Former chairman of Cuadrilla says that fracking in the UK is not needed

Frack Free Lancashire notes with interest, that the former chairman of Cuadrilla and ex-chief executive of BP, has stated that fracking in the UK is not needed and the extraction technique is illogical.

During an interview in Saturday’s Guardian, Lord Browne stated[1]

“Fracking in the UK doesn’t make much sense. I think it was a test to see if it worked. We probably don’t need to do it.

Lord Browne, who left Cuadrilla in 2015 to work for Russian oil and gas firm, L1 Energy, was implicated as being involved in heavy lobbying within government on behalf of the fracking industry during his time with Cuadrilla, revealed through Freedom of Information requests as having held a series of “urgent” [2] meetings with the Environment Agency over regulations

Back in 2011, the current Cuadrilla chief executive, Francis Egan and Lord Browne strongly lobbied for Cuadrilla to be excluded from environmental regulations adopted in 2011, with Egan stating, “that the Mining Waste Directive does not apply”. [3]

During 2013, the meetings between Browne, Cuadrilla, the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson and the Environment Agency, were held over fracking in both Lancashire and Balcombe. Also involved in meetings, were Lord Chris Smith from Environment Agency and Michael Fallon MP, the then Business and Energy Secretary.

Through Freedom of Information requests, it was claimed by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that “no notes were kept” for the secret meetings between Cuadrilla and government agencies.

This is in strong parallels with the recent failures by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and former Shale Gas Commissioner, Natascha Engel, where meeting notes with residents and industry groups were destroyed and data was not recorded or stored along with GDPR best practice.

A spokesperson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Democracy has always been neglected when it comes to the government’s fracking agenda. Private corporations have taken clear priority over the residents and communities that fracking has been inflicted upon. It is only through persistent efforts of campaigners through Freedom of Information requests, that we find out any of this information.

“Lord Browne appears to have confirmed the irrelevance of fracking in the UK’s future, claiming it was only a test run to see if it can actually be done.

“In the ongoing climate crisis, our opposition to this climate-damaging dirty energy source will strongly continue in Lancashire and beyond.”


1.    Guardian. (2019). Ex-BP boss John Browne: ‘It’s going to take a long time to take oil and coal out of the energy system’

2.    Unearthed. (2014). Lord Browne held ‘urgent meetings’ with environment minister to speed up fracking project  

3.    Unearthed. (2014). Lord Browne held ‘urgent meetings’ with environment minister to speed up fracking project

 4.  Unearthed. (2019). UK fracking commissioner admits to deleting correspondence with industry