Eyes of world on drill protest

Lytham Green showing the famous windmill
Lytham Green showing the famous windmill

A PICNIC with a difference is set to take over Lytham Green as protesters campaign against controversial shale gas drilling in Fylde.

Residents want to show the world how they feel about fracking on Fylde – and have scheduled a protest to coincide with the start of this month’s Open Golf Championships.

The peaceful event has been organised by protest group Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF), who have stressed they are not out to cause trouble during the prestigious tournament.

Group member Pam Foster said: “The idea for the Gathering on the Green came about because we wanted to highlight to local residents – and the world at large – that the Open Golf is something to be celebrated.

“But, if Fylde becomes an industrialised fracking area as planned, then who knows – The Open might not come here again and neither might tourists.

“All the eyes of the world will be on Lytham and St Annes and we had thought of a demonstration, but we realise the economic importance of the event for this area and we didn’t want to jeopardise that. However we felt we had to do something to highlight the planned destruction of rural Fylde, hence the idea for a peaceful, family-orientated gathering.”

The Open Golf Championships run from July 16 to July 22, and the Gathering on the Green is planned for 6pm on July 18, the day before the official tournament starts.

RAFF hope it will encourage people to take action against fracking, and Ms Foster added: “We believe in a softly-softly approach. We want to educate residents on the dangers of an unregulated industry and persuade them to take action by writing to their MP, DECC and all the other bodies.

“Most importantly, we want the event to highlight the fact that Fylde’s residents don’t want our beautiful countryside to be the testing ground for fracking in the UK.”

Shale gas company Cuadrilla Resources has sites in Weeton, Singleton and Westby on the Fylde, although fracking is currently suspended.