Lancashire fracking support group to be “wound down”

Lancashire for Shale

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 launch

Lancashire For Shale launch in 2016

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.

1908 LfS tweets.jpg

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.

27 replies »

  1. Good riddance! This industry-backed and industry-funded pro-fracking lobbying group spoke only for the industry’s interests and the fact it’s shutting down shows that the industry has seen the writing on the wall. There’s only so many times you can spin bad news about fracking in Lancashire before you realise that you have comprehensively lost the argument. I say again – good riddance and don’t come back.

  2. It is also interesting to note that the site also appears to have gone down. It has been displaying a blank page for some weeks now.

    Although there was (of course) no connection at all between the two sites, both used the contentious and costly Nationbuilder platform.

    Perhaps the Rev Roberts who admins and provides content for the Backing Fracking Facebook group can fill us in regarding the disappearance of that website ?

  3. Interesting. A fossil fuel industry funded lobbying group disbanded for lack of funds and lack of tangible results. It’s a small but positive start that indicates that there is, at long last, movement in the right direction with AGW. Sadly, it’s not fast enough and there’s still a vast amount of O&G cash being spent on lobbying to maintain and grow the fossil fuel industry.

    • Refracktion doesn’t have an “inside man” but he does have eyes and he can see what is happening.

      Actually I was rather hoping that one of you [edited by moderator] might be in the know and be able to give us more detail , but it seems not!!!!

      Ah well. 😉

  4. I doubt this group has been pulled because of a lack of funds. It will be interesting to see if they answer DoD’s question why?

    Perhaps those connected to Westminster and the O&GA, such as Cuadrilla and their PR lobbyists, know the government is withdrawing support for fracking. And whilst a Conservative government may not publicly ban fracking or admit they no longer support fracking, they can, as in Scotland, stop it by policy and investment decisions. Simply refusing to relax the TLS alone may be enough in itself to halt fracking.

    The Conservative’s own research has shown low public support for fracking even in Conservative constituencies, the YouGov survey on behalf of several universities showed public opposition to fracking at 56%. An earthquake of 2.9 along with all the other negative impacts that fracking causes means opinion is unlikely to change. And then there are questions about the actual amount of recoverable gas being much smaller than originally estimated, there are concerns about fracking in former mining areas and how U.K. geology “behaves”. So no guarantees.

    The climate change window is closing on fracking. Imported gas through pipeline from Europe has lower emissions than U.K. produced shale. The fracking industry compare itself to LNG but any government with a half decent energy strategy should be able to displace LNG imports by other means, for example increased energy efficiencies. Renewables are becoming cheaper and cheaper and storage technologies advancing. Yes, we will need gas for some time to come but gas consumption is falling, supply is plentiful and we already import gas with lower emissions than U.K. shale would have.

    I watch with interest.

    • KatT-it may have missed you out, but there is a General Election on the horizon. ALL parties will be mothballing anything even slightly contentious. The Greens will avoid economics, Labour will avoid reality, Lib Undems will avoid students. Just maybe Tories will put fracking down the road for a while, together with Heathrow expansion?

      A different slant upon things, but I suspect mine is nearer the mark. Yours may offer a bit more of a comfort blanket.

      • Martin, I’m very well aware there is a general election but at least you are acknowledging fracking is unpopular at long last.
        Given the reality of climate change and the fact the government is set to breach the next two carbon reduction targets and if it continues in the same way it will fail to meet the target of net zero by 2050, kicking the can down the road is becoming far more difficult. Even this government can see more needs to be done to comply with statute and that voters expect it. Plus fracking is no longer as attractive, the hype and the gloss has worn off. Even the more Conservative press is now reporting along these lines.
        Facts Martin, reality had dawned.

      • The Greens will be mothballing economics? How ignorant can one be.,,,,,

        You appear to know less about politics that the political and economic reality of fracking. And that is saying something.

        • Really Alan?

          I await with great interest and delight to see a re-run with Andrew Neill!

          I note the lady is still in UK. She has had time to get a grasp of the subject. A chance for redemption is there. However, trying not to be cynical I would be surprised to see that event repeated.

    • Totally agree KatT – a perfectly rational assessment. I didn’t mean this lobby group was disbanded for lack of funding per se. I strongly suspect that a combination of public opposition and the results of Cuadrilla’s actions have meant that the various funders have decided they are now wasting their money – particularly now it appears to be a vote loser. I also strongly suspect that the active members of this lobbying group will not be the sort of people to expend unpaid time, without the prospect of a good return on their investment (time or money). However, there are still multi millions to be made from the fossil fuel industry and its promotion and continuation. Until that changes, lobbying (which includes climate change denial) funding will remain proportionate.

  5. The pro frackers make lots of general comments about what the effects of tremors “should be” – generalities rather than any concern for individuals and realities. This is how it works isn’t it, deny deny deny……

  6. Odd time to stop supporting a company with such amazing claims.

    Access to trillions of therms of cheap safe gas. 64,000 well paid jobs. A company with the ability to stop the need for importing gas.

    Nothings changed.

    If these claims came from an inexperienced company then I could understand why you would drop them. But not when the company you are supporting has a wealth of experience to fall back on. 3000 drilling and fracking developments Cuadrilla claim. They must know their stuff.

    Then there is the concerns of Russian gas. Mr Egan states we get half our gas from Russia. That must be correct and therefore a worry to pro frackers who are concerned their boilers might not fire up this winter.

    I think the pro fracking supporters need a rethink. With so much at stake the industry needs support from the public.

    They should regroup and spend hundreds of unpaid hours helping Cuadrilla in their amazing quest to make Lancashire one of Europe’s largest gas fields and keep those 64,000 well paid jobs a reality.

    • John, or it would seem jump ship and work with greener alternatives and all the jobs that greening the economy will create, as per the link to the newspaper article! They will no doubt argue continued support for fracking and the UK needs a diverse energy supply. But we can all read what winding LFS signals and the UK already had a diverse and secure energy supply without shale gas , as the government itself states. 😉

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

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