Endorsements

"probably the most prolific anti frack website in the UK"
- Ken Wilkinson - prominent pro-fracking activist and industry supporter (Yes we know , he doesn't know what "prolific" means does he)

Defend Localism!

Take the advice of Greg Clark, ex-Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government

Greg Clark

"Those who are prepared to organise to be more effective and more efficient should be able to reap substantially the rewards of that boldness ...

Take power now. Don’t let yourself, any longer, be ruled by someone else"

How many wells?

PNRAG Wells
Click the image from more information on Cuadrilla's plans for PEDL 165

Fracking Employment

From the Financial Times 16 October 2013

AMEC forecast just 15,900 to 24,300 nationwide - direct & indirect

Jobs would typically be short term, at between four and nine years

Only 17% of jobs so far have gone to local people

Rubbish!

Looking for misinformation, scaremongering, lies or stupidity?

It's all on this website (but only on this one post ) featuring the Reverend Mike Roberts.

(Oops - there's more! )

Here though is our favourite Reverend Roberts quote of all time - published in the Lancashire Evening Post on 5th August 2015

"If you dare oppose fracking you will get nastiness and harassment whether on social media, or face-to-face"

Yes you!

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr Seuss

We are not for sale!

England is not for sale!

Wrongmove

Join the ever growing number of households who have signed up to the Wrongmove campaign!

Tell Cuadrilla and the Government that your house is "Not for Shale"

Wrongmove

Be a flea

"Many fleas make big dog move"
Japanese Proverb quoted by Jessica Ernst

No to Fracking

Love Lytham Say No to Fracking

Make sense?

The Precautionary Principle

When an activity or occurrence raises threats of serious or irreversible harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

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Preston New Road

Unwelcome Visitors

Cuadrilla are trying to claim today that fracking will result in a tourism boom for Lancashire.

They even shipped over a bombastic B&B battleaxe from Yorkshire to try to make their point for them.

However, it won’t.

How do we know?

Why because their planning expert witness told us just that at the Blackpool Inquiry last year (as reported on the Drill or Drop website).

Robin Green, the barrister for Roseacre residents, put it to Mr Smith: “You said it was possible jobs could be lost in the tourism sector but this was likely to be short-term. It was speculative and unquantifiable and linked to public perception of fracking.”

Mr Green asked why the impact on tourism jobs would be short-term.

Mr Smith said: “In the longer term, when the industry is established and people are aware of the actual impacts, tourism will recover.

He suggested that perceptions would change because the company had assessed the impacts of fracking to be minor and negligible.

Mr Green suggested:

“Come to Lancashire home of fracking that will have the tourists flocking”

He put it to Mr Smith:

“There is no evidence that the public are moving towards acceptance of fracking as an industry.”

Mr Smith replied

“I don’t have any evidence. There may be evidence but I don’t have the knowledge”.

Mr Green said:

“As a tourism draw, fracking is unlikely to be up there as draw.”

Mr Smith replied: “There is no evidence of fracking having an impact, I have not seen the evidence.

Even the government’s own most optimistic assessment of the impact of fracking on tourism is that it will be broadly neutral. Their conclusion is that losses from tourists avoiding the area due to shale gas operations may perhaps be off-set to an extent by increased hospitality to new workers.

If the US experience is indeed replicated here in Lancashire as Lancashire For S(h)ale suggest it will be, what we *can* expect to see are significant increases in employment for sex workers, drug pushers and policemen, along with an increase in STDs, car crashes, drug-related crimes, and sexual assault.

Fracking flares are really not going to be the new Blackpool Illuminations whatever Cuadrilla might want you to believe!

Cuadrilla’s incredible shrinking supply chain Part 2

Back in April we noticed that Cuadrilla had failed to issue and update in 2017 Q1 as promised, and commented that we’d noticed an apparent reduction in the number of companies claimed to be registered on the supply chain portal.

On 31st May Cuadrilla finally released an updated “quarterly” tracker (that’s a full five months into 2017) covering the period to 31st March.

Aside from the interesting increase in community funding, which still doesn’t seem to be winning them many friends, the most striking difference is indeed the downward trajectory of their supply chain portal registrations.

