30 NOVEMBER 2019


“Today marks the day that Cuadrilla’s planning permission to drill or frack at their Preston New Road site expires, and so we are removing our gate monitoring camp.
“Gate watch has kept a constant vigil monitoring the site 24/7 through rain and shine for the last 812 days. In that time we have recorded every detail and numerous breaches by Cuadrilla and their suppliers.
“We believe that one of the best defences against this dangerous and dirty industry is public scrutiny, and we would encourage other communities in a similar position to do the same.
We are aware that the current moratorium on fracking could be temporary depending on the whim of any future government, and will remain vigilant.

“Finally we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all who have supported us in any way. Thank you to the beepers and wavers, the speakers and filmmakers, the cooks and the builders, the electricians and the refuse collectors, the kind donors of food and wood, the researchers and letter writers, the banner makers and placard wavers and all who have stood with us to protest on PNR. You have all played a part in this little community. #WeArePNR.”


Gate camp prior to removal 

Gate camp prior to removalGate camp restored


Gate Camp restored

Gate camp restored




A report by the National Audit Office has been released today on fracking for shale gas in England. Whilst the report does not seek to pass comment on the government’s policy or approach to fracking, it does, however, raise some crucial findings on the validity of pursuing this climate-damaging fossil fuel further.

Some of the most concerning points stated in the report include public spending:

  • The costs to the taxpayers’ purse has topped £32 million, and that is a vast underestimation. This figure includes £13.4 million which was spent by three police forces on managing protests around shale gas sites. It does not include the cost of legal appeals, judicial reviews, or the time and expenses of civil servants working on these cases.
  • Public acceptance of fracking from a community perspective. The government’s own public attitudes survey shows that opposition to fracking has almost doubled between 2013 to 2019, from 21% to 40%. The concerns of residents and the general public have centred on environmental impacts and public health risks, due to the lack of adequate regulations – this has been evidenced from Lancashire, where Cuadrilla Resources caused fracking-induced earthquakes over 0.5 magnitude, with the most recent resulting in an earthquake of 2.9 magnitude in August 2019.
  • Clean-up costs: who is actually liable? The government have no solid answers or legislation on this serious issue.

Hundreds of reports of structural damage were received, with Cuadrilla only sending out public relations staff to assess the damage, and not building surveyors. It has since been raised that Cuadrilla has refused to accept liability in many of these cases. This raises serious questions of liability for clean-up costs, which is likely to fall to taxpayers. Additionally, landowners could be pursued by the Environment Agency for costs should the oil and gas company in operation cease to exists, however, this route is untested thus renders damage and clean-up liability still to be an unknown quantity.

The report is a validation that in ten years, there has been virtually no progress with the fracking industry. The lack of government knowledge and awareness of the impacts of fracking is staggering, as are the claims that the UK has leading regulatory standards. Coupled with the climate crisis humanity is currently facing, a new fossil fuel industry from fracking would be both reckless and nonsensical.

Comments from some campaign groups and politicians are as follows:


Steve Mason from Frack Free United, said:

“What we have here is a truly independent verification of the facts and questions posed by the anti-fracking campaign. This report has exposed the fragilities of the government’s policy on fracking, leaving so many unanswered questions. The government has no idea how much gas they can extract, what the economic benefits are and they do not have the technologies available to limit emissions if we frack.

“It is highly likely that taxpayers will have to pay for the clean-up costs. Anyone reading this report must surely be thinking: “What on earth is going on? How can the government support this industry that is fast becoming more fantasy than facts?” We advocate an urgent ban on this dirty fossil fuel industry.”

Gina Dowding MEP commented on the report and said:

“I think the first thing that the public would be interested in this report from the National Audit Office is what is actually going to happen to energy prices. What is clear is that the NAO has finally called out the cheap gas prices myth and that energy prices are not expected to fall: that’s because the shale gas industry cannot be easily compared to the North American model both because of difficult geology here and how our communities are much more densely populated.

