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FFL Press Releases and Statements

Fracking concerns in Accrington as over 130 attend public meeting

Accrington meeting 0516

Fracking concerns in Accrington as over 130 attend public meeting

Over a hundred and thirty people attended a public meeting on fracking held in Accrington last week (Wednesday 4 May). The meeting heard from Dr Stephen Garsed from the Blackburn Diocese Environment Group, about the environmental and social impacts of fracking, and speakers from Frack Free Lancashire, an alliance of forty community groups from across the county opposing fracking.

The event aimed to raise awareness about new licences that have been awarded to gas and oil companies for onshore drilling in East Lancashire – including blocks covering Accrington, Blackburn, Darwen, Burnley and Rossendale (1).

Dave Daly from Hyndburn Friends of the Earth said:

“With over a hundred people turning up to a public meeting on fracking it shows there is a high level of interest and concern with this industry locally. Several new licences have opened the door to potential fracking in Accrington and across East Lancs, and it is vital that local people get clued up on the facts.

“It is clear the Government is losing the argument on fracking, with public support at an all-time low. Communities across the new licences areas are determined to stop fracking in East Lancs and everywhere.”

Recent government research reveals that public support for fracking has fallen to a record low (2).

There are currently over 750 groups opposed to fracking throughout the UK (3).

For more information on the licences for gas and oil in East Lancashire please contact:


  1. The licences are: Celtique SD72 covering Accrington and Oswaldtwistle, Haslingden, Helmshore, Rossendale; Osprey SD73 covering Rishton, Padiham, Great Harwood, Clayton-le-Moors; SD62 Aurora covering Blackburn, Darwen.
  1. Only 19% of people support shale gas energy, with a significantly higher 31% of people opposing it outright, the highest level of opposition yet since the Government starting surveying public opinions on energy in 2012.

Support for renewable energy in contrast is “consistently high” at 81% of people supporting the use of renewables, with opposition “very low”.

Reference: DECC public attitudes tracker Wave 17, 28 April 2016 April

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For immediate release: Friday 26 February

Lancashire residents and supporters of Renewable Energy Alliance Lancashire gathered at the public inquiry on fracking in Blackpool today (26 February) ahead of an evidence session on climate change. The group highlighted the harmful effect of fracking and shale gas on the climate and called for a greater ambition in renewable energy and green jobs.

kevin-andersonProfessor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at Manchester University gave evidence on the climate change aspects of Cuadrilla’s appeal to frack at two sites in the Fylde. Professor Anderson gave evidence that extracting shale gas in the UK is not compatible with the UK’s ‘carbon budgets’ and the Government’s international commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Ian Roberts, spokesperson for Renewable Energy Alliance Lancashire said:

“Lancashire has a wealth of clean renewable energy sources that we should be harvesting, making a positive impact on our climate, energy security and jobs.

“As the fracking inquiry has heard, fracking is not a safe option for climate or communities. We’re calling for a focus on the clean energy solutions which will power our homes and economy for generations to come.”

Dave Daly from Hyndburn Friends of the Earth said:

“Climate experts warn that shale gas and tackling climate change are incompatible. Any investor would be reckless to go anywhere near fracking – far better to invest in a million climate jobs, including renewable energy production, than fossil fuels of the past.”

The inquiry, which is hearing an appeal by Cuadrilla against Lancashire County Council’s refusal of fracking at Roseacre and Preston New Road in the Fylde, is scheduled to last a further two weeks.

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NWETF falsely cites Businesses as Pro-Fracking

Business leaders opposed to fracking where wrongly included as signatories on pro-fracking letter

Community groups and businesses in Lancashire have been left shocked following the discovery that at least 15 of the “Lancashire business leaders” listed as signatories to a pro-fracking letter organized by the North West Energy Task Force (NWETF) did not agree to add their support. (1). The ‘pro-fracking’ business letter of over 100 business leaders to Lancashire County Council earlier this year includes businesses who were never asked if their details could be added, and others who are anti-fracking.

