Unrest over Cuadrilla FrackingTagged as: economic_crisis environmentalism free_spaces social_struggles
Neighbourhoods: blackpool bowland fleetwood fylde lancashire lytham preese_hall st_annes wyre
Residents from the Fylde gathered on Sunday at St Cuthbert's in Lytham to discuss and question the proposed hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the area. Drilling company Cuadrilla Resources is seeking the green light to go ahead with fracking at Preese Hall farm, Singleton. A further 800 sites are also being considered in the area for fracking.
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Gayzer Tarjanyi of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) and ‘No Cuadrilla Lytham' invited residents of both the Fylde and other areas that could be affected by fracking; a highly controversial practice of extracting gas from shale by drilling deep into the ground and pushing through vast quantities of fresh water and chemicals. Independent Engineer Mike Hill, an adviser to Fylde Borough Council Task & Finish Group on Fracking gave up his time to give a well-informed presentation and answered questions at the meeting; attended by more than 80 concerned individuals from as far afield as Manchester.
Ministers to allow fracking in the Fylde
Hill highlighted the technical detail of the processes of hydraulic fracturing as well as addressing the issues of regulation and responsibility. Currently, there is still no clarity on which department has complete accountability or what official regulations are in place by the Department of Energy and Climate Change(DECC) or The Health & Safety Executive(HSE). Despite this, the DECC report on ‘Induced Seismic Mitigation' that came out last week, advises Ministers to allow fracking in the Fylde.
Tarjanyi chaired the meeting that included two films; representing Cuadrilla's assurances of safety as well as the concerns, risks and evidence of ongoing harm in the USA: "We would like to take this opportunity to applaud Mike Hill on his dogged determination to give up so much of his time and self finance his one man crusade to pursue strict regulations on fracking. " Hill has dedicated the past 18 months to exploring the regulations, responsibility and practice of fracking and communicated extensively with all parties involved: DECC, HSE, Cuadrilla, concerned citizens and action groups.
The well-attended meeting went on longer than the planned three hours as the number of questions reflected wide-spread concerns. A resident at the meeting said she had no idea that there were so many wells planned for the area and that each would require the use of up to 500 trucks during the process. This was a concern echoed by many who attended, as was the issue of regulation of the fracking industry.
"Do you want your kids at risk from this stuff?"
A new member of RAFF who attended the meeting, Tina Rothery: "I have deep worries about fracking and feel like we do not have a say in what is being planned. It feels like we are simply being told not to worry because Cuadrilla will ensure safety for us. I don't think that's good enough; I want my government to take responsibility, not a private drilling company with profit as a prime motivator. Fracking worsens our air quality, brings a huge amount of traffic and activity to each well, increases the risks of earthquakes and puts our water supply at risk from the dangerous chemicals used in the fracking process. Chemicals used include some pretty awful threats to our health, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Do you want your kids at risk from this stuff?"
Most in attendance have vowed to find out more about how the fracking operations will affect the area; with many planning on writing to their insurance companies to find out how this will affect premiums and property values. The Royal Society for the Protection for Birds and the Royal Horticultural Society are also being approached for their views. There was a clear determination from people at the meeting that they will be continuing to meet, share information and push for answers.
Tarjanyi offered to provide the PA system, projector and screen to any community seeking to inform their residents of the dangers and directed those at the meeting to the RAFF website www.stopfyldefracking.org.uk : "After four meetings this has been shown to be the best way to give residents information and contacts to be able to voice their concerns and be able to act. As well as giving factual information that Cuadrilla didn't give on their recent three-town PR tour of the Fylde(St Annes, Elswick & Wesham). Being a Children's Entertainer I felt I may be able to shed a light on the fact that may be lost in all the overwhelming information; that this is on the biggest events that we face in our life time here on the Fylde and is the legacy we will leave to our children if we do not act now, while we still can."
Please contact RAFF on 01253 734678 or visit www.stopfyldefracking.org.uk for further information.
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