For this to be the case presumably 283 business must have actively de-registered between 1st December and 31st March.

Perhaps the local business community is starting to see that the leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of the fracking rainbow is not worth chasing after all?

If Cuadrilla would like to offer any alternative explanation we’ll be happy to publish it here.

Snap Judgements

We received the following press release today and feel that it deserves to be read:

PRESS RELEASE

Local documentary photographer unfairly targeted by police after covering an anti-fracking demonstration for nine minutes.

A photographer has been unfairly targeted by police after covering an anti-fracking protest in Greater Manchester.

Oldham-based Peter Yankowski-Walker, 53, was arrested in Horwich, Bolton, on February 28, 2017 nine minutes after arriving at a demonstration outside AE Yates, a company who have supplied oil and gas exploration firm Cuadrilla with a drilling pad for their controversial fracking work in Lancashire.

While photographing the demonstration, Yankowski-Walker was arrested for obstructing a public highway – after almost being knocked down by on of AE Yates trucks. He was held in a prison cell for 10 hours before being charged. Yankowski-Walker believes he has been unfairly targeted by police because of a government crackdown on journalists sympathetically covering anti-fracking demonstrations.

At his subsequent appearance at Bolton Magistrates Court police presented the criminal record of another man as Yankowski-Walker’s, a mistake they later admitted – yet the same incorrect criminal records was presented at a second court date in Manchester nine days later.

Peter Yankowski-Walker does not have a criminal record.

During his police interview after his arrest, Yankowski-Walker said police tried to coerce him into admitting guilt; he claims this excessive form of policing is part of a government-led attack on protest and suppression of information surrounding fracking.

Peter Yankowski Walker said: “I am trying not to be paranoid, but when sat in a dock after not even committing a crime and to see the effort to prosecute someone for something so trivial is mind blowing and a waste of taxpayers money. Especially as the incident was live-streamed and completely backs up my statement.

“The judge demanded the Crown Prosecution Service remove the wrongful criminal record from my file – but he decided to take my case to a full day’s trial, using as evidence against me body cam footage from four directions. This was pushed forward by two representatives from the Crown Prosecution Services.

“Independent photographers and film-makers are seeing a trend unfolding as in the last few months the police have stepped up their arrest rates on anti-frackers. Valued footage has helped cases to clarify that no wrongdoing occurred and it seems now, those who document and provide evidence are being targeted too. Photojournalists, documentary film-makers and live-streamers have contacted me to say that that they are experiencing less tolerance by the police and more oppression, whist collecting evidence and imagery of social change.

“I feel that my case is being treated more seriously because of the links with documenting the protest against hydraulic fracturing than it would be if it was another subject. I am honour-bound however to continue to do my job; unbiased grass roots reporting is essential in providing a balanced picture.”

Yankowski-Walker under the name Peter Walker is due to appear before a district judge at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court, Crown Square, M60 1PR Time 9.30am May 15th, 2017.

 

Timeline

February 28, 2017 – Peter Yankowski-Walker is arrested at demonstration outside AE Yates in Horwich, Bolton.

March 7, 2017 – Bolton Magistrates Court. False criminal record of Yankowski-Walker to magistrates. Yankowski-Walker visits Bolton police later who agree that false records were presented in court.

March 16, 2017 – pre-trial, Manchester. Police again present false criminal record of Yankowski-Walker to district judge.

May 15th, 2017 – due to be appear before district judge at Manchester Magistrates Court.

 

NOTES

Images of Peter Yankowski-Walker are available upon request. Email: vital.media@ntlworld.com

Contact Peter Yankowski-Walker:

Email: vital.media@ntlworld.com

Mobile: 07486 858656 home number 01706 661 646

 

You can see some of Peter Yankowski’s images here:

Big issue: http://www.bigissuenorth.com/news/2017/03/tidal-wave-force-fracking/

Drop the Drill: https://drillordrop.com/2017/03/03/protest-weekly-update-27-february-5-march-2017/

Salford Star: http://salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=2673

The Canary http://www.thecanary.co/2017/03/09/first-telegraph-lied-now-police-use-gratuitous-violence-quiet-lancashire-village-video/

Primrose Bank, Past, Present and Future. Social documentary photographic book.

http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/1441726-primrose-bank-past-present-and-future

 

Peter Yankowski-Walker has a Masters in International Photojournalism, having trained with one of Britain’s best know social documentary photographers: Ian Beesley at the University of Bolton. Peter is well known by many for his iconic imagery, documenting the anti-fracking protests in the North West over the last three-and-a-half years. The images will be published in a photo documentary book.

