Fracking firm Cuadrilla has denied that its Preston New Road site is being run down after opponents said equipment was being removed.
The shale gas company, which has drilled two wells at the Little Plumpton site, said the latest move – taking down the 30 ft high, green, acoustic barrier – was just to “reduce the visual impact”.
The firm has taken away various items in recent weeks since fracking ended following a series of earth tremors, and said it was simply “good business practice”.
A spokesman said: “We have demobilised some of the specialist equipment from our shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road as we’ve finished this particular part of the work programme.
“We’re looking forward now to the next phase of hydraulic fracturing and unlocking a huge economic opportunity for the county and country for decades to come. Please be reassured that work is ongoing and both our wells remain ready for hydraulic fracturing.”
But campaigners said that, in the light of the UK’s climate emergency declaration this week and the Committee on Climate Change's report calling for a carbon neutral UK by 2050, it was time to quit.
Frack Free Lancashire said:“We’ve watched the site at Preston New Road being stripped down of kit for the last few months, with only a scant amount of equipment now remaining. It’s hard to see how fracking will ever be a feature in the UK, not least because we cannot afford to start any new fossil fuel industry under the misinformation of it being a ‘bridge’ fuel.
“The Committee on Climate Change has made it very clear that there should be a 32 per cent reduction in gas consumption by 2050, with a massive renewable energy investment needed to move away from fossil fuels.
“To keep in line with their license and permits, Cuadrilla only just seven months remaining to drill two new wells and frack three. Considering it took two years to drill and frack just five per cent of one well, it doesn’t look good for them.”
Jamie Peters of Friends of the Earth said: “Cuadrilla have been working at Preston New Road for over two years and have achieved nothing but earthquakes and eyesores. Taking even more equipment away just shows that time’s up for Cuadrilla.”