Feathers fly in fracking fight

Wintering birds have forced frackers Cuadrilla to pull out of an exploration well in Lancashire.

The company announced today it had removed all its drilling equipment from the site between Kirkham and St Annes and would be returning the land to its original condition.

Protest: Gayzer Frackman leads an anti-fracking protest outside County Hall

Protest: Gayzer Frackman leads an anti-fracking protest outside County Hall

“We’re looking at a number of possible locations and have decided to rule out Anna’s Road (at Westby) so we can focus on other sites which we believe show greater potential at this time,” said Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan.

“The background to this decision includes technical constraints related to wintering birds.”

The news came just 12 hours after protesters staged a noisy demonstration outside County Hall at Preston as councillors met to discuss the extraction of shale gas in Lancashire.

Gayzer Frackman, from Lytham, who changed his name by deed poll last year to reflect his opposition to the controversial energy programme, said: “My house was damaged by the first of two earthquakes on the Fylde Coast caused by fracking. But they were allowed to carry on, no-one was fined for that and there is no regulation.”

County Coun Gina Dowding, the authority’s only Green Party member, won support for tighter regulation for shale gas extraction and for keeping planning control for fracking in the hands of the County Council.

She blasted Prime Minister David Cameron for comments he made about Lancashire becoming the shale capital of Europe. “People in this county might not be quite as excited about the proposals as he is,” she said.

“Many people are rightly concerned about what fracking can do to the quality of life in Lancashire.”

Coun Peter Buckley, whose home on the Fylde Coast is close to one of the proposed fracking sites said he had conducted a straw poll of residents in his area and found them split between for and against in equal numbers.

Coun Dowding added: “People don’t really know what fracking is really going to look like in the long term. Things are going to change drastically across Lancashire.”