His images have been shared all over the world and have appeared in many magazines and online news journals.

Yankowski-Walker added: “I feel that unrestricted social documentary photography gives a balanced view of contemporary social history as it unfolds, a perspective that is essential to freedom of expression and democracy.”

Watching the Defectives

So, with the usual PR fanfare Cuadrilla announced their shiny new environmental measurements portal.

We are glad that they are at least acknowledging the potential impacts of their activities, but we don’t really think it’s appropriate they they seem to be being left to mark their own homework here.

Interestingly Page 10 of the government response to the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2010–12 states that :

The environment agencies do not monitor air quality at unconventional gas operations unless there are specific permitted activities on site (e.g. large scale refining or combustion of gas) however it may make recommendations as part of the planning application process to ensure operations’ designs allow appropriate management of emissions to air.

Local authorities also have a statutory duty under the Government’s Air Quality Strategy and Local Air Quality Management process to monitor and assess local air quality. If necessary local authorities may take action to reduce emissions in the event that they might risk contributing to any breach of air quality standards.

So we would like very much to know what LCC are doing at the moment to fulfil that statutory responsibility with specific reference to the area around the PNR site. Leaving it to Cuadrilla to put up a few pretty graphs that don’t even state which month they are showing is not fulfilling it is it?

In the meantime given that Cuadrilla can’t manage to keep the simplest of promises relating to public information (Remember the Lancashire Commitments Tracker that was going to be published every 3 months but hasn’t been updated since November?) we will not be holding our breath to see if they manage to do better with this one.

As the toothless officers at LCC were reported as saying at the recent community liaison group meeting that LCC cannot enforce breaches of the traffic management plan whilst trucks are being brought in under police convoy, we don’t have a great deal of faith in their capabilities either.

Is this really the gold standard regulation that Mark Menzies tries to claim exists?

Facilitation takes some strange forms

It is inarguable that Lancashire Constabulary are going above and beyond the call of duty in facilitating Cuadrilla’s operations, but some of the things we hear are quite frankly bizarre.

This story was sent to us by a motorcyclist who had some unexpected (by him at least) interaction with the boys in blue this week.

“Earlier today (21/04/2017), I was ‘trapped’ / ‘coralled’ (on my Honda Crosstourer bike) by a ‘fleet’ of police cars.

I was travelling along Fleetwood Rd, towards the M55, with 2 motorway police cars a little further ahead.

One pulled into a private road on the left (to get behind me), the other carried on to the roundabout (Wesham Cir it’s called).
When I got to the roundabout he blocked the entrance, and I was sat directly in front of him for about 5 minutes – waiting.
(He was holding me (and all other traffic) up, I assume so that he could ensure that more backup got there).

He then pulled onto the roundabout and through, off onto Fleetwood Rd (so they had the road behind me ‘blocked’ and the only other exit road ‘blocked’). This ensured that if I was avoiding them, my only route was the motorway; I took the M55 slip-road.

I noticed a police car join about a 1/4 mile behind me, steam up the outside lane, then pull in behind me (reading my plate).
At this point, I noticed 2 other police cars coming up behind him.

He over-took me, pulled in front of me and displayed a message saying “FOLLOW ME”, the other police cars sat close behind.
He pulled over onto the hard-shoulder (and I followed, with the trailing police cars pulling in behind me).
They all got out of their cars, and the lead Police officer came to me.

Long & short of it: he told me that someone on a BMW GS motorcycle (resembling my bike) had been ‘tailing’ Cuadrilla lorry drivers, and they were just checking that it wasn’t me.

