Operations have begun at the Lancaster fracking site after protestors had been blocking the entrance.
This represents the first time fracking has occurred in the United Kingdom since 2011.
Beginning Despite the Protests
Fracking has been halted across the United Kingdom since 2011. Previous operations were halted in the U.K. because they were believed to have been linked with an increase in earthquakes.
Before fracking could begin, protestors did their best to stand in its way. They blocked both a local road and the entrance to the site. Reclaim the Power campaign group activists used a van to block the Preston New Road site entrance, near Blackpool. The entrance remained blocked from 4:30 am for twelve hours.
Equipment Already on Site
Despite the fact that the protestors were blocking the entrance, Cuadrilla, the shale gas company behind the new fracking site, was still able to begin. The company said all the equipment necessary had already been in place. Therefore, they were able to start operations by 1pm.
After the start of the fracking operations, one of the Reclaim the Power protestors, Henry Owen, locked his neck to the top of a scaffold after having climbed to the top. He said it was important for protests to continue. “It’s absolutely vital because this industry has no social licence in the UK,” he said. “It’s being pushed through by government who don’t care about their commitments to take action on climate change.”
Owen said he’d been hopeful that the protestors would have been able to stop the fracking operations from getting started. Another protestor locked herself to the scaffold’s base.
“Cuadrilla is pleased to confirm that it has started hydraulic fracturing operations at our Preston New Road shale gas exploration site. Hydraulic fracturing of both horizontal exploration wells is expected to last three months, after which the flow rate of the gas will be tested,” said a Cuadrilla spokesperson.
Protestors have been targeting Preston New Road since October 2016. At that time, the British government overturned the Lancashire county council’s decision to stop fracking in the area. The government then allowed Cuadrilla to use two wells on the site for shale extraction.