Campaigners: Stop gas drill

CAMPAIGNERS claim controversial gas drilling could have a devastating affect on the Fylde coast.

Blackpool and Fylde Green Party organised a meeting at St Annes YMCA for people to sign a petition which aims to stop gas giant Cuadrilla Resources drilling on land across the area.

The company has already begun operations in Preese Hall, near Weeton.

It is also carrying out tests in Singleton and now has permission to expand its operation on Anna's Road, Westby.

The firm uses a technique known as fracking to shoot water, sand and chemicals deep underground to extract shale gas.

It has already caused massive controversy across the Atlantic where a film on the subject, Gaslands, won the Sundance Film Festival.

Blackpool resident David Proctor told the meeting he had researched the drilling technique and compelled everybody to fight the plans.

Mr Proctor, of Ord Avenue, Marton, added: "Fra-cking uses many toxic chemicals and the devastating effects have been shown in America.

"The film Gasland shows taps producing flames rather than water, and tells us how animals have died because of contaminated water. Would we want this to happen here? This is death we are talking about."

Gaslands was made last year by Pennsylvanian director Josh Fox, who refused to sell his land to a natural gas company,

after discovering families in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah had suffered chronic health problems because of contaminated air and water.

The gas being targeted by Cuadrilla in Lancashire is 8,000 to 10,000ft below ground level, in rock which runs from Pendle Hill near Preston to the Irish Sea.

Michael Hill, who moved from Miami to Garstang, said: "I know what this has done in America.

"The drilling near Blackpool has been all over the national press, and so it should be, because it will have a massive impact.

"There are around 600 chemicals used in fracking and I urge everyone to fight this."

Blackpool Airport has already submitted a complaint to Lancashire County Council to object to the process, which could be "hazardous" to flights in and out of the Squires Gate hub.

Cuadrilla's plans are currently undergoing a Government Select Committee review and objections must be filed before January 13, which was the reason for the Green Party putting the petition together at the meeting.

Chairman Philip Mitchell added: "The risks involved are still unknown.

"Do we want to take these risks?

"There are several hundred inquiries into the fracking process in America, which shows what a controversial subject it is."