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Farmer’s fracking alerts are a sign of the times...

Anti-fracking signs have been erected by John Tootill on the A583 between Blackpool and Kirkham. Pictured is John with neighbour Diane Westgarth.

Anti-fracking signs have been erected by John Tootill on the A583 between Blackpool and Kirkham. Pictured is John with neighbour Diane Westgarth.

Huge roadside signs have been erected by a farmer to raise awareness of what he calls the “frightening prospect” of fracking.

John Tootill, from Moss House Lane, Peel, put the billboards up by the side of the A583 Preston New Road, close to where energy firm Cuadrilla plans to drill test wells to see if the controversial shale gas extraction process is viable.

Mr Tootill, 60, owns nearby Maple Farm Nurseries and hopes the signs will encourage passing motorists to take notice and look into the subject of hydraulic fracturing.

The father-of-two said: “It’s just to make people aware and to make people think about what they’re proposing to do just a few hundred yards up the road from where we are.

“I was horrified when I found out about it simply because it affects our entire future.

“It’s about the children’s future and how safe they’re going to be. They’re entitled to breathe clean air, drink clean water and have a peaceful existence in a rural setting.

“It’s a frightening proposal.”

Cuadrilla has submitted applications to Lancashire County Council for permission to drill up to four wells at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood, near Kirkham.

Friends of the Earth said more than 3,500 people had submitted objections over the company’s proposals.

Campaign groups say fracking – the process of extracting shale gas – can lead to water pollution and other serious environmental issues.

Mr Tootill, who spent hundreds of pounds of his own money to install the signs, added: “I’ve had a lot of positive responses from people all around because some people don’t like what (Cuadrilla) are proposing to have on this site.”

Neighbour Diane Westgarth, 53, said: “It’s a very serious issue and it’s something that’s going to affect generations of people. I hope the signs work, it’s a good move.”

Cuadrilla was not available to comment on the issue.

 

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