Protestors hold demo at gas drill showcase

Public information day about Cuadrilla drilling at its Westby site.  Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan talks to residents Pam McLaughlin and Frank McLaughlin.
Public information day about Cuadrilla drilling at its Westby site. Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan talks to residents Pam McLaughlin and Frank McLaughlin.

A BUSINESS leader has told protestors to give controversial gas drilling company Cuadrilla a chance to prove them wrong.

Around 100 people– including anti-fracking protestors – attended an information event into Cuadrilla Resources’ ‘fracking’ sites at Pipers Height Caravan Park in Westby.

Public information day about Cuadrilla drilling at its Westby site.  Pictured are Anne Fielding, Pam Foster and Ian Roberts from RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking)

Public information day about Cuadrilla drilling at its Westby site. Pictured are Anne Fielding, Pam Foster and Ian Roberts from RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking)

They were told about proposals to drill a horizontal well at the Anna’s Road site in Westby to investigate gas supplies buried underground.

Under the proposals an existing vertical well at the Anna’s Road site will be extended with a horizontal well.

The extended well would reach approximately 1,000 metres from the vertical well, more than one mile below the surface.

And Arnold Sumner, co-ordinator of St Annes Chamber of Trade, who attended the meeting, said: “I think that we have to be listening to both sides very carefully.

“There are some concerned people in the Fylde and their concerns involve not being able to get exact answer to questions.

“There are questions which can’t be answered until they’ve done that first [horizontal] well. Just do one, to see if it is successful.

“If it wasn’t successful it would just be closed down. We’re not going to know the answers until the drill has been made.”

More than a dozen display boards at the event illustrated Cuadrilla’s plans and work so far and staff were on hand to answer questions and offer more information.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources, said views on the controversial process were split.

He said: “There are people who are in favour, people who are against and people who are undecided.

“People have had really good questions and I hope they have learned a lot. I think people value the conversation as much as the information boards.”

Members of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) held a protest outside the venue.

Bob Dennett, 64, of Blackpool Road, Kirkham, a RAFF member who protested on Peel Road, said: “We are protesting and making people aware that there is opposition to shale gas extraction in the Fylde. We’ve had a lot of people driving past saying they support us.

“If it is just exploration why are they bringing in rigging? If they didn’t think they were going to get planning permission, that rig wouldn’t be up.”

Cuadrilla chief executives said any further questions or queries can be sent to the company, or directed to the freephone information line on: 0800 170 1115

The application being submitted is for drilling only. It will not seek permission to undertake hydraulic fracturing.