I told the officer that I supported what you guys are doing, but, they could see that my bike was not a BMW GS.
(How they think that it is illegal to ‘tail’ lorry drivers anyway – I have no idea).

What they did with me was complete over-kill – at one point, they had me stopped within 5 feet of a police car at the roundabout! Why didn’t he just get out of his car and walk up to me?

Why did they intentionally try to get me onto a motorway, where I can do 130 mph to avoid them?

How many people did they inconvenience stopping all traffic?

It was like some kind of ‘SWAT’ operation!

The officer himself was courteous / polite, but, they had no reason whatsoever for this stop. (They knew my bike type – they had me stopped in front of them for 5 minutes).

This is obviously official procedure; it was too ‘organised’, and what annoys me most is that I get a feeling that it was either:

a) a ‘practice’ session or


b) an attempt to get a threatening ‘warning’ to the BMW GS owner,
and this, regardless of the inconvenience caused to unrelated people.

I fully support what you guys are doing, and, this kind of treatment makes me think: ‘should I be doing more than just ‘supporting’?’.

I’d like to know how much Cuadrilla are paying the police to cover the cost of this tax-paid police ‘operation’, and I will be writing to the Chief Constable to ask that question.”

We will update here with any response that is received.

 

A letter to Chief Inspector Keith Ogle

Dear Keith

Today I stood by the roadside at Preston New Road. I had several interesting conversations with members of your staff about the right to protest, how it could or should be manifested, and the problems perceived by those at the roadside with the way that your staff  are clearly facilitating Cuadrilla’s actions.

Whilst we were talking I counted 14 protestors. 10 on the opposite side to Cuadrilla, and 4 on the Cuadrilla side of the road including one (Nick) in a wheelchair. I don’t, of course, mean to detract from Nick’s capability as a protester as he is formidable. He was also one of the youngest and quite possibly the strongest of us. We did a quick straw poll and estimated that the average age of the protesters there was about 60.

Imagine our surprise to count no less than 5 TAU vans, each containing 9 policemen disgorging their contents to facilitate the withdrawal of 3 vans from the Cuadrilla site. Yes, that was 54 policemen plus the 4 police liaison officers – nearly 60 policemen deployed to deal with 14, mostly elderly, protestors.

You cannot fail to be aware that there are some very serious questions about the role that the police have adopted in actively facilitating Cuadrilla’s actions, but this is just totally separate level of stupid. Which operational commander could reasonably make the decision to deploy trained police officers in numbers that  outnumber  pensioners by four to one? What on earth did that commander think was going to happen here?

The police’s management of this entire situation, from a promising start has since been crass and insensitive throughout.  You have steadfastly refused to become involved in issues breaches of planning permissions , but you have made every effort to ensure that Cuadrilla’s operations are not affected by protest. You have blue-lighted their lorries through red lights (a councillor tells me she has evidence of this) and you have threatened protestors with arrest if they attempt to test the legitimacy of slow walks. The result is that your force has created such an imbalance that your staff are manifestly struggling to manage the tensions that are now simmering at the road side, and everyone is agreed on both sides of the argument that the cost of this ineffective policing is frankly ridiculous.

For everyone’s good take a step back, reappraise the situation and come to the table with something more workable. This is going to go on for years. You cannot want this ridiculous and very public example of disproportionate  policing to continue any more than we all do.

Kind regards

John

Sent on 19 April 2017 at 15:37

Weil Bodies

A week or so ago number of Protectors were on the roadside by Wensley’s farm and noticed that a cow, which seemed to have been isolated in the field next to his house, had a very red udder.

Today, while at Preston New Road I went to inspect Cuadrilla’s new protest pen. It’s in the area covered by an injunction granted to 12 claimants, who include two Cuadrilla companies and 10 other interested parties, so the fact that Cuadrilla have claimed that just one of those parties, Mr Wensley, claim that they grant limited permission for access doesn’t really change a thing. Access would still clearly be in breach of the injunction granted in Manchester by HH Judge Raynor

Anyway, for obvious reasons I didn’t go in, but I did read the notice pinned to the fence outside the protest pen. Here it is.

