Anti-frackers cry foul over Fylde drilling site

A group of protesters gather across from a new fracking site, off A583, Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

A group of protesters gather across from a new fracking site, off A583, Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

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Anti-fracking campaigners braved the elements to stage a second day of protest at the newest Fylde fracking site.

And residents have complained that shale gas exploration company Cuadrilla failed to engage with them and notify them before starting work at the field off Preston New Road at Little Plumpton.

They say that the temporary traffic lights on the A583 are just the start of road disruption across the Fylde and prove that fracking was not suitable at the sister site in Roseacre Wood.

But Cuadrilla has said it did inform residents that the work was taking place at the first opportunity and pledged to keep locals informed throughout the exploration project.

The initial ground work on the well site has been welcomed by business groups across Lancashire who believe that a viable shale gas industry will bring jobs and boost the local economy.

Barbara Richardson, from the Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “The start of work at Preston New Road came as a big surprise as the council had only given their approval the evening before. First thing the following day Cuadrilla were on the site before they had even notified the residents.

“The traffic lights are causing disruption on a major road into Blackpool but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“There will be HGVs coming to and fro from the site. It shows that Roseacre with its rural lanes is not a suitable site.

“We know Cuadrilla will be carrying out traffic studies this summer ahead of a new planning inquiry into the Roseacre application which we are expecting towards at the end of this year.”

Martyn Coyne, from Lytham, and Gillian Wood from Blackpool, who were at the Preston New Road site, said: “As locals we are shocked that Cuadrilla has started moving in with trucks and equipment, especially when two legal challenges still aren’t resolved.

“A record number of people objected to the council, and we were listened to when the council decided to not let fracking happen.”

Matt Lambert, director of public affairs for Cuadrilla said: “Keeping local residents informed about any activity we have planned is of vital importance to us.

“When we started low level work at our site yesterday we contacted local leaders of the community and elected representatives immediately.

“In addition our CEO has written to residents near the site outlining what work we will be undertaking over the coming weeks.”

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a significant day for Lancashire. The announcement means that local businesses are now in pole position to benefit from the shale gas supply chain opportunities that will ensue. The establishment of this new industry will, without doubt, have positive economic implications for the area in terms of investment, jobs and security of energy supply to our manufacturing base.

“There is a very clear moral and human interest imperative in promoting sustainable development, of which a well-run and properly regulated shale gas industry can be a part.”