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Fylde fracking firm in £100,000 community handout

Cuadrilla chief executive officer Francis Egan
Cuadrilla chief executive officer Francis Egan

Shale gas exploration firm Cuadrilla has said it has handed out all community benefit payments to residents living near its site at Preston New Road.

The company said 85 per cent of residents entitled to a £2,000 or £150 share of the £100,000 community payment for the second drill well had applied.

It added that unclaimed money, £13,000, will be given to local projects via the Community Benefit Fund.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “We are delighted to have made these payments directly to local householders after listening to their views on how the community payment should be distributed.

"It was encouraging to see so many of those entitled for a share of the £100,000 applying, with over 240 households local to the Preston New Road exploration site benefiting.

"Together with over 50 local jobs created and nearly £5m being invested to date in Lancashire, our community benefits initiative is another important example of how we are committed to putting Lancashire first from our shale gas exploration.”

In August 2017 Cuadrilla paid £100,000 for the first exploratory well at its Preston New Road site to an independent Community Benefit Fund, managed by the Community Foundation for Lancashire.

This fund will distribute money to community projects local to the site. Following the appointment of a community panel the first decisions about how the funds are spent will take place in early spring 2018.

But protesters said many people had refused the cash on principle.

A spokeswoman for Frack Free Lancashire said: "Cuadrilla's latest PR promotion is only a fraction of the reality: a large percentage of residents refused to engage with Cuadrilla and their cash-for-acceptance scheme, and did not accept any form of payment.

"The distrust that the local community holds for Cuadrilla grows daily. No amount of glossy press releases will detract from that."

READ MORE: Drilling work starts and community fund founded