Drilling diary – August 2017

50+ events in August 2017 about fracking and onshore oil and gas in the UK, including: Court of Appeal hearing on planning permission for Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, plus rallies, council decisions, consultation deadlines, survey results, exhibitions, walks, talks, meetings and film screenings. Please let us know here if you’d like us to add your events or if any details are wrong. This post will be updated throughout the month with new information.

With thanks to DrillorDrop




What’s happening this week? 31 July-6 August 2017


In this week’s listings:

  • Surrey County Council planning committee to discuss transport plans for Leith Hill site;
  • Deadlines for consultations in Surrey and Lancashire;
  • Latest results from government survey of public attitudes to fracking;
  • Walk and fundraiser for campaigns against INEOS shale gas plans;
  • Continuing gatherings at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site;
  • Plus talks and meetings

What’s happening this week? 31 July-6 August 2017

Continue reading “What’s happening this week? 31 July-6 August 2017”

Crane operator pulling out of work at Cuadrilla’s fracking site

The company that supplied a crane to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool has pulled out of the job and is waiting to remove its equipment.  Bryn Thomas Cranes, of Flint, was sub-contracted by another company to carry out two-three days of work at Preston New Road. The contract was due to start yesterday but Nick Bartley, from Bryn Thomas, said the company was unaware of the site or work when it took on the job.





1,200+ people call for removal of rig from Cuadrilla’s fracking site1,200+ people call for removal of rig from Cuadrilla’s fracking site

More than 1,200 people have signed a petition in the past 24 hours calling for the enforcement of planning conditions at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site in Lancashire.
The petition was launched in response to the company’s decision to deliver its drilling rig at about 4.15am yesterday, in breach of an agreement designed to prevent disturbance to people living nearby. Continue reading “1,200+ people call for removal of rig from Cuadrilla’s fracking site1,200+ people call for removal of rig from Cuadrilla’s fracking site”

Lancashire Police face allegations of violence and collusion over fracking site

Councillors and anti-fracking campaigners have accused Lancashire Police of colluding with Cuadrilla to develop its shale gas site near Blackpool.

There have also been complaints that the force has used “aggressive and inconsistent tactics” against campaigners at anti-fracking protests at the site at Preston New Road.

Similar general allegations have been made since Cuadrilla began work in January. DrillOrDrop report





Lorry protest outside Lancs fracking site nears 60 hours


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Lorry protest on Preston New Road, 27 July 2017. Photo: Gathering Place Films

An anti-fracking protester has been on top of a lorry near Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool for more than 58 hours.

He climbed on top of a vehicle delivering to the site at 8am on Tuesday morning (25 July 2017).

Another protester climbed onto a separate lorry about three hours later and has been there since. A third man joined the protest at 6am on Wednesday morning (26 July 2017) and is now into his 36th hour.

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Lorry protest on Preston New Road, 27 July 2017. Photo: Cheryl Atkinson

The trucks are parked on Preston New Road, west of the site entrance and are thought to be transporting heavy equipment, possibly associated with the drilling rig. This was delivered at about 4am today in breach of a condition of Cuadrilla’s planning permission. (DrillorDrop report)


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Lorry protest on Preston New Road, 27 July 2017. Photo: Gathering Place Films

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Lorry protest on Preston New Road, 27 July 2017. Photo: Gathering Place Films

Police have used ladders to talk to the three men but there is no sign that they are willing to come down.

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Lorry protest on Preston New Road, 27 July 2017. Photo: Reclaim the Power

The anti-fracking group, Reclaim the Power, said three other people taking part in the protest, known as lorry surfing, had been arrested, as had three people sitting in front of a lorry.

Within the past few minutes, police released two protesters who had locked themselves to a car outside the site entrance.  Another pair were released from a separate car earlier today.

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Protester released by police from a lock-on protest in a car, 27 July 2017. Photo: Reclaim the Power

Cuadrilla condemns fracking protesters for eight-hour road closure – opponents blame police tactics

Police closed the road outside Cuadrilla’s Lancashire shale gas site for eight hours today in response to anti-fracking protests.
Opponents of the company’s activities at Preston New Road near Blackpool took part in a sit-down protest and climbed onto two vehicles as police tried to bring lorries into the site.
Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said the protest was “causing delay and misery” to commuters, visitors and businesses.
Frack Free Lancashire blamed today’s blockage on the police for escorting a convoy of vehicles and encouraging two lorries to occupy  both lanes of the road.
The A583 Preston New Road was closed in both directions at about 8.30am, for more than two miles, between Whitehills roundabout and Fox Lane Ends.
At 5pm, police opened one lane and operated a contraflow. A post on the Fylde Police Facebook page said “campaigners remained on top of vehicles and in road”.
The national campaign group, Reclaim the Power, which has been co-ordinating a month of direct action protests at Preston New Road, said eight trucks had been blockaded.
Yesterday the group said there had been 16 consecutive working days of disruption outside the site.




“Apology needed for inconvenience”

Mr Egan said this was the fourth complete road closure in as many weeks. He said there had also been eight more partial road closures.
In a statement this afternoon he said:
“We condemn today’s ongoing closure of the Preston New Road by protestors since 8.30am this morning.
“No responsible person can claim this is peaceful or lawful protest when it is causing delay and misery to local commuters, businesses and people visiting the area during the holiday season.
“Far from boasting online about their illegal exploits, the national activists from Reclaim The Power should publicly apologise to all those road users that they continue to inconvenience due to their self-serving, publicity seeking and foolish actions.
“We will exercise our democratic right to carry on with our lawful work at Preston New Road which is progressing to plan.”

“Successful tactics against unwanted industry”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:
“We understand Cuadrilla’s frustration at the successful tactics being employed against their attempts to impose this unwanted industry on the people of Lancashire.
“However, this morning’s total blockage would not have been required had Police not resorted to escorting a convoy and encouraging two HGVs to occupy two lanes, which was unsafe and inappropriate.
“We also note Mr Egan’s claim that his work is ‘progressing to plan’ but believe it has as much credibility as his repeated and misleading claims about the size of the well pad being the same size as a rugby pitch.”
Criticism of policePolice were criticised on social media by both sides of the argument.
In a comment on the Fylde Police Facebook page, Adam Saunders:
“Why are these people not being arrested on the spot? I’m pretty sure if average joe had a few to many beers got on a wagon and hurled abuse at you…. They would be arrested?”
Phil Cardwell said:
“You are failing in your duty to the people of the Fylde Coast that you are supposed to serve. Allowing anarchists to blockade a blue light route. How much more do we have to take? Get the road open NOW!”
Dan Tudor-Pole said the police should edit their Facebook post from “due to protester activity” to “due to Cuadrilla activity”. He said:
“These people are doing the right thing and stopping this dirty industry form taking place in the Fylde. This is the first drill pad of many, the Fylde will be absolutely covered in them if Cuadrilla and co get their way. We said NO.”
Claire Stevo said:
“Why is there an HGV straddling two lanes? How did it get there? Cuadrilla have no right to commandeer an entire road. Convoys were not part of the original traffic plan.”