Guest blog: Tom Rooker reports on the “Gathering on the Green” at Lytham St. Annes


Concerned residents gathered at the historic windmill in the town of Lytham, near Blackpool last week to denounce the process of hydraulic fracturing and exploration for shale gas in the area. They gathered together for a group photograph and to participate in a discussion led by local protest groups.

Their call for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was present on everything from banners and signs to homemade kites. The Gathering on the Green was organised by Resident’s Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF), Frack Free Fylde, and Ribble Estuary Against Fracking (REAF) to coincide with the start of The Open golf tournament.

Tina Rothery, from RAFF, said: “This is a gathering of like-minded citizens looking for answers from each other. “It’s a co-operative, community event and I hope it gets the message across that we don’t want fracking here,” she said.

Cuadrilla Resources is currently licensed to explore for shale gas in the area known as the Fylde, and has sites at Weeton, Singleton, Banks, Westby, and Wharles. Its operations are currently on hold after test drilling caused two earthquakes in April and May 2011. But it could soon start work again if the Department of Energy and Climate Change give it the go-ahead.

At Wednesday’s gathering, local people shared picnics, discussed concerns, and were treated to blue skies and sunny weather. The majority were unanimous in saying no to fracking.

John Pilkington, from Lytham, said: “I don’t like the thought that they’re going to be working around my house, reducing the value of my property, and possibly contaminating the water. “We need power, I’m fully aware of that but not from this source,” he said.

There was excellent media coverage of the event from BBC Radio Lancashire at 8:20 am and again just after 5pm. Plus, the Gazette came too and give us a fair and balanced write-up  –  you can read it here.

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