Anti-fracking campaigners ready to ‘pull out all the stops’ again

Anti-fracking protesters previously spent 1,000 days outside the Cuadrilla fracking site in Little Plumpton, near Blackpool, and were joined along the way by celebrity supporters including Vivienne Westwood and Emma Thompson.

They thought their battle was won in November 2019 when a moratorium on fracking was announced following tremors at the site.

But on Thursday, Liz Truss announced a ban on fracking will be lifted and said she hopes to get gas flowing from onshore shale wells in as little as six months where there is “local support”.

Campaigner Julie Daniels, 62, said: “Liz Truss has no idea what she’s talking about. She thinks we’re going to be pumping gas within six months. What ignorance.”

Ms Daniels and three fellow members of campaign group Nanas, set up to oppose fracking in the county, arrived at the site following the Prime Minister’s announcement wearing yellow “frack free” tabards and with “no fracking” placards.

Ms Daniels said she felt “ill” when she heard Ms Truss’s announcement.

“We didn’t think we’d have to come back,” she said.

“We worked tirelessly for years. It went on and on and we were mostly held together by the solidarity of the community and from right across the UK.”

Campaigners are prepared to return, she said.

She added: “Nobody wants to do this again but if we don’t object, if we don’t push back, who is going to stop it?”

Fellow campaigner Tina Rothery, 60, said: “We will oppose this with legal challenges, planning applications. We will call on XR (Extinction Rebellion) and the unions and the lines to blockade things.

“We will pull out all the stops. This time we won’t settle for a moratorium either.

“We’re just going to keep on hammering this until we get the proper ban on fracking.”

Over the road, one man said he bought his house in November in the belief the fracking site would not be a problem.

He said: “We almost bought here a few years ago but decided not to because of the fracking.

“We absolutely did not think it would be a problem this time because they had the moratorium and were starting to dismantle the site.

“I’m concerned about the activity that might go on around here with protesters, but the fracking itself is equally bad.

“We felt the earthquakes before when we lived about three miles away.”

Chris Holliday, 60, who also lives nearby, said: “At the moment, they don’t have any planning permission to frack. Their only obligation is to restore the site by April 2023.

“The drilling was very intrusive and we experienced all of the earth tremors.

“It just puts you on edge. You can’t really relax.

“The community here fought against Cuadrilla and fracking does not have support here.”

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan welcomed Ms Truss’s announcement and said the Government has made the “right call”.

He added: “We look forward to getting started.”

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