Photo: Anti-Fracking Protesters
Protesters from Anti-Fracking group REAF (Ribble Estuary Against Fracking) and members of other groups in Lancashire, turned up at Caudrillas exploratory testing site in Banks to protest at the news, that the company that wants to help turn the North West into the Fracking centre of the UK, has been given the green light by Lancashire County Council to continue testing for Shale Gas in the area.
After almost 3 and a half years, Cuadrilla, the fracking company who own the license from the government to frack most of Lancashire, are returning to perform 2 more years of mini-fracking and test flow operations at the Banks / Becconsall Lane site off Marsh Road.
This new licence extension will involve mini-fracking operations and will require a number of underground explosions to perforate the steel well casing. The size, type and number of explosives has not been disclosed – despite Lancs County Council being asked. Explosions will take place very soon and have to be completed by the end of May.
Lancashire County Council Planning Department granted the application a few days ago Planning Reference – LC/2014/0047 – which states “Permission is sought for the retention of the site compound and access track for a further 3 years to allow pressure monitoring of the Bowland Shale Reservoir, followed by plugging and abandonment of the existing exploratory well and sire restoration.” But strangely an important set of conditions which forms part of this agreement is still not being made available – REAF has been asking Lancs County Council for proof that these conditions have been fulfilled for 7 months -without success.
A spokesman for REAF said: “We know full well the enormous pressure Lancashire County Council is under to get Fracking under way in Lancashire – witness the leaked and intimidatory letter from George Osborne earlier this year to the council, but this lack of openness from the council about whether key conditions have been fulfilled by Cuadrilla is just not acceptable in our democracy. REAF will continue to monitor what is going on and inform local people of developments”
REAF is concerned Lancashire County Council has given permission for Cuadrilla to return to our community and maintain that Cuadrilla have No social license to operate anywhere in Lancashire.
Cuadrilla’s web site states that – “We will discuss any tests with the local community before carrying them out”. No communication has yet been undertaken and time is running out. Cuadrilla temporarily seem unwilling to engage with the local community. REAF await responses to their questions and concerns.
For more information ring Lancs County County / Development Group on 01772 531929 .
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