Early morning return of Cuadrilla’s fracking equipment prompts local complaints

pnr 190716 Ros Wills

Fracking equipment entering Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site early on 16 July 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

A convoy of 26 vehicles delivered fracking equipment to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool at about 4.45am today. 

The company said it opted for an early morning delivery to “minimise disruption for everyone using Preston New Road”.

Cuadrilla said last week it intended to frack the second well at the Preston New Road site by the end of August 2019.

Projects and operations director, Laura Hughes, said in a statement:

“A range of specialist equipment has now been safely and effectively mobilised onto site. This was intensely managed by the operational team at Cuadrilla to ensure safety – not only for our own team but also other users of Preston New Road.

“I’m pleased to say the remobilisation was carried out without incident or inconvenience to our neighbours.”

But the delivery has prompted complaints from local people. One neighbour of the site and a member of Preston New Road Action Group said:

“The noise was horrendous. I’m not easily scared but around four this morning the dogs were in melt down. The noise, which I now know was from the site, was absolutely outrageously loud. I know sound is amplified at night but, after living here for 25+ years, this was horrendous.”

One resident recorded the convoy going past her house at dawn. Another, Richard Marshall, said:

“It’s not true that Cuadrilla brought in the convoy without neighbours being disturbed. People were disturbed and frightened by the noise. We are angry and upset for them and all of us.”

There were also complaints about heavy-handed policing. Yesterday, four people were arrested outside the site.


Policing the arrival of a convoy of fracking equipment at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 16 July 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Once again, we’ve seen gratuitous violence and aggression from Lancashire Police in order to facilitate a private company’s deliveries.

“Campaigners were pushed into bushes and restrained whilst the police closed the road both ways to help Cuadrilla get their kit on site.

“One woman needlessly arrested yesterday, was restrained with a wrist lock on the floor sought medical attention this morning before making a full complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

“Cuadrilla does not yet have permission to proceed with fracking at PNR2 as their interpretation of the geology is currently under legal challenge by Preston New Road Action Group against the Environment Agency.”

Jamie Peters, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:

“Cuadrilla are going to try and start fracking again, showing complete disregard for a community that has resoundingly rejected them time and time again.

“When Cuadrilla fracked last year there were 57 earthquakes in two months, and they had to stop work five times because of the size of the earthquakes.

“The writing is on the wall for this polluting industry as the world responds to the urgency of climate breakdown. It’s time Cuadrilla pack up their bags, clean up the site and move on, for the sake of the community and the planet.”

Cuadrilla is allowed to bring in convoys of up to 30 lorries nine times during the project under revised terms of its planning permission for the site at Preston New Road near Blackpool.

The traffic management plan (TMP) specifies that deliveries should be from 7.30am-6.30pm only. But it says vehicles can arrive or leave outside these hours in an emergency or “to ensure the continued safe operation of the facility”.

The TMP also specifies a “preferred route” for deliveries to be used by all heavy goods vehicle during all stages of the project. The route can, however, be changed if there is an obstruction or threat to safety.

According to the TMP, traffic should leave the M55 motorway at junction four and travel east along the A583 to the site. This morning’s convoy travelled west along the A583.

Under the terms of the planning permission, the company has until November 2019 to drill, frack and test four wells at Preston New Road.

Fracking at the first well, from October-December 2018, induced more than 50 small earth tremors. At least two tremors were felt by local people. Cuadrilla confirmed in data released earlier this month it had stopped fracking prematurely four times because seismicity exceeded the 0.5ML limit in the regulations.

The pro-fracking group, Lancashire for Shale, said in a statement today:

“In recent months, there has been endless speculation in some quarters that suggested Cuadrilla had given-up on its ambitions in Lancashire.

“Today’s remobilisation of fracking equipment shows this is not the case and that it remains committed to producing natural gas here whilst creating jobs and supply chain opportunities.”

DrillOrDrop invited Cuadrilla and Lancashire Police to comment on complaints about the convoy and policing. This article will be updated with any response.

25 replies »

  1. One neighbour of the site and a member of Preston New Road Action Group said:

    Biased by being a member of Preston New Road Action Group, and a convoy of 26 lorries this must be terrible considering you would have though it was the

    “The noise was horrendous. I’m not easily scared but around four this morning the dogs were in melt down. The noise, which I now know was from the site, was absolutely outrageously loud. I know sound is amplified at night but, after living here for 25+ years, this was horrendous.”

