Drills on their way as direct action fails

Mark Miller at the Cuadrilla test fracking site.

Mark Miller at the Cuadrilla test fracking site.

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POLICE have moved in on anti-fracking campaigners who blockaded a drilling rig to prevent it from moving to sites in Lancashire.

Around 20 people from Frack Off descended on Cuadrilla resource’s rig at its pound in Chesterfield after it was revealed the company could commence drilling at its Westby site by July.

The blockade came as work on a geology survey in Kirkham was halted on Friday following complaints regarding noise and vibrations from local residents. Work resumed yesterday morning.

Elsie Walker, 27, from Frack Off, said: “The scale of development proposed is being completely ignored.

“Cuadrilla wants to drill 800 wells in Lancashire alone – they are one company going after one type of gas – there are several companies going after several types of unconventional gas in the UK, all potentially on a similar scale.

“If this goes ahead, we will witness the total industrialisation of the British countryside.”

A spokesman from PR Marriott Drilling Ltd, owners of the Chesterfield site, said: “On Monday morning around 20 environmental protesters illegally blocked access to the site.

“Despite the best attempts of the environmental protesters to damage this British business, access to the site has been gained and work has all but returned to normal while we wait for the protesters to leave.”

Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals underground at high pressure to shatter rock formations and release gas.

Cuadrilla have been investigating a number of sites, including Preese Hall near Weeton, Grange Hill at Singleton and Becconsall near Hesketh Bank.

Mark Miller, chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources, said: “Frack Off are losing the argument. They resort to the same old direct tactics, with the same old faces appearing each time.

“We would rather concentrate on continuing to communicate on every aspect of our operations with the local communities we work within, than get involved in arguments with environmental protesters – most of who don’t live anywhere near where we work.”

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‘We don’t need regulation. . . we need fracking ban’

A STORMY public meeting was held on the issue of fracking in Wrea Green last night.

Around 60 residents packed into Wrea Green Institute to learn more about the controversial gas drilling process as part of the meeting organised by Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF).

Mike Hill, an independent engineer who has advised Fylde Council, delivered an extensive 45 minute presentation called Regulating The Frackers.

He explained although he was not against the process, he was against it being carried out without strict regulations and monitoring.

Mr Hill described the process in great technical detail and called on residents to write to their MPs to make their feelings known.

He said “If things carry on the way they are without regulation, there are serious risks and you have to decide if you are happy with this.

“Personally, I’ll not be happy to raise my family in an unregulated fracking zone.”

But some members of the audience said they did not want regulation as they rejected the idea of fracking altogether.

David James from Poulton said: “A lot of people didn’t want to hear about the need for regulation, they simply don’t want this at all.

“I get the impression fracking is a done deal however, in which case regulation is needed.

“But self-regulation for these companies is just nonsense” .

Neil Donnelly, a Kirkham resident, added: “It’s good to see people taking such an interest, I think they were surprised by how many drill sites there could potentially be.

“I’m disappointed our MP Mark Menzies doesn’t seem to be coming out against fracking.”

Tina Rothey from RAFF said: “In every meeting we hold, residents seem better informed and more angry. We have been let down severely by Government in terms of regulation for fracking.

“It feels like no one is on our side.”

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