Aside from the myriad issues surrounding fracking, to even think of progressing with a new fossil fuel industry during a climate emergency, is nothing short of stupidity.”

Nick Danby from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“This report from the National Audit Office reveals what we have always suspected: this government’s support for fracking is ill-considered, reckless and based upon ideology rather than cold, hard facts. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) appears to have little idea as to how much gas there is, how much is recoverable and what is the potential contribution to the UK energy mix.

“It is very worrying that our government should have such little regard for facts and figures and it is especially concerning that it should continue to champion a new fossil fuel industry in the face of the threat of climate breakdown. We urge the government to stop subsidising fossil fuels and to ban fracking with immediate effect.”

Joe Corré, Head of campaign group Talk Fracking, said:

“This is more doublethink to come from the government. A report which condemns fracking is at the same time still offering a faint flame of government support for the rapidly dying shale gas industry. Shale investors are finding it very difficult to give up the ghost. Unfortunately, their friends in government are still keeping it on life support despite all the science and public opinion giving a fatal prognosis for England. Fracking is over.”

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Climate Change said:

“We can make all or nearly all our electricity from renewables by 2030. There is no place for fossil fuels in the power sector after then. By continuing to support fracking, the Conservatives demonstrate they are the party that delays climate action.”

A spokeswoman from Preston New Road Action Group, the residents’ campaign group closest to Cuadrilla’s site, said:

“This report demonstrates that the cost-benefit case for shale gas has not been made satisfactorily. It is not clear how much shale gas can be extracted and without this knowledge, the benefits cannot be fully calculated. The technologies to manage risk from emissions are still not available. There could also be a huge cost burden on taxpayers in the future if they have to fund the decommissioning of sites. However, from the fracking that has taken place to date, some of the dis-benefits such as earthquakes and greenhouse gas emissions have been proven. Shale gas extraction just does not appear to have a sound business case.”

Maureen Mills from Halsall Against Fracking said:

“This analysis is totally bewildering in that it reveals in one place the extent of the gross negligence by a government department.  It confirms all the fears, and more, of local communities who have educated themselves about fracking and have witnessed Cuadrilla’s ineptitude on the Fylde with incredulity.

“It confirms the impotence of the so-called regulators that we were assured would ensure “Gold Standard” regulation.  Unforgivably, the very clear climate change impacts of leakages and emissions have completely bypassed the BEIS despite the scientific evidence. Surely in the face of this concise and damning report, the unprecedented and mounting public opposition to fracking will now be given due weight against industry favours from government?”




When: Saturday 31 August 2019

Where: Outside the gates of Cuadrilla’s fracking site, Preston New Road, A583

Contact: Mark Mills on 01772 688980

 The community surrounding Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire are planning their second demonstration, in the wake of over a hundred seismic events and earthquakes which have caused property damage throughout the area. The largest earthquake recorded from fracking in the UK has measured 2.9ML on the Richter scale on the morning of 26 August 2019.

Mark Mills, a local businessman and resident of Preston New Road, said:

“If the government isn’t listening, we will need to keep up the pressure to ban fracking once and for all.

“Following the impromptu peaceful and successful protest by 450 residents on Monday 26 August, incensed by the earthquakes, we will gather peacefully together again on Saturday 31 August at 2pm in greater numbers.

“We are urging the government to ban fracking with immediate effect.

“Cross-party pressure on the government must be applied for a unilateral ban. We will not be fobbed off any longer.”


Notes to the Editor:

  1. Photo opportunities and interviews with residents who felt the earthquakes and suffered structural damage to their properties will be available on the day. 
  2. Please contact spokesperson, Mark Mills on 01772 688980, for further details




27 AUGUST 2019


Today, residents of Fylde, Blackpool, Wyre and Lancashire, gathered outside Cuadrilla’s Bamber Bridge Headquarters, where they handed in a letter of request for hydraulic fracturing to permanently end at Preston New Road.

