Lancashire campaigners vow to fight on after '˜deplorable' fracking decision

Residents and anti-fracking campaigners have vowed to fight on against shale gas extraction despite the Government's strong backing of the new industry.

Thursday, 6th October 2016, 5:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 5:33 pm
The drill at Preese Hall Farm, Weeton

On the Fylde, opponents at Preston New Road and at Roseacre blasted Sajid Javed’s decision.

Pat Davies, chairman of the Preston New Road Action Group, said: “This is a sad day as it is clear to all that this Government neither listens nor can it be trusted to do the right thing for local communities.

“It is deplorable that an industry that has been rejected on every level has inflicted itself on Preston New Road.

Barbara Richardson and Patricia Davies

“Westby Parish Council, Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire County Council planning committee all said no to this application. These reasons were based on facts and knowledge, they rejected the site as unsuitable.

“Dismantling the democratic process to facilitate a dirty fossil fuel industry when only months ago the UK committed to climate change targets in Paris is another example of saying one thing and doing another.”

She vowed the group would challenge the decision.

More reaction to the fracking decision

Barbara Richardson and Patricia Davies

Barbara Richardson of the Roseacre Awareness Group said: “We are not scaremongers, just concerned residents. These are totally inappropriate greenfield sites, situated in the very heart of rural Fylde, for an industry of this nature.

“So much for our government saying they want local people to have control over their own destiny. Even our own MP urged his own ministers to respect local decision makers.

“We will continue to work with our friends at Preston New Road, and other threatened communities, to stop fracking from happening. It has been a David and Goliath battle. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources of Cuadrilla and the oil and gas industry.”

Lytham engineer Mike Hill said: “It’s a total disgrace. Theresa May has opted for additional birth defects, opted for big vested interests of big business over the individual, opted to immediately go back on her own words this week and on steps of Downing St and opted to overrule democracy.”

Elizabeth Warner from Roseacre said they would fight on and oppose any traffic management plans from Cuadrilla for the Roaseacre site.

She said: “The group will continue to work and has already contacted the legal team. We will have to explore the strategy. It smacks of a Chinese show trial: we know the verdict, just give us something to pretend with.”

Friends of the Earth North-West campaigner, Helen Rimmer, said: “This is bad news for Lancashire – the community have been fighting fracking for more than five years. This fight continues until this unproven and unpopular industry disappear for good.

“Instead of shoving us down a dangerous path that inevitably leads to climate change, the government should invest in renewables and energy efficiency,”

Move is an ‘attack on democracy’

The decision has drawn political fire. Blackpool’s Labour MP Gordon Marsden said: “This decision to allow Cuadrilla to drill in our area is an undemocratic, environmental and economically unsustainable disgrace.

“This new Tory Government has ridden roughshod over local democracy in the planning process, over the decision of Lancashire’s elected county council, the views of the communities affected and the interests and concerns of Blackpool.

“It has ignored the threats fracking poses to our residents, the noise, disruption and pollution on the roads into the town, and to our tourists and our jobs, and services vital for Blackpool’s visitor economy.”

Fleetwood’s Cat Smith said: “Today’s announcement is an affront to local democracy. A future Labour government would ban fracking.”