“Say no to fracking.” The message rang out loud and clear as dozens of residents and campaigners gathered on Lytham Green last night for the area’s biggest-ever anti shale gas demonstration.
Banners and signs were waved as campaigners from a host of protest groups joined concerned locals to discuss controversial shale gas drilling – and call on their local councillors and MP to listen to their plea for a moratorium.
The Gathering on the Green was organised by Residents Action Against Fylde Fracking (RAFF) – alongside Frack Free Fylde and Ribble Estuary Against Fracking (REAF) – and Tina Rothery, from RAFF, said the turn-out showed the level of public concern.
She said: “It was an opportunity for us to show we’re not just one or two disparate people, the community really does care and we’re not going to stop.”
Cuadrilla Resources is the company currently licensed for exploratory shale gas drilling on the Fylde – with sites at Singleton, Weeton and Westby – but the campaign groups want a moratorium on all fracking until more studies are done on the process.
And campaigners showed their opposition to the process of gas extraction – known as fracking – on everything from banners adorning Lytham Windmill to a homemade drilling rig and cupcakes flying the “stop fracking” flag.
The protest was timed to co-incide with the start of The Open golf tournament and Helen Rimmer, from Friends of the Earth, said: “We wanted to show the strength of feeling there is locally and we’ve timed this with golf to show what’s at risk.
“Tourism is important to Fylde and the scenario of 800 wells could have a hugely damaging impact.”
And resident Robin Sherwood, who was attending his first RAFF event, said: “I would like to see a moratorium until it’s all been properly investigated.
“A lot of people I know are concerned about fracking.”
One of the first groups to campaign against fracking was the Blackpool and the Fylde Green Party, and chairman Philip Mitchell added: “I’m really pleased there were so many people there – there needs to be public support and people opposing it.”
Fracking is currently suspended after earthquakes hit Poulton last year, but Cuadrilla hope to be given the go-ahead to resume exploratory drilling in Singleton in the coming months.