  2. Hmmm. I recall living in East Anglia and we used to get the huge US transport planes flying low overhead in the early hours-one after another. We could get out of bed and trot outside and wave to them with our outside light on, so they could see us. So low, we could see the crew in their cabins, and they would wave back.

    My parents had the same in N.Devon during low flying exercises. There it was RAF Hercules.

    Think a few in the Fylde need some of that Frackin Sense that is supposed to calm anxiety-but is in short supply!

    Perhaps that would ease further arrests for allegedly assaulting emergency workers.

    • The Gazette report was totally wrong. The two older ladies were arrested,and charged with obstructing a police officer. The two younger people were arrested and charged with breach of the peace – swearing- which judges have ruled is not a crime. Anyone who was there or saw the video evidence will confirm that these were trumped up charges, involving very brutal police handling and the serious injury of one of the women.. The police however achieved their aim of having these 4 young people bailed away from the site. Very convenient when the convoy was imminent . These people may have been charged but they have not been tried and it’s up to the judge to decide not you or the Blackpool Gazette.

  3. Ah! Happy days they must have been Martin? Now try and imagine that you didn’t agree with their activities and that you didn’t want them there… but no… you can’t can you? That’s the problem.

    • Interesting that you can make decisions for me DD.

      You have a problem, I do not.

      However, if you want to continue to represent the people of the Fylde (or a small minority of them) as so sensitive to issues that the rest of the country take in their stride and deal with, then all you will do is suggest there is a pocket of people who are not representative of the country. Maybe they do get in a real state of terror at midnight at New Year as well. If that is so, and you continue to push that do not be surprised when it receives the disbelief from the more tolerant majority who decide it is just an unrepresentative pocket.

      Yes, they were happy days. The disturbed sleep was a bit of a negative (which we made a positive for the kids) but then the kids ended up with all sorts of benefits by having US wives on their school PTA organising all sorts of extras. Perhaps those around PNR who have received payment from Cuadrilla could invest in some ear plugs? They could also use them when antis are screaming insults at the police.

      • Yes professor Collyer, indeed. Your lack of imagination and those you support who are similarly intelectually gifted are a problem that I and and the rest of the planet have to endure the consequences of on a daily basis. Aah! Those benefits from the US wives – scraps lapped from the yankee military table – you have such pride and imagination. Maybe you should move to the US – Professor Trumps policies for his fellow elite seem like a perfect fit for you. Oh, sorry. You can stay here and get the same encouragement from Professor Johnson. You must be as happy as a pig in fracking mud in the current planetary economic climate.

        • Oh dear Doctor, I think you need some medicine!
          The “current planetary economic climate”? You mean the one that shows for the first time in human history there are more, so called, middle class than poor? Yep, very happy about that, and recognise that the majority have desires to spend that disposable income they now enjoy that their parents did not. If you have any doubts take a walk around London, check out the tourists and where they are from. There are also stats. that show 82% of the worlds population have yet to step on a ‘plane, so wait a few more years and you will see an even clearer picture.
          Ahh, the benefits from the US wives. Those who would do the work when the UK wives would not. Yep, happy to go along with that for the benefit of the children. I don’t believe in sacrificing children’s pleasure to fuel some sort of dogma.
          You seem to have a hatred for certain elements of humanity yet you pontificate about the interests of the rest of the planet[edited by moderator]

  4. I really cannot believe that those responsible for the health, wealth and happiness of the residents of Lancashire, that’s Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency and Lancashire Constabulary have together conspired to enable a speculative fossil fuel extraction outfit with a 100% record of failure and deceit to restart operations which are contrary to our Human Right to live peacefully without fear!
    There will be more major trouble and serious legal repercussions from this situation
    which is a National Emergency, never mind Brexit and the upcoming Parliament Summer Break!

    • peter k roberts: together who have conspired? To allow you to have the energy, health and happiness you have today!
      What a wally statement! Fossil Fuel extraction outfit with over 100% failure?, fear of what! Prove it!
      Fracking oil and gas in the UK is not going to have a detrimental effect to climate change compared to the continuous growth of developing nations wanting what peter k roberts and his anti friends want but with out the scare on the eyeline! The truth is england is incredibly densely populated, the likelihood of disturbing the neighbours is apparent, but the anti’s are too stubborn and ill understood to realise that progress cannot be achieved without innovation and a slight risk in every eventuality of how humanity prospers, some some consider england to be third world?
      We brits are inventors, innovators and pioneers in technology and industry, the fracking industry will prove that, peter k roberts what is your innovative contribution to the world. Fester and Rot?

