Worried parents hand over fracking petition

Parents from Weeton St Michaels School handing in a petition against fracking at County Hall
Parents from Weeton St Michaels School handing in a petition against fracking at County Hall
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Parents concerned about plans for a shale gas ‘fracking’ site near their children’s school have handed in a protest petition to County Hall.

The campaigning group of parents from Weeton St Michael’s CE Primary School presented the paperwork to Lancashire County Council in a bid to halt plans for the gas drilling site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

The proposed site, which is to be reviewed by the county council’s planning committee in the coming weeks, is a mile from the school.

Parents believe they have not been given enough information about the process and want planners to reject the scheme over their safety fears, with more than 240 people signing the petition.

Jason McLemon, a parent and resident of Weeton said: “I feel very concerned in relation to the health risks associated with the planned fracking for the Fylde coast.

“I live in Weeton village where my children go to school. Lancashire County Council, Weeton St Michael’s School and Fylde Council have not presented the health risks in conjunction with fracking.

“As a worried parent and citizen, we need more information as to the possible future effects to health and environment.”

Shale gas fracking involves the firing of a mixture of water and chemicals underground to crack, or fracture, shale rock.

The Preston New Road site is one of two, along with a site in Roseacre, which gas firm Cuadrilla hopes to frack at on the Fylde coast.

Speaking last month a Cuadrilla spokesman said:“We would like to reassure the parents of children at Weeton St Michael’s our proposed exploration activities will not adversely impact people’s health, and that schools and other communities are certainly not at risk.

“A detailed environmental assessment of the operations proposed for the site at Preston New Road has concluded that any emissions would be insignificant. All of this has been made public.

“If the operations progress we will, alongside independent monitoring and reporting from the British Geological Survey, monitor and report on air and ground water 
quality before during and 
after operations and this will be robustly regulated by the Environment Agency who will undertake their own monitoring.”

Pam Weeden, headteacher of Weeton St Michael’s, said the school must remain neutral on such topics.

She said: “I understand parents’ concerns, and I can reassure them the safety and wellbeing of our children is our main priority.”