Time right for fracking talks

Coun Liz Oades

Coun Liz Oades

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COMMUNITY leaders in rural Fylde want Government departments to attend a high level fracking meeting.

Dozens of residents were turned away from a meeting with controversial shale gas drilling company Cuadrilla Resources and Government officials in St Annes last week – and now Fylde councillors want to host their own event to make sure no-one misses out.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies joined shale gas drilling firm Cuadrilla’s development director Mark Miller at Kirkham’s community centre on Friday, but councillors said there is demand from residents for a bigger event locally.

Coun Liz Oades said: “The meeting went very well but people said afterwards it was not long enough.

“So we’ve promised we will arrange a meeting for next month and ask Mr Menzies to get the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency, who were all at the St Annes meeting, for Kirkham.

“The people who were at our meeting on Friday had concerns.”

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Kirkham Town Council refused to allow Cuadrilla onto its land during the firm’s recent geo-physical survey to establish what lies beneath the Fylde coast.

But Coun Oades said that did not mean the council was against the controversial fracking process, which sees water and chemicals injected into the ground at high speed to release gas.

She added: “We try to be very neutral but we are listening to our residents and their concerns and we are trying to address them.”

And Cuadrilla has re-iterated its offer for residents to visit one of its sites – in Weeton, Singleton or Westby – ahead of another meeting.

A spokesman said: “We were pleased to have the opportunity to listen to the local people in Kirkham and to provide information about what Cuadrilla does and how we operate safely.

“As part of our commitment to engaging with the communities in which we work, we have met with a large number of people at events and we look forward to continuing this in the future.

“If residents would like to visit one of our sites to see for themselves how we operate, they can call our Freephone information line, operated on weekdays between 9am and 5.30pm, on 0800 170 1115 or visit our website at www.cuadrillaresources.com.”

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