Around 10 protesters from Greenpeace have erected a mock drilling rig outside Lancashire council’s county hall in Preston, to protest at plans byenergy company Cuadrilla to resume fracking in the county this autumn.
The action follows a similar stunt by the green group in March, when itset up a rig in the Cheshire constituency of the chancellor, George Osborne, who has been one of the most vocal backers of fracking for shale gas
Liz Stanton, a Preston resident and Greenpeace supporter, told the Guardian that she was protesting because fracking was not going to bring Lancashire any benefits. “It’s going to bring heavy industrial aggravation, water pollution, and it’s not going to bring the jobs like we’ve been promised.”
She said the local mood was “very positive” towards opposition to fracking and that while a “couple [of people] have not wanted to take our letters [this morning]” most had wished her good luck.
The activists have put an eight foot-high fence around the rig, and protesters are wearing hard hats and high-vis jackets with the fictional company name “Frack & Go”.
Cuadrilla, the energy company that has already undertaken fracking operations in Lancashire but suspended them after earthquakes in 2011, told the Guardian that it will soon take the first steps to reopening its operations in Lancashire. On Tuesday, the company also said it would be applying for new licences to drill for oil at its site in Balcombe, West Sussex, which has become the focus of anti-fracking protests in the past two months and where a small camp of activists remains.
A spokesman for Lancashire county council said no planning decisions were currently scheduled regarding fracking operations.
This week, leading economist Lord Stern said that claims made by David Cameron last month that exploiting shale gas in the UK would bring down energy prices were “baseless.”
“I do think it’s a bit odd to say you know that it will bring the price of gas down. That doesn’t look like sound economics to me. It’s baseless economics,” he told the Independent.