Row over anti-frack leaflet

A fracking rig at Preese Hall
A fracking rig at Preese Hall

The company which wants to frack for gas on the Fylde has written to the Charity Commission to complain about a global environmental activist group.

Cuadrilla is angry about a leaflet opposing fracking circulated last autumn which the gas exploration firm says is misleading.

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan

It said Friends of the Earth was using scaremongering to raise funds from the public, who were led to believe that they were donating to a charity and not to a limited company.

After an initial complaint, the Commission wrote to Cuadrilla on January 15 this year saying that Friends of the Earth Trust asserted that it had handed over the anti-fracking campaign to Friends of the Earth’s Limited company in June 2015 because it was becoming a “politically sensitive issue.”

But Cuadrilla has complained again saying that was not true and also that the leaflet talked about fracking using a toxic cocktail of chemicals that was also not true.

Cuadrilla boss Francis Egan said: “It is deplorable that a recognised charity is now choosing to distance itself from a misleading and fear inducing fundraising leaflet by hiding behind its non-charitable associate.

Fracking has already been banned in New York State because of a two-year long study that found ‘significant health risks’

“The public has had enough of charities which abuse the fundraising process. We urge the Charity Commission to investigate the fiction that this charity is no longer involved in campaigning against fracking. It is a sham.”

However, Friends of the Earth’s Mike Childs hit back saying: “The health and environmental impacts of fracking are well documented.

“Fracking has already been banned in New York State because of a two-year long study that found ‘significant health risks’. It’s also banned in France and has been put on hold in Germany, Scotland and Wales.

“These attacks on Friends of the Earth seem to be designed to stifle debate and 
intimidate local opposition.

The leaflet causing controversy

The leaflet causing controversy

“Lancashire County Council rejected fracking after listening to the views of local people, but this decision may be overturned by the Government. We urge people in Blackpool, to again make their feelings known by joining us at a protest outside Blackpool FC when the planning inquiry begins on February 9.”