Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors.
Anna Szolucha December 14, 2018
On high alert
Fracking on shaky ground
Letter To the Editor:- “Fracking firms Cuadrilla and Ineos”
“HOW dare Fracking firms Cuadrilla and Ineos demand a change to the regulations they helped to develop and boasted about to gain planning permissions? In 2011 Cuadrilla operated free from proper controls and look what happened. They were forced to halt following the public outcry about the tremors they created because it was obvious they could not be trusted. The “safeguards” are thin enough (and constantly eroded by Cuadrilla once planning permission was granted at Preston New Road near Blackpool in 2018). To allow the companies to call time on the Traffic Light System which monitors the impact of fracking after a matter of weeks would be wholly irresponsible. Fylde residents and others around the country know that the claims the companies made about what fracking would be like in reality were fake : tremors came thick and fast and the red warning light (a rare occurrence residents were told) proved not that rare at all!! They cannot meet the standards they once commended and want to see them altered. This is not just moving the goalposts, but dismantling them! Since 2014 Cuadrilla has harassed fracking opponents with allegations of fear mongering. When experience shows (again) that fracking is incompatible with England’s geology (so different to the American shale beds) and population density (so different to America and Australia) they really can’t demand a new bar to be set, preferably one a snake could wriggle over!” Rowland Taylor, Lytham St Annes.
Dear County Councillors Nash and Ashton
I was both shocked and disconcerted to hear your comments yesterday, made at the full Lancashire County Council meeting, regarding the two motions being proposed about fracking on the Fylde.
Your comments seem to demonstrate a complete misunderstanding and disregard for the genuine issues and concerns being raised by ordinary residents of the Fylde, such as myself, over fracking in general but more specifically over the spate of recent earthquakes, at the Preston New Road site, and alleged behaviour of protestors.
I was born and raised in Preston and a consider myself a true Lancastrian. I especially love the Fylde. I am retired but I spent over 40 years working in the IT industry, in a relatively high paid job, choosing to move to the rural Fylde to enjoy the peace and quiet it offers, the fresh air, country walks and cycle rides and being part of a strong local community; all of which I found and enjoy.
When I heard about Cuadrilla’s plans to frack in the heart of our community alarm bells started to ring. I was not anti-fracking at first, but I soon realised upon doing my research, and 4.5 years later I am still of the same opinion, that this industry has no place here or anywhere. It is not wanted and not needed.
This industry really does pose serious risks to our communities, their health and well-being, our environment, our economy and ultimately our ability to meet our climate change targets.
We are not talking about one or two exploratory sites. We are talking about what would happen if it moves to full scale commercial shale gas extraction. This will necessitate hundreds of sites, thousands of wells and tens of thousands of HGV movements on our rural lanes and main roads. to make it commercially viable.
The recent earthquakes at Preston New Road are just a warning sign. This is a densely populated area with a very complex, and highly faulted geology. There have been 48 tremors to date, the largest being 1.5ML. They are clearly increasing in both frequency and magnitude and this is Cuadrilla operating cautiously with one low level frack a day, if that!
It is time you stopped listening to industry lobbyists and started listening to those directly affected so you can better understand why thousands of ordinary residents, not rent-a-mob as you so kindly referred to us, have genuine concerns over this industry.
People come from far and wide, even from overseas, because this is major issue and, if you really love the Fylde, you will take note of our concerns.
I have presented at two All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Shale Gas, met Natascha Engel, the Shale Gas Commissioner and I am Chair of a local resident’s group. I have also met our MP many times to discuss the issues. I am not political. I have never protested, or campaigned, before in my life but I do so now because I am genuinely horrified by what impact this industry will have on communities.
Please do us the courtesy of at least listening to us. Come and visit the site to have a meaningful dialogue, in a rational manner, rather than bandy about such disingenuous comments in a full Council meeting.
This industry does not have any social license. At the recent Public Inquiry, over the proposed site at Roseacre Wood site, seven town and parish councils stood united to oppose the plans.
You need to understand the cumulative detrimental impacts of commercial scale fracking. The industry and their supporters deliberately over play the benefits and play down the adverse impacts.
To ignore residents’ concerns is not only disingenuous but also foolhardy especially with local council elections due in May. Are you so sure ordinary people really support this industry? Not in my experience, if the amount of support from residents is anything to go by.
The recent spate of earthquakes at Preston New Road is a serious and genuine concern. Fracking should be suspended until a full independent inquiry takes place or the problems at Preese Hall will repeat themselves.
To vote against such a motion is extremely short sighted. To make claims about significant traffic disruption, and rent-a-mob protestors, most of whom are ordinary local residents, need to be substantiated.
Coincidentally, I am meeting our MP, Mark Menzies today to discuss these matters further. I look forward to what he has to say as our elected MP.
Chair of the Roseacre Awareness Group
A 0.8 magnitude earth tremor was recorded today near Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road on the edge of Blackpool. The event, at 12.30pm (bst), happened while fracking was taking place, the company has confirmed. It qualifies as the first red event near the site under the government’s traffic light system regulations for induced seismicity. It is also the largest seismic event near the site since fracking began on 15 October 2018.
Claire “I’ve never visited a shale gas site” Perry has now taken to handing out ‘Myth-Busting’ flyers to MP’s and correspondents. Surprisingly, for one who is so keen on exhorting us to “Follow the Science,” she ignores all the science and tells lies. Evidently science is a bit complex for her so to help her I’ve corrected all her mistakes. Incidentally Claire, when you preach in your condescending manner, telling us not to be so silly, renewables can never replace gas, why have you ignored the fact that Scottish Power has divested completely from fossil fuel and that 100% of it’s electricity is now generated by wind power?
How do United Utilities priorities our drinking water? Who gets the first guarantee of fresh clean drinking water? industry or us?
Monday 24th September, 7.30pm…. come along to New Horizons St Albans Road St Anne’s FY8 1XD and listen to the very knowledgable Marianne Birkby . Remember we live in the Bermuda Triangle of the Fylde….. Springfield nuclear site, Preston new road fracking site and gas storage under the River Wyre.