In reference to the uncontrollable earthquakes, residents believe impacts have reached an intolerable level, including impacts on community mental health, structural damage and a lack of responsibility from both the government and fracking industry.

A spokesperson from the group said:

“Public confidence in fracking is at an all-time low. Residents have absolutely had enough of the spin, lies and ridiculous comparisons of earthquakes to fruit and household items.

“The Oil and Gas Authority have suspended operations at Preston New Road and now we are demanding that a permanent ban be implemented against fracking with immediate effect.

“Our lives and wellbeing should be prioritised over a private company’s financial gain.”



  1. Image attached outside Cuadrilla’s HQ in Bamber Bridge
Claire Stephenson
+44 07929 969664


26 AUGUST 2019


At 08.31hrs, a fracking-induced earthquake struck Lancashire, following Cuadrilla’s operations at Preston New Road. It has measured 2.9ML on the Richter Scale, making it the biggest fracking-induced earthquake in the UK and registering on seismographs as far as Wales and Scotland.

This is not a trailing event. According to Emeritus Professor Peter Styles, one of the co-authors of the seismic Traffic Light System (TLS) that Cuadrilla have to operate under, and a former advisor to Downing Street, he stated:

“There is no such thing as trailing events. They are an artificial construct by someone (DECC, BEIS, industry?) and certainly not by me, Professor Peter Styles, who was part of the triad who established the Traffic Light System. These are events which occur as the fluid hydraulic changes and stress changes propagate away from the immediately fracked region and are, and always have been seen as an integral part of the seismicity response of the subsurface.

“The earth’s response to the fracking event is not instantaneous and to somehow pretend that they are not a consequence of the fracking process is derisory.”

A spokeswoman for Preston New Action Group said:

“At 2.9ML, this is the largest fracking induced earthquake to have happened in the UK, it is very frightening when you hear a loud bang and things in the house rattle.

“Given that this quake was felt across Blackpool, the Fylde Coast and beyond, what is likely to have happened beneath the ground to the well at the source?

“We should not be being subjected to this level of stress and fear. So many people have felt it and are trying to log it that it is proving difficult to get onto the British Geological Survey site. Fracking must be stopped immediately.”
A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“This morning, there was an earthquake measuring 2.9ML. This is the largest ever recorded in the area and human-induced from fracking operations.

“It was felt in Wesham, Kirkham, Lytham, Wrea Green, Blackpool and as far away as Chorley. As yet, Cuadrilla have failed to respond to this event but we call upon the government to halt fracking operations immediately.

“Lancashire voted against this at every level of local government but national government over-ruled and have repeatedly given us bland re-assurances about “gold standard regulations”.

“Enough is enough. People are cowering in their homes and just waiting and wondering when the next quake will be and how much damage it will cause.

“We call upon our local MPs to come off the fence and press for an immediate ban on fracking. We are sick of being treated as human guinea pigs.”

Claire Stephenson

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At approximately 11.02pm on Saturday 24 August, a fracking earthquake measuring 2.1MLhit Lancashire, with impacts felt across a wide area, from Blackpool, Lytham, St Annes, Wesham and surrounding rural areas.

This was the 92nd earth tremor in just nine days and the community are enraged that this industry has been forced upon them, with no concern for the safety of residents.

Hundreds of reports of the quake have been noted across social media and via email to Frack Free Lancashire, such as houses shaking, books falling off shelves, widespread property damage and people being awoken from sleep from the noise and impact.

A spokesperson from Preston New Road Action Group, one of the local campaign groups said:

“Measuring at 2.1ml, this tremor was the biggest yet with reports of it being felt in Blackpool, Weeton, Westby, Kirkham, St Annes and Wrea Green within minutes of it occurring.

“Several reports of windows and buildings shaking. This terrifying experience is being imposed on our community by an unnecessary and unwanted industry. The government should see sense and re-impose the fracking moratorium immediately before any serious injury or damage is done. Enough is enough.”

A spokeswoman for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“We are livid that we are once again, being put in harm’s way for an experiment that we didn’t ask to be part of.

