Gas campaigners plan village camp

Cuadrilla Gas site near Singleton

Cuadrilla Gas site near Singleton

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A CAMPAIGN group has announced plans to take over a village field and stage a protest against a controversial shale gas drilling company.

National organisation the Campaign Against Climate Change are hoping to attract members from across the UK to the first ever “Camp Frack”, to be held in Singleton in September.

The three-day event is described as a “symbolic peaceful protest” against Cuadrilla Resources, who are currently drilling for gas at Grange Road in the village.

Camp Frank organiser Phil Thornhill, the campaign’s national co-ordinator, said: “It’s designed as a camp to bring people together and have workshops about the expansion of fracking for shale gas in the UK.

“It’s a peaceful protest against the fracking activities and we’ve chosen Singleton as a symbolic location, that’s where there’s a sign of the drilling.

“The event will manifest our concern as a climate campaign and of all the people who are concerned about climate change about the fact shale gas is the wrong turning to be taking at this point.

“It puts us back at a time when we should be making the necessary conversion to renewable energy.”

Cuadrilla’s Singleton site – where exploratory drilling is taking place – and a second rig at Preese Hall, in Weeton, are the first in the UK to drill for shale gas.

The sites haven’t been without controversy, and hydraulic fracking has been temporarily suspended at the Preese Hall site while links to recent earthquakes are investigated.

Local Green Party leader Philip Mitchell said: “Many people in Singleton have told me they wish they had known more about shale gas and had a chance to oppose it before this development was allowed.

“The Camp will be an opportunity for Fylde residents to come and see why and be prepared to oppose it”

But Singleton Coun Maxine Chew has criticised those behind Camp Frack for worrying local residents.

She said: “There are a few residents who are a bit anxious and this sort of information feeds their anxiety.”

Camp Frack is set to run at an undisclosed location in the village between September 16 and 18.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “Cuadrilla have been very open about their work and have welcomed honest and accurate debate around shale gas and the benefits it can bring to the area. We hope that this event will take an accurate and balanced view of shale gas exploration and not resort to the distortions and inaccuracies that some activists have.”