Anti-fracking campaigners took their own road show on a tour of Lancashire villages and towns this week to alert residents to the questions they say they need to be asking about fracking.
One of the driving forces behind the meetings is local campaigner Janice Buckley, from Beacon Fell, who with Ben Whittingham has recently set up a new group called the Bowland Fracking Forum. It aims to draw members from the Bowland areas likely to be affected by fracking and fracking investigations.
Describing this as an area from the Pennine side of Garstang to the Fylde coast, bounded by the edge of the Lake District to the north and Southport and Liverpool to the South, Ben said there were particular concerns for an area with such a high dependence on tourism and agriculture.
They stress it is not a politically affiliated group. but for anyone who has concerns about the fracking process,
Since Sunday, meetings have been held at Grimsargh Village Hall, the Kenlis Arms at Barnace, Towneley Arms, Longridge, Goosnargh Village Hall and Broughton and District Club. This evening there will be a meeting at The Wheatsheaf, Garstang at 6pm, at Bilsborrow Village Hall at 6.30pm. Tomorrow there will be a meeting at Barton Village Hall at 7pm. One new group, Garstang Against Fracking, has reportedly already been set up.
Frack-Off, Frack Free Fylde, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking and REAF (Ribble Estuary Against Fracking) were also involved in the tour. At Monday’s Longridge meeting campaigners spoke up to tell of their concerns about impact on the land, water pollution and the legacy of fracking.They cited the example of how villagers in Balcombe in East Sussex have successfully campaigned against fracking in recent days.The Longridge meeting started with a presentation by Sandy Cook and Tim Weston from Sussex who who described themselves as working with pressure group Frack-Off.
A spokesman for REAF said the tour’s aim was to get the facts on what has already happened in the Fylde / West Lancashire area and elsewhere, to find out what happens next and how to get involved.
Last month, energy giantsCuadrilla, which is currently carrying out environmental risk assessments =for shale gas exploration in the county, hosted two drop-in sessions for residents. Fracking involves blasting water, sand and chemicals down wells to extract gas trapped within rocks.