preston New Road Highway or the shale exploration site entrance and also prohibits direct action such as blockades, lorry climbs or against named suppliers to Cuadrilla. Breaching a High Court injunction carries very serious penalties for those found guilty.”
Legal papers on the injunction, including the court order, are online at: