Block Cuadrilla’s bid for more time at fracking site – local Conservative MP urges council

Cuadrilla should be refused more time to restore its fracking site in Lancashire, the local Conservative MP has told the county council.

Mark Menzies, MP. Source: Parliament TV

In a letter to the council’s chief executive, Mark Menzies accused Cuadrilla of “playing games” and waiting for the government to lift the moratorium on fracking in England.

The planning consent for the company’s Preston New Road site expires in 54 days on 5 April 2023. By then, the site should have been restored and returned to farmland.

But Cuadrilla has said it needs more time and has applied to extend the deadline for another two years.

The company’s planning application, which will be decided by Lancashire’s planning committee, was published last week. DrillOrDrop report on the application details

Letter from Mark Menzies to Lancashire County Council chief executive, Angie Ridgwell

Mr Menzies said in his letter:

“It is my view the company has had ample time to carry out the necessary decommissioning and restoration works. It has not done so, choosing instead to wait and hope for a change in policy and a relaxation of the regulations under which fracking can be carried out.”

But he said the government position was clear: “fracking cannot and will not go ahead”.

He said ministers had taken an evidence-based approach and concluded that “this method of gas exploration cannot be conducted safely and within the regulatory framework agreed by the industry”.

Fracking was suspended at Preston New Road in late August 2019, when Cuadrilla’s operations caused an earthquake measuring 2.9 on the local magnitude scale. It was the largest fracking-induced earthquake in the UK.

Since then, the site near Blackpool has been largely mothballed.

Mr Menzies said Cuadrilla was responsible for the failure to restore the site:

“Cuadrilla understood the terms of the consent granted, including its expiry date and should have act accordingly.

“It has gambled and lost and should now face the consequences of its corporate choices, including any necessary enforcement action relating to breach of planning conditions.”

He urged the council to “send a clear message to refuse an extension to the planning consent” and “hold Cuadrilla to the terms of the original planning permission granted”.

He said:

“I have had enough, and so have the people of Fylde, of the games being played.

“The winds are not going to change, fracking in Fylde is not going to be permitted to resume and it is time Cuadrilla did right by our communities, decommissioning, restoring and vacating the site at Preston New Road without delay.”

Mr Menzies also asked the council what assurances it had received that Cuadrilla could restore the site and what guarantees the council had sought to ensure that the cost of decommissioning and restoration would not fall on the public if the company ceased trading.

The MP has urged local residents to object to the application. In a letter to them, he said:

“Fracking in Fylde has run its course and should be consigned to the history books.”

He said:

“The company must not be relieved of its obligations and should be subject to full enforcement action should it be unable to vacate Preston New Road within the timescale set out in the current planning permission.”

DrillOrDrop invited Cuadrilla to comment.

12 replies »

  1. This is a copy of the email sent to the council last Wednesday. I think it’s fairly self-explanatory.

    Dear Sir,

    I feel compelled to object in the strongest possible terms to this application.

    As a resident of Roseacre I experienced 6 years of dealing with Cuadrilla. In that time the company proved itself to be a mendacious procrastinator and serial bare-faced liar. Cuadrilla is contemptuous of the law; any conditions imposed on its operations are seemingly either ignored or given the most cursory lip-service.

    As an operator the company is utterly incompetent. The only area in which it has a 100% success record is that of breaking every undertaking given in order to secure planning and environmental consents.

    When a 2.9 mL earth tremors caused extensive property damage. Cuadrilla’s response was to suggest that someone had dropped a watermelon. Despite more than 100 properties sustaining damage and Cuadrilla’s early promises to rectify such problems, it has to date denied all responsibility and refused to pay restitution for all damade caused. In a few cases it has made “goodwill” payments of £200 – £700 whilst denying any culpability.

    This is the company that failed to resore the site in line with its original permission. Despite being granted extra time it has still failed to restore the site and is now making spurious and nonsensensical claims in order to defer its obligations yet again.