Frack Free Lancashire uncovered the inconsistencies by conducting a telephone survey of a third of a businesses on the list, the full results of which can be seen below. (2) In addition, three business have two signatories each on the list and people representing the North West Energy Task Force are listed four separate times.

It follows revelations earlier this year that less than half of the North West Energy Task Force list of businesses who support fracking are based in Lancashire (3) including businesses outside of Lancashire – and some as far as Scotland – who are also signatories to this letter.

Gail Hodson of Frack Free Lancashire, who discovered the errors, said:

“Given the widespread anti-fracking sentiment in the community alarm bells rang when we saw this list. We easily found out that many had not agreed to be on this list – or had never heard of it. Perhaps most interestingly, others, still, were actually against fracking.”

Frack free Lancashire contacted the following people, who responded:

  • Kaz Bhai from Shipping and Trading Co Manchester, said:  “I do not support fracking, I don’t know why I am on the NWETF list of business’s supporting fracking and I would like to be removed from the list.”
  • Benjamin Riley the Director at Thermal Hire Ltd in Wigan said: “North West Energy Task Force have rung me and I told them I do not want to be on their list”
  • Irene Campbell a consultant at Capita Group which was one of the signatories on the NWETF list on behalf of a gentleman called Steve Thompsett responded with an official statement from Capita which stated: “Capita Group have confirmed that even while employed by Capita, Steve Thompsett was not an authorised ‘spokesperson or representative’ for Capita and any views they have expressed are personal and in no way representative of Capita.”

Responding to the highly dubious NWETF business list Furqan Naeem, North West Campaigner for Friends of the Earth said:

“It is shocking that the North West Energy Task Force, funded by Cuadrilla, has claimed to have the support of businesses for fracking without their consent, and has tried to use this to influence the council”

“At best this is incompetence. North West Energy Task force should immediately correct their claims about local businesses who support fracking and ensure the accuracy of future statements”

“It is no surprise that many Lancashire businesses oppose fracking, which even the Government’s own draft report found could impact negatively on industries that are important to Lancashire, like farming and tourism. ”

Lancashire County Council rejected Cuadrilla’s application to fracking Little Plumpton and Roseacre in June this year (5).

Cuadrilla have appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in a bid to get the decision to refuse permission overturned. A public inquiry began and there will be hearings in February next year.



2. Members of Frack Free Lancashire called 40 of the businesses out of the list of 119, and found:

16 businesses that wish to be removed from the letter, including:

9 businesses that do not support fracking

3 businesses that were not aware they were on the letter

1 business that has signed a letter of over 300 businesses opposing fracking

2 that were neutral on the issue

1 business owner who supports fracking personally but does not want his business to be included on the letter

11 businesses that are supportive of fracking

13 businesses that were un-contactable after 3 attempts, including 2 with out of use numbers

3.    Research by Greenpeace earlier this year found that more than half of businesses that support the North West Energy task force are based outside of Lancashire


Contacts :-

Gail Hodson, Frack Free Lancashire:  07533523236

Furqan Naeem, Friends of the Earth:  07742507266




Google cache of ‘removed’ NWETF page:


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MP’s & MEP’s Call for Halt to Fracking

Frack Free Lancashire & Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth Press Release

Sunday 28 June 2015 – Immediate release, Contact 07940 006783

“Seventeen North West MPs and MEPs have joined thousands of Lancashire residents to call for a halt to fracking”


JL_picture_20_425_0The call comes as Lancashire County Council prepares to decide tomorrow (Monday 29 June) whether or not to grant Cuadrilla permission to drill and frack four wells at Preston New Road near the village of Little Plumpton in the Fylde. [1]

The MPs and MEPs signed a joint statement expressing serious concerns about the risks that fracking poses to people’s health and the environment and calling for any fracking applications to be withdrawn or refused planning permission. [2]

They join a growing number of people and organisations calling on councillors in Lancashire to reject the applications, including:

·      850 elected officials from New York State [3]

·      medical charity Medact [4]

·      chemicals charity CHEM Trust [5]

·      over 300 Lancashire businesses [6]

·      over 90,000 people from across the UK [7]

·      11,000 Lancashire residents who formally objected to the Preston New Road plans [8]

Continue reading MP’s & MEP’s Call for Halt to Fracking

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Community Slams Council Officers

Frack Free Lancashire press release Saturday 27 June

Contact: Ebony Johnson 07971 602303
Pat Davies 07503 876535

“Over 11,000 Lancashire residents objected to fracking plans”

The community group representing residents near Preston New Road, where Cuadrilla are seeking to drill and frack four wells, has blasted Lancashire County Council’s Planning Officer for undermining the volume of objections to the plans.

