Astroturfing the Fylde

In the run up to the LCC decision on Cuadrilla’s development wells next week the fracking industry PR machine has been spewing out stories based on what looks like totally fictitious grass-roots support

Yesterday it was the turn of a handful of local farmers to bang the drum and the press releases were duly picked up by the media. We read in the Farmers Guardian that local farmer John Loftus, who lives near Weeton, the first site in the UK to be hydraulically fractured said

Based on the jobs it has already created around my farm, shale gas will certainly have some very positive effects on the local area.

We are wondering exactly what fracking related jobs he is referring to around his farm in Weeton and how many there are because nobody we know can tell us. We have asked one of the Fylde’s leading experts of fracking, chairman of the Lancashire branch of the IOD, non-executive chairman of Remsol and hairdresser to the stars, John Kersey, to clarify this statement for us.


We’ll let you know if he responds.

Meanwhile the BCC interviewed Balham farmer Tim Laycock who treated us to this gem

Local Farmer - Tim Laycock

Local Farmer – Tim Laycock

Sales of dairy heifers that I produce onto other farms (inaudible) and then they can sell their milk to extra houses in the area, and extra people that are going to move in for the so called job explosion that there’s going to be.

Now exactly what “job explosion” would that be Tim? And given the events in South Texas in May that choice of phrase might be seen to a little unfortunate.

We find ourselves asking why would these local farmers be supporting Cuadrilla, and coming out with such drivel about jobs when so many of their colleagues are expressing serious concerns about the potential effects of fracking on their industry?

Perhaps there is a clue in the BBC interviewers voice-over which follows Mr Laycock’s comments

“Cuadrilla have dug 12 seismic wells on Tim’s land to monitor activity. This earns him around £5,000 a year

Maybe it’s all a bit clearer now?

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