Minister’s visit set to spark fracking protest

Picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian''Cuadrilla Resources near Preston, Lancashire on 26th of August, 2011. Fracking Stock
Picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian''Cuadrilla Resources near Preston, Lancashire on 26th of August, 2011. Fracking Stock
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Anti-fracking campaigners are gearing up to make their voices heard during a Government minister’s visit to Blackpool.

Fylde coast campaigners plan to join forces with their counterparts from across the 
country to stage a demonstration outside the Winter Gardens on Thursday.

Michael Fallon MP, Secretary of State for Business and Energy, is due to meet with representatives from North West businesses throughout the day to discuss what they can gain from the controversial drilling process.

Mr Fallon’s visit to Blackpool will see him meet with companies involved with the North West Energy Task Force to discuss the creation of supply chains for the shale gas industry in Lancashire by working alongside Cuadrilla Resources.

The energy company is set to apply for licenses to drill deep underground on the Fylde coast, and explore the earth in Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton, near Wharles.

Tina Rothery, of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, claims 13 Fylde coast-based groups and more than 100 from other parts of the country will be staging the demonstration during the visit.

She said: “Michael Fallon is coming to try and win over our Lancashire businesses, but we are inviting people to show their opposition.

“We are asking people to show it in their own peaceful way, and people are travelling here from the south.

“Deep down I’m expecting a huge number of demonstrators. He (Fallon) is trying to convince businesses that this (fracking) will be profitable for them, but they will be the ones left with the mess.”

Alongside the protests, Ms Rothery says the Fylde coast groups will have a variety of stalls open informing people of what campaigners say are the dangers of fracking – the process of pumping chemicals deep in to the ground to extract shale gas from rocks.

Campaigners say one of the stalls, co-ordinated by Fleetwood’s anti-fracking group, will include people being asked to drink water which has come into contact with chemicals used during the fracking 

Ms Rothery added: “The people inside are going to be finding out what this is all about.

“They are going in to pose their own questions and we don’t doubt there will be 
people inside who see through their promises.

“We have got to be outside to make sure that before they walk in they understand the truth of the industry before the PR machine kicks in.”

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills declined to comment about the planned protests.

Cuadrilla Resources was unavailable for comment.