Councillors on Lancashire’s Development Control Committee were told at Tuesday’s meeting (23 June) by Planning Officer Stuart Perigo that objections “must be kept in context” and were not of an unprecedented nature – despite over 11,000 Lancashire residents writing to oppose the plans (1). The Planning Officer specifically highlighted the number of objections outside the county area – 6,862 – yet the overwhelming majority were from within Lancashire. Contrastingly, the officer neglected to break down the national number of representations in support of the plans – 217 – by area.

Photo: Vivenne Westwood addresses concerned residents outside County Hall

Councillors were also told that “several groups have run national opposition campaigns against the industry” while not giving comment on the considerable resources of the pro-fracking lobby – including the Cuadrilla-funded North West Energy Task Force, and the vast number of PR companies which Cuadrilla have employed including, according to an investigation by Spinwatch, experienced lobbyists Hanover, Bell Pottinger, PPS, and Westbourne Communications (2).

“Councillor Says Legal Advice Influenced Decision”

Meanwhile, Councillor Paul Hayhurst has strongly criticised the advice Councillors received about the legality of refusing the application on Wednesday, when a motion to refuse the plans was narrowly defeated on the Chair’s casting vote.

Speaking to an independent reporter (3) Mr Hayhurst said “We were told we must vote for the application. If we didn’t we would be breaking the law and we would be deemed irresponsible members.” The Councillor said the legal advice made public the subsequent day (4) did not contain the same strength of words as they had been told verbally, or that Councillors would be acting illegally if they were to refuse the application.

Council blocks residents from presenting “valid reasons” for refusing Preston New Road fracking application. Read more here…

Photo: Tense moments outside County Hall, Preston

“Only 217 people in the entire UK supported this application”

Pat Davies of Preston New Road Community Group said:

“The way in which the Planning Officer presented the facts was very skewed, with the massive number of objections broken down by area while the letters of support were presented without comment. Perhaps he felt it wasn’t worthy of comment, that only 217 people in the entire UK had supported this application?”

“This fact alone speaks volumes. Only 217 people bothered to support Cuadrilla by formally writing to support, while over 11,000 from within the county wrote in objection.  Lancashire has spoken clearly it doesn’t want or need fracking. We are asking Councillors to resist the pressure being put on them by officers and stand up for local residents who have put them in Office to look after their best interests.”

Photo: Peaceful protest and a festival atmosphere outside County Hall, Preston

“We call on local residents to join us at County Hall on Monday”

Ebony Johnson of Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Over the three days of meetings so far Councillors have not said a single positive thing about fracking, only fear of Cuadrilla appealing and the costs incurred.

“It is alarming if Councillors are being misled and threatened by officers that they would be acting illegally if they were to refuse the applications. We have presented evidence including from Barristers that the application should be refused on planning grounds. These are elected Councillors and they must act in the interests of residents and local democracy, not the threats of corporations and hidden executives.

“We call on local residents to join us at County Hall on Monday and reinforce the importance and urgency of Monday’s decision.”

The Committee is due to decide on the application for Preston New Road on Monday 29 June. The Frack Free Lancashire alliance of 39 community groups opposed to fracking is organising a public rally outside County Hall from 9am on Monday.


See archived webcast of meeting, comments on representations are at 51 minutes. Planning Officer Stuart Perigo outlines that of 18,022 total objections 3,023 were from Fylde, and 6,862 from outside Lancashire. From those figures it can be derived that 11,160 Lancashire residents objected – an unprecedented figure for a Lancashire planning application.




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