Note the highlighted section which reads:

An anti-bacterial station is positioned at (sic) the area and users of the area are advised to use that station when entering and exiting the area. Please observe the signs in the area regarding leptosporosis

Now, I am familiar with leptosporosis because it is also known as Weil’s Disease, and as a water-sports enthusiast I have to be careful of rat infested water as rat’s urine is a common vector for this nasty disease.

NHS Choices tells us

Leptospirosis is a type of bacterial infection spread by animals. It’s caused by a strain of bacteria called leptospira.

In 90% of cases, leptospirosis only causes mild flu-like symptoms, such as a headache, chills and muscle pain.

However, in some cases the infection is more severe and can cause life-threatening problems, including organ failure and internal bleeding. In its most severe form, leptospirosis is also known as Weil’s disease.

The common mild symptoms mean most leptospirosis infections are hard to diagnose. Diagnosis is easier if the infection causes more serious problems.

Leptospirosis is spread to humans by animals.

You can catch it by touching soil or water contaminated with the urine of wild animals infected with the leptospira bacteria.

Animals known to be carriers of the leptospira bacteria include cattle, pigs, dogs and rodents, particularly rats.

I hadn’t been aware that cattle could be carriers, although I have noticed that there is no shortage of rats in Cuadrilla’s working area 😉

In cattle “a peculiar type of mastitis is another distinctive form of leptospirosis.” . I am no vet and it may, of course, be coincidental that one of Mr Wensley’s cattle appeared to have an inflamed udder. If he let’s us know we’ll update this.

Either way it seems very strange that Cuadrilla are inviting people to stand in an area where they clearly believe there is a risk of contracting a potentially fatal disease. The risk is presumably fairly small (there are only 40 cases a year reported in humans in the UK) but the requirement for plastic bottles of hand sanitiser is hardly reassuring. Let’s hope none of the hordes who throng to view the PNR flaring is wearing sandals and there isn’t a footbath!

Perhaps they should not be too surprised to learn that nobody I know was intending to enter the area even before they announced it was a potential source of leptosporosis. However, it does bring into question the fact that vehicles are constantly being allowed to leave the site without the wheel washing, and there is no sign of similar bottles of hand sanitiser at the site entrance /exit. Why not?

We are really not sure what is going on here but if Farmer Wensley or Cuadrilla’s PR consultants on the “Community Information Line” would like to clarify things we will happily include their comments here.

Commitment Phobia

Our last post was about Cuadrilla’s failure to honour their commitment to a “Putting Lancashire First” tracker. Looking today for an update on their Community Liaison Group it is starting to look as though this failure is systemic. It’s almost as though they are hiding something, or just don’t wish to engage with the local community (apart of course from their pet supporters like Fylde RUFC and AFC UKIP)

According to Cuadrilla’s website, since this time 2 years ago there has only been one meeting of the Preston New Road Community Liaison Group. It seems to have taken place on 20th March according to its agenda. However, Cuadrilla’s PR agency, Lexington Communications, who run the group don’t seem to have quite got round to providing any minutes nearly a month later.

With this level of community engagement is it any wonder that Cuadrilla have no social licence to operate in the area?

I wonder if Lancashire County Council should be giving them a little prod. Administering a CLG is, after all, a part of their planning conditions.

LCC – Kowtowing to Cuadrilla?

There has been much contention over the last 5 days about the way in which Cuadrilla have appropriated a patch of land over which, according to the police, the public have a right of way.

On Friday the Heras fencing at the site, which had been along the hedge line was moved forward without explanation until it met the edge of the cycle path.

It would surely be cynical to suggest that Cuadrilla’s motivation for this was to deny the area to activists who had caused them problems during the week by “locking-on”. Wouldn’t it?

It took a while to establish who gave them permission. The police didn’t know and it was only by the concerted application of pressure that a PLO finally confirmed on Monday evening that a certain Paul Smith of Lancashire County Council had emailed permission to Cuadrilla on the previous Friday.

We have now had sight of the demand made by Cuadrilla and the rubber stamp given to it by Mr Smith


Nobody we have asked (protestors, police or security staff) claims to have seen Cuadrilla make any effort to do any work which would require this fencing to be in place since they were granted permission 5 days ago.

