Move to ease gas drill fears

Coun Paul Hayhurst
Coun Paul Hayhurst

A COUNCILLOR who lost the fight against a village gas well more than 20 years ago has moved to reassure concerned rural residents.

Elswick has had a working well site for the past 21 years - and local Coun Paul Hayhurst reckons most residents don’t even realise it’s there.

Cuadrilla Resources announced last week they want to build 10 drill rigs across Lancashire and extract shale gas using the controversial hydro-fracking technique.

And while the reserves under Elswick is not shale gas, Coun Hayhurst revealed the area was fracked when the drill rig was first installed.

He added: “Nobody wanted the rig, there was lots of opposition at the time but I’ve not had one complaint since it started.

“Every man and his dog was up in arms about it.

“They were using the same fracking process and there was lots of opposition.

“But the fact is they got planning permission, went ahead and I’ve not had one complaint.”

Cuadrilla could create around 1,700 jobs locally if they do press ahead with commercial drilling on the Fylde Coast.

And they have promised campaigners their drill sites will blend into the countryside.

The company is now responsible for the Elswick well, and Coun Hayhurst said the site – which lies just outside the village in Roseacre – is barely noticeable.

He added: “Most people in Elswick don’t even know it’s there.

“It’s behind a hedge and the only thing you see is the sign for Cuadrilla. There are a few small buildings and gas is collected and made into electricity on site.

“We’ve never had a problem with it.”

Cuadrilla Resources has two exploratory rigs at Singleton and Weeton and also has a licence to drill at Westby.

It is not yet known where the drill rigs would be sited if the company presses ahead with commercial drilling.

Mark Miller, the company’s CEO, said: “You can’t see the well at Elswick from driving down the lane.

“We didn’t drill the one at Elswick, we bought it about two years ago and it’s been quietly feeding gas into the national grid.”