The pro-fracking group, Lancashire For Shale, which has backed Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool, is reportedly being disbanded.
DrillOrDrop understands that members were told today:
“Lancashire For Shale is being wound-down.”
It also reportedly said the social media accounts on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook were being closed and would no longer be accessible after 5pm on 31 October 2019.
DrillOrDrop has seen correspondence from the group’s chairman, Lee Petts, who said:
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the interest and support you’ve shown over the years, your attendance at our many events, and the efforts you’ve made to have your say and make the case for shale gas in Lancashire. I would be very happy to stay in touch personally, and invite you connect with me on LinkedIn here should you wish to.”
The news follows the suspension of hydraulic fracturing at the Preston New Site at Little Plumpton after the UK’s biggest fracking-induced earth tremor on 26 August.
At the time of writing, the group continued to state on its website:
“We believe that a successful shale gas industry will create opportunities, jobs and investment in the county.”
But we understand Lancashire For Shale has sought permission to pass on details of its members to the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, which backed Cuadrilla’s plans to frack in the county at a public inquiry in 2016.
The lobby group said the chamber of commerce would “occasionally engage you with shale and energy related opportunities and news in the future.”
Lancashire For Shale was formed in 2016 with funding from companies including Cuadrilla. It promoted pro-fracking news on its social media channels and website. It also hosted a shale gas roadshow in Lancashire.
During seismic activity caused by Cuadrilla’s fracking in August, tweets by Lancashire for Shale appeared to dismiss reports that the tremors were felt and cause damage.
According to reports to the British Geological Survey at least five tremors during August were felt and several hundred people said their homes had been damaged.
Lancashire For Shale was closely linked to two other local pro-shale groups, the North West Energy Task Force (NWETF) and the Onshore Energy Services Group (OESG).
DrillOrDrop reported in 2016 that the 14-members of the steering committee of Lancashire For Shale were also listed as the members of the SME panel of the NWETF.
The OESG and NWETF were listed as funders of Lancashire For Shale and the chairman, Lee Petts, lists himself on LinkedIn as a former interim chief executive of the OESG and a panellist of NWETF.
A press release to launch Lancashire For Shale said it received funding “from a “a range of people, businesses and organisations including Cuadrilla and Centrica, WJF Technical Support, North West Energy Task Force, Abbey Telecom, Stay Blackpool and the Onshore Energy Services Group”.
The North and West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce was a founder member of Lancashire for Shale. It worked with Cuadrilla to create a supply chain portal for the shale gas industry in which 781 businesses had registered an interest.
DrillOrDrop asked Mr Petts why the group was being closed now. We’ll update this article with any response.