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Fracking race ‘not a battle between us and Preston’

Rob Green, head of enterprise and investment at the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company.

Rob Green, head of enterprise and investment at the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company.

A business chief has rubbished claims there will be a straight ‘shoot out’ for jobs between Blackpool and Preston should fracking come to the Fylde coast.

Rob Green, head of enterprise and investment at the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company, which is part of Blackpool Council, has made the claim after Energy Minister Michael Fallon suggested one of the two could host a shale gas hub comparable to

Aberdeen when he visited the area last month.

Mr Green attended a Shale World conference on behalf of the council on Tuesday and Wednesday in Birmingham.

He said: “Certainly I don’t think there’s a battle between Blackpool and Preston at all.

“I think there will be several hubs (for shale gas) in the UK. Clearly there is an opportunity for Lancashire to take the lead in that. It would seem appropriate if we’re the first ones to be involved that we should be the ones to help the industry move forward.”

Energy firm Cuadrilla hopes to find out whether it would be feasible to carry out the process at Roseacre. It also has a test drilling site at Little Plumpton.

The Shale World conference saw representatives from local authorities meet companies involved in the process.

Mr Fallon suggested, when he visited the Fylde coast, that Preston or Blackpool could be a centre for jobs for a new fracking industry.

In March, Preston Council declared it wanted to be known as a “frack friendly” authority in a bid to become a base for the shale gas industry either regionally or nationally.

Mr Green said: “My role is to promote the credentials of the Fylde coast but we have to recognise the whole of Lancashire and the North West will be hosting a supply chain.

“We won’t be having everything in one area.”

He added: “We have to be prepared to act.

You can’t wait for these things to land in your lap.”

Fylde Council did not send a representative to the conference.

A spokesman for the authority said: “This event may or may not be useful but we do have access to decision makers anyway.”

 

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