We do not believe that the granting of this permission, without any qualification or detailed consideration, demonstrates an adequate duty of care for the interests of all of the stakeholders so we have, today had this exchange of emails with Mr Smith. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions about whether his response is satisfactory.

From me to Paul Smith – 14 March 09:40

Dear Mr Smith

I am writing to express my serious concern about the permission which you have apparently granted to Cuadrilla to move their Heras fencing out over the public footway at the side of Preston New Road to the edge of the cycle lane.

I understand that this permission was granted to them by email from yourself, ostensibly to allow them to carry out some work on utilities and sight lines, last Friday (10th March).

This raises the following questions:

1. Is the footway a right of way? If so were the procedures laid down here adhered to and where was the closure advertised?

http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-travel/public-rights-of-way/request-a-temporary-closure.aspx

2. Is there a time limit on the permission. If so what is it? If not, why not? You will of course be aware that although the fences were moved 5 days ago there has been no sign of any work whatsoever on sight lines or utilities in the vicinity of the fence.

3. Why was permission granted to block the footway in its entirety? This is totally unnecessary as any work on sight lines could be done with fencing at either end, not spanning the entire ~20 metres of the footway. Presumably the same is true of work on utilities.

4. Why was a condition not imposed that the Heras fencing should only be moved out while work was in progress and moved back when work was not being done. According to staff on site it would only take 5 minutes to move the fencing in and out, so allowing the footway to be blocked continually is clearly disproportionate.

Pending your response to the above I would be grateful if you would provide a copy of the permission email so that we can validate what is being done against what had been permitted.

As one police officer commented to me yesterday, “You know why Cuadrilla have done this, we know why Cuadrilla have done this, it is just LCC who don’t”.

As long as Cuadrilla are facilitated in blocking legitimate protest by flaunting the permission they have got from you and closing off an area where protest has taken place, then evidence suggests that that protest will simply move as you saw yesterday. The result yesterday was that a highway for which you are responsible got blocked by protest on a lorry.

If I might proffer a suggestion, you would satisfy any of Cuadrilla’s genuine requirements and make the police’s job much easier if you rescinded the permission that you have apparently granted Cuadrilla and reissued a more qualified permission which takes in to account the reality of the situation, and not what is convenient to  Cuadrilla.

Kind regards

John

From Paul Smith to me – 14 March 10:10

Mr Hobson

Further to your email below I have the following responses:

1. the area of highway fenced off is not a footway but is a grass verge

2. there is no particular time limit as the placing of the fencing at the approved location does not have any impact on the general travelling public

3. as previously stated, it is not a footway but is in fact a grass verge

4. as the location of the fencing does not affect the general travelling public I am happy for the fencing to remain in position until all the remedial works have been carried out.

Please find attached a copy of my email granting permission for the positioning of the fence.

[No sign off or signature – emails between Paul Smith and Nick Mace shown above attached]

From me to Paul Smith – 14 March 10:47

Mr Smith

1. The police in attendance at PNR (both PLOs and TAU) have made it very clear that they regard the grass verge and the tarmaced space in between the hedges, as an area to which the public has a right of access. They routinely describe is as a “footway”. Would you please clarify the legal basis on which you appear to be claiming that it is not.

2. Whilst the general travelling public may not be directly impacted by the fencing, you clearly have a duty to ensure that the rights of pedestrians are taken into account. You appear not to have considered the position of pedestrians as stakeholders in this decision that you have taken. Would you please clarify the basis on which you have discounted the rights of the many people who have continually used the area under discussion over the last 2 months

3. Regardless of whether you call it a footway or a verge, you have given indefinite permission for Cuadrilla to block off an area to which the police have confirmed on multiple occasions people have a legitimate right of access. From the email trail below you seem to have rubber stamped a demand from Cuadrilla (it is not phrased as a request is it?) without question, and without imposing any conditions or limitations, or considering any ways in which the impact could have been mitigated by limiting the scope of the permission. In acting in this way you have failed to take into account the needs and rights of all of the stakeholders concerned. Again I think it fair to ask you to explain why.

