Fracking

This area of our website aims to explain Lancashire Constabulary’s response to protest associated with shale gas and oil exploration and extraction in Lancashire, more commonly referred to as ‘fracking’.

Cuadrilla Resources is currently carrying out exploratory work at a site on Preston New Road near Blackpool. Such operations are attracting local and national opposition, with the possibility of protest activity and direct action where fracking or associated activity is taking place or considered.

We recognise the concerns raised by this issue and we will continue to maintain a dialogue with all stakeholders so that we can address issues where they arise. We take no sides in this matter. Our intention is to ensure a consistent and coordinated policing response and ensure a balance between the rights of people to lawfully protest, together with the rights of the wider public, including local businesses, to go about their lawful activities. We aim to prevent, where possible, crime and disorder, but if it does occur we will provide an effective, lawful and proportionate response.

Frequently asked questions

How many arrests have been made as part of the police operation for fracking?

The information below shows the number of arrests made as part of the police operation for fracking on Preston New Road since January 2017. It also shows the number of charges sanctioned. Please note that, where a charge has been sanctioned, the below information shows the offence for which the primary charge was made rather than what the individual was arrested on suspicion of.

 

Reason for arrest / main offence charged with

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

August

September

October

Section 14 Public Order Act

4

14

16

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Obstructing the Highway

2

2

14

7

31

21

63

8

2

5

Section 241 Trade Union Act

0

2

2

1

0

5

12

12

0

2

Section 4 Public Order

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Obstructing the Police

0

2

3

5

2

6

9

10

2

0

Assaulting the Police

0

1

1

1

0

2

0

1

0

0

Criminal Damage

0

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Drunk Disorderly

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Breach of the Peace

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Aggravated Trespass

0

0

2

0

3

6

0

0

0

0

Section 22a Interfering with a Motor Vehicle

0

0

1

3

0

0

1

0

0

0

Section 28a Dangerous Cycling

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Theft

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Section 5 Public Order

0

0

0

4

3

0

0

2

0

0

Section 22a Danger to Road Users

0

0

0

0

1

2

1

1

0

0

Section 25 Road Traffic Act

0

0

0

0

0

2

6

1

0

0

Public Nusance

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

Other offence

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Total number of arrests

6

27

43

22

41

44

96

36

5

8

Charges sanctioned

6

22

40

19

39

42

92

32

3

8

How many officers are working on the police operation for the fracking?

On a daily basis, there are approximately 100 officers directly involved in the policing of the fracking operation. As has been demonstrated a number of times when campaigners have carried out 'lock ons', it is essential to have the number of officers at the site that are currently allocated to the operation. Public safety is our main priority and having this number of officers available is essential for ensuring all parties remain safe.

How much is the police operation for fracking costing?

The table below shows the additional costs related to policing the fracking operation. This includes overtime, unsocial hours payments, equipment, subsistence etc. These costs do not include the cost of those officers that are assigned to policing the site on a day-to-day basis.

 

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

August

September

October

Costs attributed to the policing operation for fracking

£22,796

£67,342

£174,518

£181,109

£220,829

£179,908

£310,580

£1,013,443

£355,649

£356,320

Who is paying for the policing operation?

Facilitating the right to peaceful protest, keeping roads and highways open, protecting the public and preventing crimes occurring are all the responsibility of the police. The funding for this operation is currently being met from existing budgets allocated to the Chief Constable by the PCC, with an option to seek further special grant from the Home Office if and when certain specified conditions are met. The overall police budget for Lancashire is funded nationally by Home Office grant and locally through council tax precept.

Why doesn't Cuadrilla pay for its own security?

Cuadrilla does pay for its own private security staff but their role is limited to the security of the fracking site. It is the police's responsibility to maintain law and order and ensure public safety outside of the fracking site. This is why, if you pass the site, you will see police officers in the vicinity of the site but you will never see any performing security duties on the site itself.

Why has the 'slow walking' of the trucks to the site been replaced by police escort of trucks into the site?

The safest way to get large convoys (often ten trucks) on and off site is by the police accompanying them. There have been occasions where campaigners have put themselves and other members of the community in significant danger by stepping out in front of moving trucks. The way we accompany the trucks helps to minimise this danger. There have also been occasions where campaigners have climbed on top of trucks, resulting in the A583 suffering serious traffic disruption for many hours, inconveniencing many people. By accompanying the trucks and keeping the convoys moving, we reduce the opportunity for people to climb on them.

How do the police remove protesters when they 'lock on' and why does it take so long?

Removing protesters from 'lock on' devices needs to be done by specially trained officers with appropriate equipment. The 'lock on' devices used by the protesters frequently have several layers, often a combination of a plastic outer casing, a layer of bitumen and finally a layer of concrete. In essence, they have been built to ensure it is difficult and time consuming for the police to remove them quickly and safely. Regrettably this often takes several hours.

Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, also has some frequently asked questions about the fracking operation on his website. These can be viewed here.

Useful Contacts

Environment Agency
Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is the principal environmental regulator in England

Please report incidents that relate to wast management, flaring of gas or pollution of local water courses to our 24-hour Incident hotline - 0800 80 70 60

For general enquiries email the team at Inforequests.CMBLNC@environment-agency.gov.uk.

 

Lancashire County Council
Lancashire County Council

Check compliance with planning conditions including traffic - 0300 123 6701 or email the team at devman@lancashire.gov.uk.