Lancashire's police commissioner vows to lobby for more central Government cash to cover the near £13m bill for fracking

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire has said he will continue to lobby Government to pay more towards the cost of policing the county's fracking site.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:30 pm

Clive Grunshaw said it was unfair for the county to pay the nearly £13m cost as communities and councils had rejected planning permission for shale gas extraction , but only central Government's support had allowed exploratory drilling to go ahead.

The cost of policing the Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton where Cuadrilla drilled and fracked two wells hit £12.929m, with the police being reimbursed just over £7m by the Government.

A heavy police presence was maintained at the site from January 2017 to December 2019, when fracking was shelved by the Government after a series of minor earth tremors, including a couple which were felt by residents in the area.

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Lancashire Police dealing with protesters near the Preston New Road fracking site

Cuadrilla has since removed much of the equipment from the site and the protesters, many of whom were living in nearby makeshift shelters have also left.

Mr Grunshaw said: "The decision to frack in our county was borne in Whitehall after the judgement made locally by Lancashire County Council was overturned.

"The expectation on Lancashire Constabulary to cover the costs of this decision was not a fair deal and I have consistently called on the government to reimburse Lancashire the full costs of policing fracking in the county.

"We were able to claim a victory for Lancashire residents in claiming just over £7m back from the government, however it is still concerning that there is a £5m shortfall at a time when money is tight.

"I will continue to call for a fair deal for Lancashire Police and be on the side of Lancashire residents who did not want fracking and should not have had to pay for policing it."