4. Again you seem to ignore the needs and rights of the many people who have used this area over the last two months. You appear to have been given no indication of the likely duration of whatever works may be envisaged, nor do you appear to have asked for such information. If you did perhaps you would be kind enough to provide some documentary evidence of that.

Having been made aware of the issues involved and the inflammatory potential of your decision, I am genuinely surprised and disappointed that you should adopt such a dismissive attitude towards the issues raised.

I would request that you pay this matter more attention and then respond more positively to me as one of Lancashire’s council tax payers. If you prefer not to then I will escalate this within the council, with my own representative and with the police.

Regards

John Hobson

Mr Smith has now replied as follows

Mr Hobson

1.       If the Police routinely describe this area as footway, unfortunately they are incorrect.  The area in question is a grass verge with the footway being on the south side of Preston New Road.
2.       The rights of pedestrians are taken into account by the availability of the footway on the southern side of Preston New Road.  This is no different to any site of a similar nature
3.       Permission has been granted for the duration of the remedial works.  As you will see from the email from Cuadrilla, I will be informed when the works have been completed.  As previously stated, as there is no effect on the general travelling public I have no particular concerns regarding the timescale of the remedials subject to them being carried out in a timely manner
4.       The area of adopted highway that is now fenced off for the remedial works to be carried out is far less than the area cordoned off whilst the access was being constructed.  This is a vast improvement for the general travelling public.
5.       I have not taken a “dismissive attitude to the issues raised” but have answered the queries raised.

Regards

Paul Smith

To which I have responded at 1pm

Mr Smith

Thank you for your reply which I will discuss with police officers on site before reverting to you or escalating this further.

I note the expansion of the email recipients to include Sgt Hill and your other colleagues.

kind regards

John Hobson

Having discussed with local PLOs and the Chief Constable of Lancashire who was visiting the site today, I decided to check what the status of the land now was, given the open ended permission given by Mr Smith to Cuadrilla, so I emailed the Head of Planning ad 16:45 this evening

Dear Mr Mullaney

With relation to the email trail below, can I please ask you to confirm whether the permission to move the fence, granted to Cuadrilla by your colleague Mr Smith, means that the extra land now within the barrier is officially part of the works area of the development site, and therefore subject to the same planning regulations, development control and other planning department protocols?

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards

John Hobson

Taking stock

It is now 8 weeks since Cuadrilla unexpectedly started work at Preston New Road.  I say unexpectedly because from what we were told they forgot to alert local residents and possibly the police until the day after they started, which was not a very auspicious start to any pretence at community relations.

How are they doing?

Well,  Francis Egan, CEO, of Cuadrilla, is putting a brave face on in spite of  protectors continually demonstrating outside the site, and the pop-up protests, which are convincing supply chain companies to re-evaluate their dealings with a company which is so unpopular locally. Only today Drill or Drop report that “Cuadrilla has told DrillOrDrop that its operation remained on schedule.

However, if we take a look at where they expected to be we can see a yawning gap between what was planned for the first two months and what has actually been achieved. Obviously we don’t have access to their actual project plan, but they have indicated the progress they expected to make in other documents

Here is what we can see in their Environmental Statement:

Anyone who has visited the site will be aware that the access track isn’t even near finished yet.  The exploration well pad is still a pile of soil, work on fencing has only just started  with sound baffles having been delivered only this week by a freight company who have since asked not to be further involved with the project. The drilling cellars are pits where the boreholes will be drilled, and there is no obvious sign of these having been excavated.  The conductor casing (to prevent the sides of the hole from caving into the wellbore) presumably can’t be put in before the pad itself has been constructed. Fortunately for Cuadrilla United Utilities thoughtfully supplied a new mains water pipe running just past the site only very recently. What a lucky co-incidence that was, but we have seen no evidence of any connection  between it and the pad site.

At this point the next step would be to drill the first well.

It will be very interesting to see how much later than 2 months it is before the drill bit hits the ground. The arrival date of the drilling rig will give a very clear indication of the impact that protectors have had on the pad construction schedule.

 

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