Gas firm ‘pleased’ despite protestors

Cuadrilla public information day at Church Rd Methodist Church hall, St Annes. Cuadrilla CEO Mark Miller.
Cuadrilla public information day at Church Rd Methodist Church hall, St Annes. Cuadrilla CEO Mark Miller.

HUNDREDS of people packed into a St Annes centre when a controversial shale gas drilling firm staged its first public information event on its activities in Fylde.

Cuadrilla Resources’ invited folk to the Church Road Centre on Saturday - the first of three planned events.

The company has sites in Singleton, Weeton and Westby and has just unveiled plans to carry out a geophysical survey of the Fylde to detect where best to drill.

The firm has been slammed for its fracking process – pumping water under-ground at high speed to fracture the rock and release gas.

Outside, members of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (Raff) handed out leaflets and asked people to sign a petition against further development at the sites.

The group’s Ian Roberts, of Hope Street, St Annes, said: “Our fear is there is no over arching scrutiny of this process, we want more expert input before anything is allowed to proceed which could damage our local environment.

“People are worried about pollution and tremors, and none of the people we’ve spoken to seem to have left this information day feeling reassured.”

Fracking at the sites is currently suspended while an investigation into local earth tremors is conducted by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Dr David Roberts, of St Annes, said: “The whole process makes me feel very nervous. I have read about the potential impact on water supplies, including one suggestion the water can ignite.”

Another resident who attended but wished not to be named, said: “Our overall conclusion is that it seems as though this is going full steam ahead with little chance to be able to stop the economic juggernaut that Caudrilla will tempt the local council with. It would appear that the local residents will have to reside to the fact that this will bring economic benefit for 10-20 years to the Fylde area with little safeguard in knowing what the long term effects on the area, conservation and indeed house prices.”

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “These information days are part of our policy of being open about what we do, demonstrating that everything Cuadrilla does is safe, worthwhile and carried out to a high standard. We really enjoyed talking about our work with visitors and were very pleased with the expressions of support we received from local people who came along.”

The two other Cuadrilla information days are at: Elswick Village Hall, Thursday, March 1, 5pm-8.30pm; Wesham Community Centre, Friday, March 2, 5pm-8.30pm.