STATEMENT FROM RIBBLE ESTUARY AGAINST FRACKING
On May 4th 2015, local residents supported by Ribble Estuary Against Fracking, members of Frack Free Lancashire, Friends of the Earth, Transition Southport, members of The Green Party, Labour Party, and Northern Party joined forces to show their opposition to Cuadrilla’s operations in Banks and to Lancashire County Council’s permission to allow them to detonate explosives to test the flow of gas at the Becconsall site.
3 and a half years after Cuadrilla initially drilled the well at Banks, the fracking company who own the license from the government to frack most of Lancashire, are returning to perform 2 more years of operations at the Banks / Becconsall site off Marsh Road. In order to test the flow of gas there will be explosions to perforate the well casing. There is serious concern by residents that the size and type of explosives have not been disclosed. Cuadrilla will be working 24 hours a day for the full 2 week period when rigging and setting up the pressure monitoring equipment
Lancashire County Council Planning Department granted the application which can be classed as mineral exploration use and a potential precursor to any mineral extraction, the day before the Bank holiday weekend.
Planning Reference – LC/2014/0047.
Retention of the site compound and access track for a further 3 years to allow pressure monitoring of the Hodder Mudstone and Bowland Shale rock formations, followed by plugging and abandonment of the existing exploratory well and site restoration. Becconsall Shale Gas Exploration Site, Banks Enclosed Marsh, Bonny Barn Road, Hundred End, Banks.
However it is 7 months since the actual committee meeting for Cuadrilla’s aplication. The delay being due to the requirement of an important set of conditions which form part of this agreement. In spite of repeated requests by Ribble Estuary Against Fracking for proof that these conditions have been fulfilled, LCC have still not made these details available.
REAF is deeply concerned Lancashire County Council has given permission for Cuadrilla to return to our community especially now the dangers of fracking are widely known. As far as we are concerned, Cuadrilla have NO social license to operate anywhere in Lancashire.
Cuadrilla’s web site states that “We will discuss any tests with the local community before carrying them out”. No such community discussions have taken place.
These questions need asking:What explosive will be used? How many explosions will there be? How big will the explosions be?
REAF (Ribble Estury Against Fracking) will continue to chase the missing conditions from Lancashire County Council, monitor what is going on and inform local people of developments.