Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 11, 2017

Fracking Police Pressure

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire thinks that because the government had given the go-ahead for fracking in the county it should pay to police protests against it. Clive Grunshaw said he had written to the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, about the pressures on the county of policing protests outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road .

Javid, in his former job as Communities and Local Government Secretary, approved planning permission for Cuadrilla’s plans to drill, frack and test up to four shale gas wells at Little Plumpton near Blackpool. And when referring to this, Mr Grunshaw said “This is not a problem made in Lancashire, this is a decision that the Government made after Lancashire turned it down. The Government gave the go ahead for this experimental drilling, they should foot the bill for policing the protest.”

Lancashire Police was unable to provide an estimate of the cost of the protests so far. But earlier this week Mr Grunshaw expressed concern about funding the protests by claiming “Officers keeping people safe at Preston New Road are taken from across Lancashire, spreading the blue line even thinner. It is a burden being born by Lancashire taxpayers that is unfair and unjust.”

On Wednesday, he visited the protests on the side of Preston New Road, a main route into Blackpool with a 50-mile-an-hour speed limit. He spoke to people , some of whom have been opposing Cuadrilla’s operation since work began on 5 January 2017. Grunshaw said “Policing a protest on such a busy road is demanding and fraught with risk and is drawing on our available resources at a time when we are already stretched. Our officers are policing in very difficult circumstances striking a balance between the right to peaceful protest and the right for people to go about their daily business. It is a difficult and pressured and environment and I have seen for myself the pressure they are under. Today I’ve written to business secretary Sajid Javid highlighting the pressures we are facing in Lancashire having to police protests in Preston New Road as a result of the test fracking sites”.

Miranda Cox who protested at the site said “I have seen the [police] tactics change and the presence grow. What I have witnessed, it frightens me. I am being hardened. I want to warn you that what is happening here is detrimental to the long-term future relationship between the people of Lancashire, the people of Fylde, and your police force because that trust is being eroded. I am of the generation that was told if you’ve got a problem, get a policeman”. And she added “I think this [Grunshaw] statement does not address the way we are being policed. His statement is about resources. It’s a very valid question and one we are also concerned about. However, I’m really concerned that the police methods are still not being addressed”.

Meanwhile INEOS has increased its onshore exploration licence area in the UK to more than 1.2m acres. A statement from the company said it had completed its acquisition of all the Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) held by Engie E&P UK.

Under the deal, INEOS Upstream gained interests in 15 PEDL licences in Cheshire, the East Midlands and Yorkshire. INEOS already had a stake in seven of the PEDLs and now has a majority interest in five. All the licences are held in partnership with either IGas or Cuadrilla.

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