Anti-fracking campaigners on the Fylde have welcomed a new report which backs the banning of hydraulic fracturing in New York State.
The document from the NY Department of Environmental Conservation looks set to turn New York’s current moratorium on the controversial gas extraction method into a permanent ban on health and environmental grounds.
Protest groups in Lancashire say that it should influence Lancashire County Council which is due to rule on two bids to test frack at Preston New Road and At Roseacre in June.
But gas industry leaders say the New York report was made using unreliable sources and that not everyone in New York supports the ban.
Anti-fracking groups are planning two protest events, the first on June 23 at County Hall, Preston from 9am as the first hearing into the test fracking bid begins. The second is from 2pm at Lytham Green on August 1.
Preston New Road Action Group today welcomed the final report into the environmental risks of fracking in New York state.
They say it highlights the risks of fracking including air pollution which could affect respiratory health, drinking water impacts from leakage of methane or fracking chemicals, surface spills affecting soil and groundwater, earth tremor risk, plus the potential impacts on community amenity including increased traffic, road damage, noise, odour and increased demand for social services.
Pat Davies, chairman of the group, said the report was important and timely and that the council’s Development Control Committee must refuse Cuadrilla’s planning applications.
She said: “The council is duty-bound to consider carefully the findings of this report, as the evidence and facts it contains show clearly why Lancashire should turn this application down.
“We want and need our local council to support local people and protect them and the environment for now and future generations. Fracking carries huge risks and no certainties. For that reason it should be rejected in the UK, as it has been in New York.”
A Cuadrilla spokesperson said: “Much of the content the New York report relied on has proved unreliable and furthermore many of the points raised would not be applicable to Lancashire.
“It is also worth noting that already 15 New York state towns that are dismayed at the proposed decision to ban fracking have threatened to secede from the state and join neighbouring Pennsylvania where the economy is booming due to the investment and jobs fracking has brought.
“Scaremongering and misinformation may win out in New York but we can’t allow that to happen in Lancashire.
“Developing natural gas from shale can and will be done safely and securely, resulting in jobs and economic benefits for the area.”