An estimated 350 people attended an event near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site to discuss the impacts of fracking on residents.
The capacity audience, at Ribby Hall holiday village near Blackpool, heard from the Texan former oil and gas worker, Sharon Wilson, who now works for the US environmental group, Earthworks. She described the loss of water and air quality in her community. She said fracked gas was not a bridge fuel to a low carbon economy.
There were also presentations from Dr Tim Thornton, a retired GP from Ryedale, where Third Energy wanted to frack but has not yet had permission, and David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at University of Glasgow.
Professor Smythe said he had identified the critical Wakepark Fault, from a 3D geological survey, which had been missing in Cuadrilla’s documentation. But he said the regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority had withheld the survey, at the request of Cuadrilla, and the report was released only following legal action.
Dr Thornton said disadvantaged and young people who live near shale gas sites were at great risk because, he said, the government did not intend to carry out baseline or ongoing monitoring of the health impacts of residents.
There were additional presentations from local anti-fracking campaigners, Susan Holliday, chair of the Preston New Road Action Group, Barbara Richardson, of Roseacre Awareness Group, and Maureen Mills, of the Moss Alliance.
“Ministerial intention and action are two separate things”
The event’s organisers, Concerned Residents of Lancashire, said:
“It was highly beneficial and excellent timing to hold an event of this nature.
“From what we have heard and experienced so far, it seems as though ministerial intention and ministerial action are two very separate things: the climate crisis will not be solved by the introduction of a new and dirty fossil fuel industry.
“We can’t have daily reports of climate breakdown and an air pollution crisis, and carry on with fracking, regardless.
“Our health and community safety must be paramount.”