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.”

What’s happening this week? 24-30 July 2017


Monday 24 July 2017
What is fracking? Talk by John Cossham FRSA, campaigner, sustainability activist and entertainer, hosted by York Skeptics, The Phoenix Inn, 75 George Street, York, YO1 9PT.

Tuesday 25 July 2017
Frack Free South Yorkshire presentation to Sheffield TUC, 7pm, Sheffield Trades and Labour Club, 20 Duke Street, Sheffield S2 5QQ.

Wednesday 26 July
Women’s Call 2, demonstration outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool, 9.30am-12.30pm, meeting at Maple Farm, Preston New Road, Westby Lancashire PR4 3PE.

INEOS Community Exhibition, 2.30pm-7pm, Barlborough Village Hall, High Street, Barlborough S43 4TJ.
Anti-fracking community event  and alternative exhibition, organised by Bolsover Against Fracking, to coincide with INEOS exhibition (see above), 2.30pm-7pm, Barlborough Miners’ Welfare, 1 California Ln, Barlborough, Chesterfield S43 4EZ .
Dronfield Against Fracking monthly meeting, 7.15pm-9pm, Gosforth Lodge, Cliffe Park, Callywhite Lane, Dronfield, S18 2XP.

Thursday 27 July 2017
Anti-fracking solidarity trip by Friends of the Earth Scotland to Preston New Road, Lancashire. Depart central Scotland, 6pm.
Solidarity jam for Blackpool and Fylde Anti-fracking camp, 6.30pm-9pm, Boho Utopia, 485 Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4AN.
Frack Free Ashfield monthly meeting, 7.30pm-9pm, Duke of Wellington pub, Church Street, Kirkby in Ashfield, NG17 8LA.

Friday 28 July 2017

Carnival for a Frack Free Future, hosted by Reclaim the Power, 8am-6pm, Preston new Road, Little Plumpton, FY4 5JS.
No faith in fracking gathering, 9am Cuadrilla shale gas site, Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, FY4 5JS.

Saturday 29 July 2017
Day of talks and workshops, hosted by Reclaim the Power, on long-running campaigns and direct action training, Maple Farm, Preston New Road, Little Plumpton PR4 3PE.

Gathering on the Green, hosted by Broadford Bridge Action Group, 2pm, Adversane Lane, outside the Blacksmiths Arms, near Billingshurst, West Sussex.
Anti-fracking campaign stall at Cresswell Gala, 12 noon-11pm, Creswell Multisports Arena, Model Village, S80 4BN

Sunday 30 July 2017
Community work day at A New Hope Community Camp, hosted by Reclaim the Power, 8am-7pm, Details
Creative day, hosted by Reclaim the Power, to make banners and action care messages, Maple Farm, Preston New Road, Little Plumpton PR4 3PE

“Right to protest under threat at Lancashire fracking site” – Green Party

The Green Party is calling on the shale gas company, Cuadrilla, to answer allegations of violence by security guards and staff against protesters at its site near Blackpool.

Party co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, hand-delivered a letter to Cuadrilla’s chief executive today expressing “grave concern” about two recent incidents.

Last week security staff allegedly punched an activist and were photographed holding him by the throat. On Monday a protester was hit by a van leaving the site.




What’s happening this week? 10-16 July 2017

In this week’s listings:

  • Divestment and green jobs rally at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site
  • Angus Energy conference call
  • Continuing direct action against Cuadrilla’s fracking plans
  • Cake at the Gate gatherings at UKOG’s Broadford Bridge site
  • Campaign training sessions
  • Planning meetings

Diary events for the rest of July 2017 here. Please let us know (click hereif any of these details are incorrect or if other events should be included. With grateful thanks to Ruth at DrillorDrop





Cuadrilla’s bid to change rules for Lancs shale gas site raises concerns about “intensified fracking”

The shale gas company, Cuadrilla, is being urged to explain why it is seeking changes to the environmental permit for its site near Blackpool.The Environment Agency announced yesterday that Cuadrilla had applied to vary the permit for Preston New Road, where drilling is expected to start imminently.  The company wants to make changes to the maximum limit of fracture fluid that can be used and to the duration of flaring during initial well tests.