Protesters set up anti-fracking camp on Fylde farm

The anti-fracking camp off Preston New Road
The anti-fracking camp off Preston New Road
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Campaigners arrived at dawn to set up a camp to protest against potential fracking on the Fylde.

A group of mainly women pitched tents and atatched notives to gates at the field off the Preston New Road close to the World of Water Aquatic Centre.

They aim to stay on the field for at least a week after which a planned Reclaim the Power protest is likely to arrive in the area. This could see up to 1,000 anti-fracking protesters from the Fylde and around the country including people who took part in the Balcombe and Salford protest camps last year.

The protesters, dressed in pinafores and headscarves to signify they were mothers and grandmothers concerned about issues surrounding fracking, arrived at dawn, wrong-footing the security guards camped on the farm earmarked for development by shale gas industry operator Cuadrilla which has submitted a bid for planning permission to drill and frack for shale gas there.

One of the women Bex Fitton, from Fleetwood Folk Say No to Fracking, said they wanted to show that local people were supporting the protest camp due on August 14.

She said: “There are about 25 of us here today from groups such as Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, Fleetwood, the Preston New Road Action Group as well as people from Preston and Longridge who believe fracking will cause great damage.

“We are not being aggressive as some people have said, we are just mums and grandmothers who want to protect the countryside for our children and grandchildren.

“They say fracking will create jobs but we believe that it will harm agriculture and tourism and jobs will be lost there. We just want to show the strength of opposition and show Lancashire County Council that people don’t want planning permission to be given for test drilling.

Tina Rothery of Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking said: “The shale gas industry and Cuadrilla in particular are not to be trusted with the health and well-being of our children. We do not want them here and so are gathering to make sure we are heard and we are calling others to help us amplify this. ”

A spokesman for a Cuadrilla which wants to test for gas in the area said: “This morning’s action by protestors involved trespass on a farmer’s field which is near our proposed exploration site, causing inconvenience to his business and stress to him and his family.

“Our planning applications are currently subject to public consultation through which people are able to make their views known. Cuadrilla has consistently made clear that we support the right to peaceful protest, but there are legal and proper ways of making your point without targeting local farmers in this manner.

“We are now focussed on supporting the landowner and his family.”

A spokesman for the North West Energy Task Force, a group of businesses which supports fracking said: “We are deeply concerned by reports that protesters have trespassed on land owned by a local farmer.”