  5. Legal challenge RUTH? I thought the nimby group sent a letter to the EA only. Which they probably filed in file 13. Is this the legal challenge?
    Cuadrilla can spend their money how they wish. Moving equipment on is good planning and no doubt they have had the green light already.
    It may be that this time Cuadrilla will go after full costs if they are delayed by a mischievous legal threat. The more equipment on site the higher the cost.
    It is amazing that this appears to have caught the antis by surprise. Where were green peas. EOI and ER Shen you needed them? Well At least we know where ER are – blocking streets with silly boats….
    Finally something interesting happening again. TLS / fracking / earthquakes/ Blackpool Tower coming down and no drinking water in the Fylde. INEOS going flat out making plastic bottles for PETER and his comrades.

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

  6. Paul Tresco,
    [Edited by moderator]
    People living on the Fylde are once under imminent threat of harm from any of the causes only too clearly demonstrated on List of the Harmed.
    You and your family don’t live around here so leave us alone please.

    • Peter – yet more scaremongering nonsense – [edited by moderator] There is zero chance people on the Fylde will get harmed by fracking.

    • As you should be aware PETER I do live fairly close to you albeit NW if you but still above Bowland Shale. The big difference between us is that I know what I’m talking about. I am one of the only people on DOD who has actually managed large scale hydraulic fracture stimulations in oil and gas wells. Not shale but pretty tight limestones and dolomites. I have also supervised, planned and executed several wells onshore UK including in Lancashire. I have nearly 40 years experience in the upstream oil and gas industry. How about you?

      I also have extensive experience of our planning system having participated in several public inquiries as a Rule 6 party.

      So I am able to comment on these issues. You are not under any “imminent “ threat and your water is perfectly okay to drink as is mine as long as you are okay with what UU adds to it.

      Your scaremongering does not help your nimby cause.

  7. I don’t know why you bother posting Eli-Moth, [edited by moderator] As for fracking becoming an energy boom for Britain – keep dreaming. With an imagination that fertile you should be able to amuse yourself for hours.

    • So Jules to counter the above debate?,
      Please provide your areas of experience and Facts, in fracked gas not proving energy security for in the UK and a relative Boom!
      And the name Goth, Jules.

    • Jules – maybe you could educate us and tell us some of the “facts” that you’re thinking those in favour of this great industry can’t comprehend?

  8. You don’t know and you guess, Jules.

    With that admission, perhaps not wise to question why others post. Maybe, it is just a case that they can, so they do-just like yourself.

    • Last ditch attempt to squeeze a bit more money out of the mug punters. Operation Boris grovel will fail. Donald setting his sites to deliver his LNG to our rapidly expanding UK terminals. Not much money in selling us US fracking equipment and expertise. Much more to be made out of us buying his super cheap LNG lose making surplus.
      UK shale gas. Not viable, never could have been but a great hype and money transfer industry.

        • ‘John – you don’t know very much about who finances Cuadrilla do you John?’

          Presumably the same people who own Cuadrilla Holland, Cuadrilla Poland, Cuadrilla Hungary. Please present all the successful developments of Cuadrilla in these countries. I can only find failures but as you think you are in the ‘know’ present the list.

          Thought not.

          • John – my point is that they are not “mug punters” investing in any of this. You seem to be implying that the investments are little old ladies putting in their investments to things that will make them rich. The only ones who have seem to have lost in that way are the employees who have taken share options as their bonus instead of cash. Most of the other investments (riverside holdings, Centrica etc.) are in the business of asset management where they balance risks across a wide portfolio.

  9. Ahh, the author of “loads of cheap oil and gas around the world”, just before the Beast from the East showed there was not!
    We must recognise that level of economic awareness Judith.

    But on the subject of complaints-and Gold Standards-it appears there is an “alternative”. We can enjoy a switch to a Tesla that according to production whistle blowers are often secured by electrical tape and missing nuts, bolts and lugs in a frantic bid to meet production targets amid $30k fines for safety issues in one small part of the production plant. Shares were down another 1% by mid day in New York on the news. And, they still can not make a profit.

    Lot of preaching, but not a lot of practising amongst some.

    Seems that arithmetic and science are still giving some problems. Good job Cuadrilla are helping to fund improvements for youngsters in that area.

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