Lancashire fracking decision and Cuadrilla’s charm offensive
Whether or not fracking happens in Lancashire remains on a knife edge. But while we wait for the decision, expected at a County Council meeting on Monday, it’s worth remembering just how much the Westminster Government and Cuadrilla have thrown at making it happen.
• David Cameron said that we’re going ‘all out for shale’;
• George Osborne has been getting all Machiavellian to make fracking happen;
• Amber Rudd, the new Energy Secretary, is a fan;
• The media, many of which support fracking (Mr Murdoch has interests in fracking) and when they can’t dismantle the anti-fracking messages, they attack the messengers instead.
Most importantly though, Cuadrilla’s been on a charm offensive and has been dishing out some of its plentiful investment to Lancashire organisations and ventures ahead of seeking permission to frack, including:
• Fylde Rugby Club
• Lowther Pavillion
• Windmill Youth Development Group – which has supported fracking
• Layton Juniors Under 13 football team
• Weeton Village Hall
• Elswick in Bloom
• Kirkham Young Farmers Club
• Lytham 10k race
• National Schools and Colleges 7s Rugby Tournament
• Lancashire Evening Post Education Awards
• Be Inspired Business Award
This unquestionable big-heartedness has not been restricted to these PR-friendly ventures. Cuadrilla also bank rolls the fracking hype machine that is the North West Energy Task Force (NWETF). The NWETF has been very busy trying to drum up support for fracking in Lancashire and this culminated in its recent Faces of Shale campaign which found 10 (ten!) people in Lancashire to support fracking.
Despite all of this activity the majority of Lancastrians still don’t want to see fracking in their county. Opposition keeps growing with thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses and local unions all against the fracking plans. And last week showed that Cuadrilla has also failed to convince a majority of the councillors to approve their plans.
All that time and money spent and Cuadrilla still can’t sell fracking to this clued-up public. They don’t buy the claims of no environmental impact and the hype about job creation and lower bills.
Of course, it’s not just Lancashire and it’s not just Cuadrilla – others have got their beady eyes on some other prime spots. But for now, the priority is to stand with the people of Lancashire to stop fracking in the county.
You can help by attending the rally at County Hall in Preston on Monday 29 June or by sending a message of support.
Blog written by James Dubrey, 27 June 2015
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