Reading a report from Australia today by a medical doctor who was documenting some of the health impacts of fracking and the tactics used by the fracking companies I was struck by this quote at the end :
Unfortunately, the company can get a foot in the door if the community is not strong and united. It only takes a few weak links. The gas companies are really good at picking off their targets to get a foothold; the trusting and uninformed, the crusty old guy who doesn’t get on with his relatives (Hi Charlie!), someone ill who can’t carry on, the family with financial problems so bad they would be made up with a few bucks, the greedy one who doesn’t care and who is given a sweetener to be the local poster boy for the gas company…
They will also sniff around pretending to be the good guys, throwing a trivial amount of money at the local football team or sponsoring a major sporting or cultural event. They positively try to split communities.
What is clear is that Cuadrilla can and will pay piffling (for them) amounts to local community projects in an attempt to persuade us that the are, in the words of their web page title “Part of the Community http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/about-us/part-of-the-community/.
We note, without comment, that their published policy on bribery states that their policy included
“Not giving, promising or offering a bribe for any purpose including business advantage”
“Not making any charitable donations for the purpose of gaining commercial advantage”
I thought it would be interesting to document here the money Cuadrilla are spending on buying community support. Here is a list of what we were aware of up until 2014. Since then we are aware of further donations to AFC Fylde, sponsorship of local business event The Bibas and the creation of a prize fund for a Young Engineers competition. They do seem to be following the playbook quite closely.
Cuadrilla, for the avoidance of doubt, paying out a few thousand pounds does NOT buy you the right to claim to be part of our community.
|Lowther Pavilion||£10,000||Contribution towards 30k cost of bar improvements||Many people now saying that they will boycott the venue||2014 01|
|Windmill Youth Development Group||£6,000||For the Snows Rebuilding Programme||Shortly afterwards Windmill Youth Group wrote to LCC supporting Cuadrilla's planning application||2013 01|
|Blackpool Gazette Young Engineers Competition||£12,000||Schools competition prize||2013 01|
|Treales cleanup||Unknown||Clearing up mess made in their survey operation||Great PR photo of Cuadrilla's H&S Director having his hand squeezed by Fylde's mayor.||2013 01|
|Layton Clarets Under 13 Soccer team||Unknown||Contribution towards team kit||On a photo call at a well we are told by a parent that "The site managers were horrible to the kids and the ' boss man' wouldn't come out to meet them.The coach ended up having a row with them. " Pantomime villains or what ?||2012|
|Weeton Village Hall||£2,000||The money will be used to furnish and decorate the new village hall which the Parish Council hopes will be built in the next couple of years.||2012 03|
|Elswick in Bloom||£500||The village Britain in Bloom campaign and wildlife meadow project.||2011 06|