Anti-frackers cry foul as drilling rig rolls in at 4am

The drilling rig that will be used to drill the first two horizontal wells to be drilled into UK shale rock has been delivered to Cuadrilla's shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road

Another day, another fracking controversy.

Cuadrilla’s decision to bring in its drilling rig at 4am to the Preston New Road site sparked anger and recrimination – with County Hall now investigating whether they broke planning rules.

The drilling rig that will be used to drill the first two horizontal wells to be drilled into UK shale rock has been delivered to Cuadrilla's shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road

The fracking firm effectively admitted it, saying: “With the recently increased, aggressive protest activity outside our site in Lancashire, directed by London-based Reclaim the Power, we decided, following consultation with the Lancashire Police, to take delivery of the rig in the early daylight hours of the morning.

“This was done to avoid yet another major road blockage by protesters with the attendant prolonged inconvenience to local road users and potential impacts on commuter and protester safety.”

Anti-frackers cried foul, saying it showed Cuadrilla’s contempt for agreed rules even before drilling begins.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We’re currently investigating the vehicle movements which we understand took place overnight and are in breach of planning permission.

“We are writing to the operator requiring them to put measures in place to prevent a recurrence, as well as considering what further action to take.”

Here’s your comments.

Probably just the first example of Cuadrilla demonstrating they think they can do as they wish, since LCC’s refusal of planning consent was overturned my a Minister of State.

I bet they’ll be thinking that if LCC attempt to hold them to the conditions of the planning consent, that the Minister of State will back their breach of conditions.


Cuadrilla breached the conditions of their licence. They should now have it revoked and be made to move out and re-apply for a new licence from square one. This should happen every time in my opinion.

Chickpea Football

Well done, Cuadrilla and the police, it stopped any inconvenience to the locals on their daily commute.

Bill Ellis

It concerns me that Cuadrilla are breaking regulations before they even start drilling. We know this industry is largely self-regulated, so how can we trust them to follow regulations and safety guidelines if they are bending the rules already?

Paula Lucas

Congratulations to Cuadrilla for outsmarting the protesters. While investigating the vehicle movements, maybe Lancashire County Council can investigate the refusal of the police to remove/arrest those ‘activists’ who continuously block and disrupt the movement of regular traffic, along that stretch of Preston New Road.

Paul Lamb

Makes you wonder what other corners they are going to cut to get what they want.

This should be the first warning to us all that they will cover anything up in order to try and convince people what they are doing is safe. Well it is not. Killing land, poisoning our waters, cattle, crops and murdering people is in no way safe.

Paul Walsh

Can you blame them? They have a job to do and I would assume costly deadlines to meet. That’s without to cost of taxpayers for police presence

Becky Dosky

Conservatives were voted in. Conservatives voted for fracking. We technically voted yes.

Jay Curran

I sit very much on the fence where fracking is concerned as I haven’t finished reading all the readily available information yet.

However, I detest the protesters.

When has protesting ever achieved anything? I am embarrassed by them and angered that I cannot travel freely or make appointments on time because of them. If anything they are damaging the anti-fracking movement by their sheer rudeness, ignorance and lack of decency.

Maria Derby

Well the suffragettes protesting in the early 1900s ended up gaining the right to vote because of it.

Ashley Scowcroft

I applaud Cuadrilla for doing a safe practice it prevents any protesters from hurting themselves

Dale Errock

All you saying well done Cuadrilla, have a nice death when you fall through a gigantic sinkhole

Robyn Djuritschek

Are we the only ones who can see the irony in this? Every day this week, it appears the protesters have prevented the company carrying out their deliveries during the permitted planning hours by obstructing the highway, a criminal offence even as part of ‘peaceful action’. If nothing else, it has saved a great amount of police time - which has to welcomed given the amount of officers required to police this and taken away from other duties.

Lancashire Thin 
Blue Line

So Cuadrilla and Lancashire Police were complicit in breaking planning permission ?

Leland Loyal

The ‘protesters’ break the law every time they block the highway

Conrad Turner

Can’t see a problem with them doing it in the middle of the night as it probably avoided a lot of criminal activity being undertaken by the protesters. The protesters should, therefore, be thanking the Police and Cuadrilla for protecting them from themselves.

North Shore Hostage

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