Fracking: Lancashire versus George Osborne and Cuadrilla

This Monday councillors will decide whether to accept or reject fracking in the county


For people in Lancashire, it has been a high energy and emotional week. And it isn’t over yet. This Monday, councillors will finally decide whether to accept or reject fracking in the county.

Since Tuesday, hundreds of local people have been campaigning outside County Hall, awaiting the expected decision from councillors on two deeply unpopular fracking applications.

For one of the sites we had positive news. Councillors unanimously rejected the application to frack at Roseacre Wood, a significant blow to the industry.

However, at Preston New Road, councillors decided to delay their decision until Monday following some controversial legal advice. The vote is on a knife-edge with councillors torn following intense pressure from fracking company Cuadrilla and national government.

Lancashire vs Osborne

People in Lancashire have so far stopped fracking for more than four years, despite George Osborne’s best efforts. And Osborne really has been doing all he can to help the fracking industry.

A leaked letter earlier this year showed he has been working hand in glove with Cuadrilla to push ahead with fracking in Lancashire, despite the overwhelming opposition from local people.

He has also given the fracking industry the ‘most generous tax incentives in the world’, whilst cutting subsidies for renewable energy.

The Conservatives have also rigged the planning system so that fracking companies are now able to exert undue pressure on local councils. Not only are there now fewer reasons to refuse fracking under the planning system, but the Conservatives have also changed the rules of appeal meaning councils are threatened with huge legal fees if their opponents win.

In Lancashire, councillors say they have been under ‘intolerable’ pressure to decide the applications. It is outrageous that fracking companies are able to exert such enormous financial pressure on councils – and even more so at a time when councils are least able to pay because they have had their budgets slashed by the Tory government.

Fracking is deeply unpopular

This ‘all out’ approach for fracking, makes the success of local campaigners, even more remarkable. What is clear is the overwhelming majority of local people back them. In Lancashire, more than two-thirds of people oppose fracking going ahead, and more than 35 community action groups have been set up in the last few years.

This opposition is reflected nationwide. Across the UK, opposition continues to grow – with 43 per cent of people against fracking and tens of thousands of people having signed a petition to keep Lancashire frack free.

Labour should stand with the people against Cuadrilla and Osborne

Voting against the application would be in line with very clear national Labour Party policy which is for a moratorium on fracking until stronger regulations are in law. We should not allow the Conservatives to force us to accept fracking in the face of unacceptable risks.

With fracking suspended in Scotland and Wales, and banned in New York State due to the ‘significant risks to health’, we should stand with communities and reject this unpopular and unnecessary industry.

We should also stand proud of our commitment to tackle climate change, and not support a brand new fossil fuel industry.

Decision day

To me the choice is clear. On the one side we have the fracking industry and George Osborne, on the other there are local people who have invested their energy and time to stop this dirty industry bulldozing their communities.

This is why I used my first contribution in Parliament to call for a debate on fracking.

It is also why, on Monday morning, I will join a rally outside Lancashire County Council. I hope Labour supporters will come to stand with me and local residents, and in support of councillors voting to reject fracking.

Cat Smith is Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood. Follow her on Twitter

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27 Responses to “Fracking: Lancashire versus George Osborne and Cuadrilla”

  1. stevep

    A simple Question: Do people want Democracy or Corporatism?
    I have to ask because Corporatism is the sworn enemy of Democracy. If it prevails then Democracy will be dead in all but name.

  2. swat

    Put it to a Referendum; and remind the voters it’ll cut their gas bills by £400 pa.

  3. stevep

    They already have, it`s called a council meeting.
    If you honestly believe the energy companies will reduce bills by £400 if fracking is allowed or even if free energy is discovered then you need sectioning under the mental health act.

  4. stevep

    I noticed the sign on the farm gate: “Farmers against Fracking”. No doubt it replaced the “Vote Conservative” notice usually seen on farms before elections. The mind boggles.

  5. BenSoffa

    Or rather, as the Chair of the company planning to frack at these sites has said, it is “not going to have material impact on price”.

  6. Barbara Milne

    Please reject Fracking in Lancashire, and in all the UK. We have no assurance it is safe to do, and no idea what damage it does. The Government has a duty to its people not just the fracking industry. We have to live here and suffer any after effects. And I do not for one minute believe it is safe to do. I believe they tried to do this in the South Downs and it was rejected. So why are you going to vote to let it happen in Lancashire, do you only care for your part of the country, and not the North. It will show you haven’t a care for us if you vote yes.

  7. itdoesntaddup


  8. stevep

    greatly misunderstood and under-appreciated.

  9. itdoesntaddup

    Revisionist historian.

  10. stevep

    True historian, not a right-wing revisionist.

  11. swat

    Its the Planning Committee that will decide, and knowing Planning Committees they are troglodytes, because they don’t like upsetting the status quo..
    Just wondering how many holes there will be in Blackburn, Lancashire?

  12. Ray Allott

    Perhaps farmers should stop voting tory then.


    Fracking will happen. Scotland and Wales will do it and the landowners will take their cheque.

  14. itdoesntaddup

    правда, товарищ

  15. Stephen Singleton


    Preese Hall, Weeton

    2011 seismic events, well deformation and failure to report immediately to DECC
    [Technical Failure] [Reprimanded by Minister]
    Failed on four occasions to restore the site by the agreed date
    [Planning Breach][Planning Breach][Planning Breach][Planning Breach]
    Gas leak led to suggestions of breach of well integrity
    [Technical Failure]
    Problems with disposal of flowback fluid
    [Planning Ambiguity]

    Anna’s Road, Westby

    Failure to restore the site by agreed time
    [Planning Breach]
    Well abandoned after cement bond logs showed a problem and a packer became trapped in the well during testing
    [Technical Failure]
    Fracking abandoned to avoid an EIA but Cuadrilla blamed wintering birds

    Grangrange-road-2ge Hill, Grange Road, Singleton

    Failed to restore site by agreed time
    [Planning Breach]
    No planning permission in place since 2012
    [Planning Ambiguity]
    Drilled a sidetrack to bypass a drilling assembly stuck in the borehole. Planning permission was for a vertical well only
    [Planning Ambiguity] [Technical Failure]

    and it will only produce 7.5 % of our requirements oh and it has to be sold on the open market not just kept for us to use …wake up people theres options ………..

  16. Cole

    Fracking will not cut energy bills. Even the government have admitted it.

  17. Cole

    You obviously can’t defend the ridiculous point you made about bills being cut.

  18. RuthAMontgomery

    ….Some time hit the leftfootforward Find Here

  19. SueCBaca

    Your first choice leftfootforward Find Here

  20. suzzanna

    If fracking is safe then I believe in fairys! Really hope the councillors do the right thing today and don’t give in to the imence pressure being put on them from the top (remember George Osborne s family have ALOT invested in fracking)

  21. stevep

    Probably not as many as in your argument.

  22. stevep

    Dogs will meow, cats will bark and the Sun will proclaim socialism first.

  23. MelvinRLatham

    Your first choice leftfootforward Find Here


  24. AdelaP

    It won’t, though. Even Osborne admits that.

  25. Margaret JB

    They did it! thank you to our councillors for your courage and dedication. The pressure must have been hell. Stay strong

  26. Selohesra

    It might just keep the lights on though when our oil supplies cut off

  27. Julie cabrelli

    Blocked in Scotland on planning grounds.

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