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MP's anger over frack decision

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden, second left, who has been an opponent of fracking near Blackpool, at the Preston New Road drill site to support campaigners
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden, second left, who has been an opponent of fracking near Blackpool, at the Preston New Road drill site to support campaigners

A Blackpool MP has blasted the decision to give fracking to go-ahead near the resort without the chance for MPs to question the decision.

And Blackpool South's Labour representative Gordon Marsden rubbished the fracking company Cuadrilla's claims that it has boosted the local economy by investing £10m and creating employment locally.

Gordon Marsden said: "Cuadrilla has put out this boastful statement the day after the decision to let fracking go ahead, which was pushed through Parliament with no opportunity for discussion on the last day before recess.

"In the first place, £10m is not a lot of investment in Lancashire when compared to the cost of policing the operation and the cost to the local economy caused by the inconvenience.

"What is more revealing is the pitiful number of employees used by them at the Preston New Road site, given the claims they have made about fracking generating 100s of jobs.

"They have 24 people now while they are doing the drilling, but once they start fracking it is a more automated process and they will need fewer employees, apart from perhaps security.

"It is a very small figure and completely out of proportion with what had been been promised from fracking in the past.

"They make a big thing about using Lancashire contractors, but I have been informed that they are only actually using five from Lancashire, this is documented on in section 2, page 15 of the injunction paperwork. Some of the major hauliers are from Scotland.

"The majority of the engineers seem to have come from America, Australia and New Zealand and the rig is from Europe.

"It is clear that the government has pushed this decision out at this late stage deliberately without chance to scrutinise it. What it means is now that Cuadrilla can start fracking in August and Parliament will not have the chance to scrutinise it until it is under way. It is a complete disgrace."

But Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan hit back.

He said: "“It is a great pity that the MP for Blackpool South cannot welcome a very significant investment in the local economy that has the support of the local Chambers of Commerce and many of his constituents.

"His constituency and Lancashire in general is in need of additional investment and it must be clear to him that the £10m of investment to date and over sixty local jobs from just two exploration wells is merely a downpayment on what the shale industry could bring to Lancashire if it goes into production.”