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Fracking is top of agenda

A fracking site. Below: Residents attending a meeting at Freckleton Sports and Social Club in August.

A fracking site. Below: Residents attending a meeting at Freckleton Sports and Social Club in August.

Villagers will be given the chance to air their views on the controversial process of fracking at a public meeting.

Freckleton Parish Council says it is not aware of any “groundswell” of opinion either way on the issue in the village, and hopes to ascertain public opinion more at the meeting.

Ken Armistead, clerk of the council, said: “The council felt it appropriate that we have a public meeting just to see what people’s views are and see if we can answer any questions that they may have.

“We have had feedback from one or two people and the situation’s been explained to them, but there are people against fracking and people for fracking.

“We’re not aware that there’s a groundswell one way or the other.

“Depending on the views of the residents the council will decide what action, if any, we can take.

“Being a parish council we’re very limited as to what we can do.”

The controversial process involves extracting gas by deep drilling and the use of high pressure water and chemicals.

In July, energy company Cuadrilla hosted a drop-in session for residents to allow them to ask questions about its proposed well on Clifton Marsh.

In August, more than 80 Freckleton residents gathered at the village’s Sports and Social Club to hear claims about the risks of fracking from several of Lancashire’s anti-fracking campaign groups.

Representatives from the Friends of the Earth, Ribble Estuary against Fracking, Frack Free Fylde, Defend Lytham and Residents Action on Fylde Fracking hosted an hour long talk about Cuadrilla’s proposal.

The proposed well, which would not br fracked, would allow rock samples to be extracted from below the surface for analysis with specialist tools lowered into the well to examine the rock layers, before being retrieved to the surface.

However, this meeting will see residents speak purely on their own behalf without input from either anti-fracking campaign groups or pro-fracking companies.

Mr Armistead added: “We’ll know more really after we’ve had the meeting to see which way the people of Freckleton are on the issue.

“The parish council has got no opinion nominally on this, and hasn’t expressed a view.

“The last thing we want is pro or against fracking groups coming to the meeting and us not being able to listen properly to the residents of Freckleton.”

The meeting will be held at Freckleton Village Hall on Wednesday January 8 from 7pm.

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