    Residents of the Fylde have been living in a state of nervous uncertainty since Cuadrilla first appeared in 2011. Over the intervening 12 years Cuadrilla has drilled 3 wells, caused 2 government imposed fracking moratoria and been the instigator of several large earthquakes and innumerable more minor tremors. These movements have caused the closure of 2 wells with the third having a question mark still hanging over it.

    The time has surely come to say No More. No more keeping our lives on hold. No more uncertainty. No more false promises and broken assurances. No more waiting for the next Cuadrilla-induced catastrophe. No more Cuadrilla spokespersons misrepresenting facts. No more being ignored as our lives are torn apart by deceptions, defamation and lies. No more……..

    I beseech you, please do not countenance this unnecessary. unwanted and unwarranted application but refuse it, wholly and wholeheartedly.

    Yours sincerely

    Jules Burton

  2. Cuadrilla / AJ Lucas are not going to wind things up willingly.

    Here is what they said in an Update to their shareholders this week:

    “We are evaluating the full range of options available to us to protect the substantial investment we have made in the United Kingdom, in good faith, over many years and intend to maintain an appropriately scaled and cost-effective presence there until these forecast developments occur.

    The Company is also investigating the potential to generate organic cashflow from its existing assets in the UK which, if successful, would provide our UK operations with its own revenues.”

    Sadly though LCC are pretty toothless so they will probably get away with constantly delaying here, just as they did at Banks.

  3. Excellent response but it shouldn’t be necessary, these companies think they can ignore the law and laugh in our faces.

  4. Well said Mark Menzies. There are many Conservatives that oppose fracking.

    And as for AJ Lucas, if there is a change of government at the next GE, all opposition parties, including Labour have said they will ban fracking.

  5. It is a National disgrace to allow the importing of LNG from USA when we have trillions of £ of it ourselves. Net zero by 2050 is rediculous and impossible when you look at the £ trillions needed, that we haven’t got, the raw materials, that are not available even for this country,let alone worldwide, and not enough labour and skilled workers. 600,000, neat pumps a year?
    Will need a workforce of 25,000 at present we have 1,300 We can’t even find staff for unskilled work. EVs are also rediculously expensive, and will go higher as demand for lithium and copper increases . We will need gas for at least 20 years until nuclear comes through and then another 10 years transition. When will people realise the demand for fossil fuels will continue for a generation. We should be fracking not closing wells that are doing nothing.

  6. “The winds are not going to change”.

    Oh yes they are-according to the scientists.

    How surprising, a local MP campaigning NIMBY. Perhaps he should have a word with the Chancellor, who did a similar thing. The result? Still authorized locally, now worrying about how to control the balance of payments and where to gain taxation in UK to help people pay their energy bills.

    Local MPs do what local MPS always do, those in Government have to make the difficult decisions. Not so difficult now according to the Tracker Survey. Large majority not against, even without any clarity provided regarding local incentives, or any scheme to skim off any revenue nationally and return to the general population.

    • MARTIN ,

      Let JACK help you understand British politics.

      Regarding your snide use of the word ” NIMBY ”

      The local MP is correctly doing his job by representing the views of his constituents . Nobody in that area wants Fracking .

  7. So, the correct word is that people in that area don’t want fracking-hmm-not in my back yard, Jack.

    Of course the local MP is doing what local MPs do, as they don’t have to make any decisions on behalf of the nation.

    You don’t understand the English language Jack. You have not asked everyone in that area what they want. So, just get that sorted and then you may be able to move on to understand British politics. Not holding my breath though, after your previous comments about the NT where you had difficulty understanding that organization and who may or may not support.

    • MARTIN ,

      Now you bring up the topic

      Let JACK help you understand the English language… There are many errors in your above post .

      FIRST of all,

      So the correct word is that people in that area don’t want fracking , hmm-not in my back yard Jack.


      MARTIN , your bitterness towards the National Trust is legendary ….. I am delighted they gave a FIRM two fingers to ALL Fracking activities on their land .

      OH and MARTIN , still waiting for some evidence to back up your previous comments .

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s