Protesters have reacted with delight after a town in the USA – known as one of the strongholds of fracking – has voted to ban the process.
Residents in Denton, Texas, where there are hundreds of wells, voted for a ban after complaining about fumes, noise, traffic and pollution from the process which involves injecting water and chemicals at high pressure into deep-lying shale rock to extract fossil fuels.
The Denton ban, due to start in December, has been immediately challenged by the industry in Texas.
While two other towns in the US voted for a similar ban, several others voted not to ban fracking.
Gas exploration firm Cuadrilla has applied to drill and frack up to four wells at two locations on the Fylde.
Dot Kelk, from Lancashire Friends of the Earth, said: “After years of living with the dirty fracking industry it’s no wonder the residents of Denton in Texas want to ban it from their communities.
“No community should have to live with fracking, but when the ‘home of fracking’ says no it’s a clear message to Lancashire County Council that we must protect our county from this polluting industry and reject fracking plans”.
Philip Mitchell, of Blackpool and Fylde Green Party, said:“The residents of this town were clearly angered by the way fracking has so completely changed their district for the worse, and illustrates what we’ve been telling the Government all along – that fracking will be unacceptable to the public.”
“This response is also a warning about the disruption fracking would have on Blackpool’s tourist industry.”
Pam Foster, from Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, said: “Texas is where high volume hydraulic fracturing – the type of fracking planned for the Fylde and the rest of Lancashire – began.
“Denton is probably the most fracked town in the USA. The fact that people living with the realities of fracking have voted to ban it should offer a dire warning to our Government and especially to Lancashire County Council.
“Denton residents complained of noise, disruption, constant traffic and fumes from wells and trucks operating in residential areas.
“This is what we can expect on the Fylde if Lancashire County Council passes Cuadrilla’s two current planning applications to create fracking pads at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road (Little Plumpton).”
Barbara Martin, of the Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “If they have done this in the very birthplace of fracking then it should send alarm bells ringing in every other country contemplating embarking on this damaging industry.
“The UK is far more densely populated, and highly faulted geologically, so the potential damage could be far greater here than the US.”
Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, the industry trade body, said: “The legislative process in the US, like its regulatory framework, is totally different to the UK, so there is little readthrough from what happens in a small college town in Texas to what happens in this country.
“In the UK we have one of the strongest regulatory regimes in the world for onshore oil and gas drilling, and the public can be reassured that fracking will not go forward in the UK without world class safety and environmental safeguards.”