Who are we?
We are Preston New Road Action group: a group of local Fylde residents who came together in opposition to Cuadrilla’s plans to frack our neighbourhood. Some of us live within 300 metres of the proposed well pads. Members of PNR are not campaigners, but ordinary residents who have found themselves in the middle of an industry which is being foisted on the general public whether they agree to it or not. The key thing binding us together is a shared horror of what this industry could do to any Community not just our own. We started off small, but through our sheer determination, we have increased in numbers and experience. Our oldest member is 94 years old and we cross several generations. We have had to learn so much.We have also spent a lot, particularly in terms of our time and energy. Most of us have had our lives totally disrupted and transformed by the threat.
But so far it has been worthwhile. We achieved a major success, not only for ourselves but to dash the hopes of fracking in Lancashire and in the UK, in obtaining a reversal of the Lancashire County Council officer’s recommendation to grant the applications. Both the main fracking application and a second application to industrialise the area with over 90 monitoring stations were refused by the Development Control Committee.
We achieved this by employing a number of experts to give evidence on our behalf on various technical aspects of the main fracking application, and the final victory on 29th June was, we are sure, due to our instructing our barrister to advise the Committee members of his assessment of their legal position, which was at variance with the Council’s own legal advice. The coup-de-grace was delivered by Friends of the Earth, who provided their QC’s similar assessment of the legal position which the councillors received at the last minute on the morning of the 29th June 2015. The Committee agreed to refuse on noise and landscape grounds.
We did not expect the refusals to be the end of our battle, however, we are prepared.
In February 2014 Cuadrilla announced plans to apply for planning permission to carry out horizontal high pressure hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of four wells at each of two sites in Lancashire. One site is at Little Plumptons.
The Little Plumptons site, also referred to as the Preston New Road Site is situated half way between Little Plumptons and Peel Corner on the A583, a few miles from the famous holiday resort of Blackpool and the genteel township of Lytham St Annes.
If this goes ahead and is successful, this will be the first of thousands of wells covering the Fylde landscape.
We share the concerns about fracking held by many others across Lancashire:
- Health issues
- Environmental impact – pollution of the surrounding ground and water, noise pollution, visual impact, air quality
- Increased numbers of HGVs on our roads, some carrying toxic waste
- Inadequate regulation
- Inadequate independent monitoring
- Risk of earthquakes
- Damage to property
- Impact on house prices