Government coughs up more cash to repay Lancashire police for fracking costs

Lancashire has been given another £1.28m money to cover the cost of policing the county’s fracking operations.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 27th March 2020, 2:57 pm
Updated Friday, 27th March 2020, 2:58 pm

The Government has agreed to reimburse the force, after the Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw asked for £1.5m.

He said Operation Manilla, the policing of the Preston New Road fracking site and protests, has cost Lancashire Constabulary almost £13m since it began in January 2017.

The Government, which overturned decisions by Lancashire County Council to refuse fracking at the site, has now chipped in £7.166m. That represents just 85 per cent of the total cost.

Police removing locked-on protesters at the Preston New Road fracking site at the height of the protests before a halt on fracking was announced by the Government in November 2019

Clive Grunshaw said “I am grateful for the reimbursement from the Home Office which is thanks to the ongoing lobbying of central government from not just myself, but from cross party support from Lancashire MPs.

“This is positive news for Lancashire residents who should be reassured that the money is being returned and will now be used for the benefit of the wider police service in the County, especially in the current climate of uncertainty around coronavirus.

“The decision to frack in our county was borne in Whitehall after the judgement made by Lancashire County Council was overturned.”

Home Office rules state Police and Crime Commissioners can only claim for additional costs of a police operation – these are any costs where officers are working beyond plain time such as overtime and mutual aid from other forces.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw

Frack Free Lancashire spokesperson said: "It's long overdue, but absolutely right that the government have reimbursed Lancashire Police for the costs of policing fracking protests in Lancashire.

"Central government must consider the impacts of their decisions when overruling local communities on matters as serious as fracking.

"The policing bill at Preston New Road is demonstrative that the government should simply not be able to dictate in a top-down manner. Local government knows what is best for their residents and communities and their final say deserves to be respected."