Fylde anti-frackers hand in petition at Downing Street

Fleetwood MP Cat Smith helps ant-fracking protesters hand in a petititon at Number 10 Downing Street

Anti-fracking campaigners handed in a 150,000 strong petition to the Government asking it to reject two bids to test for gas on the Fylde.

Lancashire protest groups were joined by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to deliver the request to reject Cuadrilla’s bid to drill at sites at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood .

Members of Frack Free Lancashire, Preston New Road Action Group and Roseacre Awareness Group were joined by Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith, who said fracking had no “democratic mandate” in Lancashire, following the county council’s decision to reject the planning bids last year.

The Government has said, however, that it would fast-track fracking and Communities Secretary, Greg Clark will make the final decision on whether energy company Cuadrilla will be allowed to frack for gas following a public inquiry into the county council’s rejection of test fracking at the two sites.

MP Cat Smith said: “Fracking is not the answer to the question of climate change and how we meet that challenge, nor does it have a democratic mandate in Lancashire.

“When I have been asking questions in Parliament in the past few weeks about the risk to jobs in tourism, no one has any answers to that either. ”

Pat Davies, of Preston New Road Action Group, said: “We are asking Mr Clark and Mr Cameron to recognise our democratic right to have the decision to reject fracking at this site made by Lancashire County Council upheld.

“As residents, we have followed due planning process and our community has made it clear there is no social licence to proceed here.”

Barbara Martin, of Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “Roseacre Awareness Group is humbled by the strength of public feeling and would like to thank the many thousands who took the time to sign.

“This is not just about fracking and fossil fuel extraction; it is about local democracy and local communities being empowered.”

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla said: “As with previous petitions organised by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth I very much doubt the majority of the signatories claimed are from people in Lancashire or indeed all based in the UK.

“Our right to appeal is a fundamental part of the same local democratic planning process which, just last week, allowed Friends of the Earth to legally challenge a decision of planning permission granted for fracking by North Yorkshire County Council.

“These processes are available to all and it is not for people or organisations to cherry pick just the parts that deliver the outcomes they like.”

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