Residents’ fracking fears

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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Concerned residents living in a village close to where a fracking company intends to drill have set up a group to question the impact it could have on their community.

Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG) say they have “serious concerns” about Cuadrilla Resources’ plans to set up four wells and hydraulically fracture the ground for shale gas.

The group says they are not against fracking, but have written to Fylde MP Mark Menzies and Lancashire County Council to outline the problems they fear will be caused by the process.

They want to know the impact it could have on a range of issues including, increase in traffic, light and air pollution, and the impact on wildlife and businesses.

Barbara Richardson, a spokesman for RAG, said: “As residents we have serious concerns over these plans and the detrimental affect it will have on our local villages and, should sufficient gas be found, on our county as more and more sites will be planned.

“We are not anti fracking but we do want to ensure our concerns are answered to our satisfaction. There seems to be a lot of pressure from the Government to pursue this technology at all costs.

“If the area becomes ‘industrialised’ and, seen as such further afield, the profit margins and property values will fall and there could be a damaging impact on employment and revenue.”

Cuadrilla Resources announced last month it would apply for permission to drill at a site at Roseacre Wood, near Wharles, and at a site near the A583 at Little Plumpton.

It wants to explore each site to see if natural gas trapped in the shale rock layers 6,000ft below the surface can be extracted economically. The fracking process involves drilling deep undergound and pumping chemicals and water into the rock to release the shale gas.

Mrs Richardson added: “How will our narrow rural roads cope with additional heavy goods vehicles?

“In parts, the lanes surrounding the site allow only single vehicles. Our roads are already too narrow and in bad condition especially in winter and have been subject to complaint.”

A spokesman for Cuadrilla Resources said: “Cuadrilla is committed to working closely with residents to listen to their concerns, and to being a good neighbour.

“In the first stage of our consultation on the new sites, we received a great deal of feedback from many local residents about what they would like to see included in the Environmental Impact Assessments.

“Their comments have been vital in determining the scope of these comprehensive EIAs, which has also been agreed with Lancashire County Council.

“Within the next two weeks, we will be sending a detailed brochure to residents close to the two sites with the first detailed findings about many of the points they have raised.

“They will be able to comment on these emerging findings in the next stage of our consultation, before any planning applications are submitted.”

Stuart Perigo, Lancashire County Council head of development management, added: “If a planning application is submitted then we will carry out an extensive consultation processes and everyone will have the opportunity to have their say.

“We will carefully consider any views expressed at the time before any decision is taken.”