Pro-frackers have launched a drive to encourage people to get behind shale gas drilling ahead of two crucial hearings later this month.
The North West Energy Task Force, a group of businesses and individuals who believe that a fracking industry in Lancashire could bring a boost to jobs and the economy, says a ‘yes’ decision from Lancashire County Council over exploration bids by energy firm Cuadrilla at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, and Roseacre, is vital.
Now a group of 10 Lancastrians have publicly come out today to state why they believe the gas extraction process is important in a Faces of Shale campaign.
The group, which is backed by energy firm Centrica, said those people – who range from business through to students and farmers – believe that shale will be good for them, the region and the nation.
But opponents of fracking say the group’s views do not reflect those of Fylde folk.
John Kersey, chairman of the Lancashire Branch of the Institute of Directors, said:“This is a diverse group of people, but all share a common commitment to the North West and are united in the conviction that shale gas has a pivotal role to play in the region’s future success.”
This is a diverse group of people, but all share a common commitment to the North West and are united in the conviction that shale gas has a pivotal role to play in the region’s future success
He said shale would act as a catalyst to bring the vital investment necessary to secure existing industries and develop new ones. Blackpool hotelier Claire Smith said: “We badly need more and better-skilled jobs, which are more sustainable and less seasonal. Shale will help provide this.”
Julie Sayer, a Blackpool based hotelier, said: “It would be great if our grand-daughter had the option of staying in the area because there was a thriving industry.”
Paul Hennessey, Oil and Gas Manager at Atg UV Technology, Wigan, said: “If we get this right there could soon be Lancastrians in flat caps like me across the whole of Europe showing our neighbours how it’s done.”
Others from the group include Poulton student Katie Eyre, Banks farmer Jack Wright, Fylde businessman Marcus Addison, president of the Lancashire North and Western Chamber of Commerce, Norman Tenray, Preston gas driller Arthur Parson, Blackpool apartments businessman Paul Linderman and Lytham geology 6th form student Will Nickson.
But a spokesman for the Preston New Road Action Group said: “The claim that this meant support from Fylde communities for fracking would be laughable if it were not only untrue but offensive to the people who were at direct threat from industrialisation of their neighbourhood.
“Lancashire County Council has received tens of thousands of objections to the fracking applications.
“To put up against that figure statements by 10 individuals who mistakenly believe fracking would bring benefits to the area is a feeble response, to say the least.
“I can tell the self-styled Task Force that the local community is overwhelmingly against fracking.”