“Why are our communities being forced to accept this dangerous and contemptuous industry, when it is clear that they have zero control over the impacts that fracking brings with it? There was no fracking today, and yet, the after-effect it has caused, is a sizeable earthquake with widespread reports of property damage. We are angry and demand an urgent reconsideration of a fracking moratorium.”


Largest earthquake yet – 1.6 – from Cuadrilla’s operations at Preston New Road

Comment from Frack Free Lancashire
On Wednesday night 21st August at 20.46,  local residents felt the largest earthquake yet – 1.6 – from Cuadrilla’s operations at Preston New Road. Having abandoned their attempts to frack their first well after only being able to fully fracture just two of the planned 42 stages, Cuadrilla are now trying to repeat the process. Therefore, it was a certain grim inevitability to Wednesday night’s events, but what should really give local residents pause for thought, is the fact that these were trailing events and there is nothing that can be done to mitigate them in real-time.
We deplore Cuadrilla’s attempts to downplay and trivialise these quakes by making facile comparisons with milkshakes and bags of shopping being dropped. This is a serious issue and we know that seismic activity at similar levels deformed the well bore at Preese Hall, which Cuadrilla failed to report to the relevant authorities for six months.
This is, in fact, a perfect illustration of why the limits on the seismic traffic light system must not be relaxed. The safety of residents must be prioritised before a private corporation’s greedy drive for profits at any cost.


New peer reviewed report declares fracking has ‘dramatically increased global methane emmissions’




A brand-new study [1] led by world-renowned scientist, Professor Robert Howarth, entitled Ideas and perspectives: is shale gas a major driver of recent increase in global atmospheric methane?has revealed a damning conclusion for the oil and gas industry: fracking for gas has increased global methane emissions

Howarth’s conclusion correlates with previous papers, including the Mobbs Report [2] which was the centre of a recent High Court case by campaign group, Talk Fracking, where a judge declared the government’s policy on fracking planning policy, specifically taking climate change into account, as “…so flawed in its design and processes as to be unlawful.”

Emerging scientific evidence that has been published since 2015, dismissed the UK government’s claims that fracking has a lower carbon footprint than imported liquid natural gas (LNG). The suggestions have been that fracking in fact, exacerbates climate change.

Commissioned in 2017 by Talk Fracking, Whitehall’s Fracking Science Failure: How the Government Has Misled Parliament and the Public on the Climate Change Impacts of Shale Oil and Gas Development in Britain, also known as the Mobbs Report, debunked much of the government’s heavily relied upon, Mackay-Stone report. Evidence outlined in the Mobbs Report was never considered before publishing the revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework in July 2018.

Professor Howarth’s findings include that natural gas, from both shale and conventional sources, is responsible for a large amount of the recent methane increases, and to keep in line with the 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that we should be rapidly moving away from natural gas to reduce emissions from both carbon dioxide and methane.

“Natural gas is not a bridge fuel,” says Professor Howarth, and as well as contributing to climate change, methane emissions impact upon ground-level ozone concentrations which is a public health hazard.

Today, Nick Cowern, Emeritus Professor at Newcastle University, said:

“This work partly explains why the global climate has warmed so strongly in the last few years, affecting summer temperatures, melting sea ice and accelerating sea-level rise. Instead of cutting the atmospheric concentrations of powerful greenhouse gases like methane, fossil industry emissions – dominated by emissions from fracking – have forced up methane concentrations to unprecedented levels.”

A spokesman from Frack Free United said:

“The results in this report confirm the suspicions of climate campaigners everywhere, and shows that fracking is driving climate change: one third of the total increase in global methane emissions since 2008 has come from shale gas, and that shale gas makes up more than half of the global increase in emissions due to fossil fuels.

“Methane is driving climate change faster than ever, and it’s not just that, methane emissions have significant damage to public health and agriculture and the cost implications alone are huge. Time to act. Time to ban fracking.”





