Award for Lancashire business group’s pro-fracking campaign

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Chamber of Commerce chiefs in Lancashire are celebrating after scooping an award for their pro-shale gas campaign.

The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce won the Most Effective Campaigning award at the British Chambers of Commerce annual Chamber Business Awards.

The award came for the chamber’s support of the controversial fracking industry in the county.

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Never in our wildest imagination did we expect the twists and turns that this campaign presented since the Chamber took a position to support the establishment of a shale gas industry in Lancashire.

“Our support was based on the premise that if shale extraction is found to be commercially viable in Lancashire then we want local companies to be at the forefront of supply chains, and local residents to have first choice of employment opportunities. “

Ms Murphy added: “The Chamber believes that it is our responsibility – with partners – to ensure that the economic benefits are felt here in Lancashire.

“But our campaign went beyond a campaign. It has tested our grit, determination and values in standing up for the rights of businesses and workers to pursue new ventures in a responsible manner.”

The Chamber’s campaign was driven by the competing campaign against the shale gas industry in Lancashire.

Cuadrilla’s gas site in Preston New Road, near Blackpool, has brought protestors from far and wide.

The judges praised the Chamber’s teamwork and outreach to local and business communities.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla said: “We’re delighted that the British Chambers have recognised the achievement of Babs Murphy and her team in tenaciously supporting Cuadrilla and other Lancashire businesses.”