  1. Final citation: Howarth, R. W.: Ideas and perspectives: is shale gas a major driver of recent increase in global atmospheric methane?, Biogeosciences, 16, 3033–3046, doi:10.5194/bg-16-3033-2019, 2019.
  2. Mobbs, P. (2017): Whitehall’s Fracking Science Failure: How the Government Has Misled Parliament and the Public on the Climate Change Impacts of Shale Oil and Gas Development in Britain

Another well failure for Cuadrilla



10 AUGUST 2019


A well failure on a fracking site in Lancashire has raised further complications for Cuadrilla

The ongoing saga of fracking in Lancashire hit yet more complications this week, as Cuadrilla disclosed that the first well to be fracked at Preston New Road on the Fylde Coast, has suffered a cement failure.

Two sleeves within the well (PNR1z) have been unable to be closed, due to a cement failure, rendering the well unable to be hydraulically fracked again unless this blunder can be corrected. Problems with the sleeves were first mentioned in November 2018, so appears this could be an ongoing/recurring problem.

PNR1z has been beset with technical problems, from Cuadrilla racking up the environmental and planning regulation breaches count (including a nighttime convoy breachto the traffic management plan and the unauthorised cold-venting of methane) to triggering 57 earth tremors, forcing Cuadrilla to work on a stop-start basis and under great scrutiny from the national media and local concern.

Additionally, in November 2018, they managed to lose some working tools – a milling tool, a crossover unit and a section of a motor drive assembly – into the well and were unable to retrieve them, so these had to be pushed to end of the wellbore where they will reside forever.

So far, Cuadrilla have only managed to frack just 5% of PNR1z, which clearly is not a commercially viable amount.

It is therefore inexplicable, how they have managed to receive final sign-off from the Environment Agency and the Oil and Gas Authority (whose paradoxical purposeis to “regulate, influence and promote the UK oil and gas industry”to proceed to frack the second well, considering the array of failures with the first well.

Alongside being told about the sleeve failure, local residents attending the Community Liaison Group this week were informed that Cuadrilla needed another 12 months’ time extension for completing the fracking operation, but the next day, Cuadrilla confirmed to the press that the time required was actually 18 months.

A member of the Preston New Road Action Group said:

“Cuadrilla still have a 100% failure rate with their wells. With two sleeves in the well stuck open and failed attempts to cement them closed it seems further fracking of PNR1z is out of the question.

“This highly-monitored, highly-regulated well is no longer fit for purpose. Having got problems with their first fracked well at PNR they now want to frack well 2.

“Let’s hope that they don’t do something that will have a more detrimental effect on people or the environment.”

Miranda Cox from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Residents have long suspected that Cuadrilla were experiencing some issues with the well. We have little confidence in Cuadrilla’s technical abilities, and this does nothing to allay residents’ very real concerns about future operations.

“It is also troubling that the Environment Agency and the Oil and Gas Authority have only last week granted final permissions to frack well 2, despite Cuadrilla’s inability to successfully frack and seal this first well.”


Frack Free Lancashire’s Response to Cuadrilla’s Announcement of Their Intention to Resume Fracking in Lancashire

Responding to today’s announcement by Cuadrilla of their intention to resume fracking at Preston New Road, Nick Danby from Frack free Lancashire said:

“This is an unwelcome but not unexpected announcement. It seems extraordinary that with the government just announcing a climate emergency, we are contemplating a resumption of fracking on the Fylde.

“Let us remember that Cuadrilla have a long history of failure and that they caused 57 seismic events last time that they fracked.

“They have also recently been taken to task and are being investigated by the Environment Agency for failing to properly monitor water quality, having previously failed to record a methane leak. They simply cannot be trusted to put the health and welfare of the community ahead of their commercial interests.

“Yesterday, we held an event at Preston New Road to mark over two years of peaceful protest and over 150 people attended.

“We will continue to strongly oppose fossil fuels and demand an immediate transition to renewable energy.”