There are more questions than answers…

…and the more I find out the less I know”


So being interested to get to the bottom of  a few Cuadrilla communication issues which has arisen I called the Community Information line on Friday last week. Here’s how it went:


JM: Hello – Community Information line

JH: Hello there, I wonder if I could just ask you to clarify a couple of questions for me?

JM: Yeah sure, go ahead

JH: Can I ask who I am speaking to first of all?

JM: Er yes – my name’s Joel Moorcroft

[We presume he is this Joel Moorcroft who works for PR company Lexington Communications

Joel Moorcroft

and who sounds like a nice enough young chap, and I wonder if the Community Information Line is entirely staffed by Lexington Communications]

JH: Hi Joel, my name’s John

JM: Hi John

JH: I’ve er.. first question – you started work at Preston New Road yesterday. Can I ask how many members of the public were informed of the start of the work and how that was done?

JM: Er yes. A letter went out I think to about 80 or so of the addresses closest to the site, who needed to be informed , er by first class post, that should have been with everybody today..

JH: Today? But you started yesterday.

JM: Um yes, that’s correct

JH: So you didn’t tell people before you started? Is that right?

JM: It was on the day of it commencing that’s correct.

JH: Ah ok. Could you clarify for me as well how big the surface area of the site at PNR will be?

JM: I believe it’s something like the size of….um ah actually bear with me a second I think I’ve got that somewhere.I don’t know it off the top of my head.Um actually could you just bear with me two ticks I can probably find out for you. Is that alright?

JH: Yes – of course, that’s fine yeah

[20 seconds of silence]

JM: Hello – um the site itself I can’t .. the entire area is going to be kind of.. I assume kind of blocked off as a construction site. I don’t know. I know that the pad however, which is kind of …. which is a focal point of construction, that’s where the construction is going to take place I believe it’s approximately about the size of a rugby pitch if you can picture that.

JH: So no bigger than one hectare then?

JM: Ooh I’m sorry I’m not going to sort of hahaha ….

JH: Well a rugby pitch , a standard rugby pitch including the run-off area is about .. it’s actually 1.08 hectares.

JM: Yeah that would be the kind of ah construction pad, the area where the machinery will be, you know, working and in terms of the entire area it will be blocked off. I’m sorry I can’t say at this stage.

JH: Right OK haha. So, just .. Mr Egan said in the paper, that, in the Guardian that I read, that the work will involve dozens of people… is that correct?

JM: If Mr Egan said so then I’d definitely assume that that’s the case. I you want me to find out exactly how many people are expected on the site over the kind of, ah, set up period I will probably just have to come back to you on that.

JH: Can I ask you it in a different way – er Cuadrilla submitted evidence to the inquiry in Blackpool that there would be between 11 and 13 full time equivalent, er FTEs, you know full time equivalents for each site including those in the supply chain, that’s direct, indirect and induced – total of 11 plus 4 between the 2 sites which is why I said 13 because we’re adding 2 to each site based on the monitoring work, so that’s  between 11 and 13 – that’s one dozen isn’t it? Call it 12 yeah?

JM: Yeah

JH: So to say “dozens” of people would be an exaggeration wouldn’t it?

JM: Well there’s only one site at the moment but I would expect there’ll be 12-13 if that’s what Mr Egan said

JH: Well no – Mr Egan said that there will be dozens on this site .. I’m just wondering why he’s saying dozens if the stuff that you gave to the inquiry it was saying basically 12. Er that isn’t dozens, that’s a dozen. I’m just wondering if we are supposed to believe what Mr Egan says now or what you said to the inquiry. Which would you think?

JM:Er I don’t know, again I’m going to have to come back to you on that. That’s a question I can’t answer at this stage

JH: That’s alright – if you can’t answer it you can’t answer it! And then um the final question is that the planning application which you put into the inquiry, that was discussed at the inquiry .. there’s a planning statement exploration works document that shows a programme of work that clearly shows 4 vertical wells with a single horizontal well deviating from each one. Mr Egan seems to have told the Guardian that you, if I’m reading it correctly, you plan to drill 2 horizontal sections of the first pilot vertical well this year. Is that correct?

JM: [Long pause] drilling is going to take place this year. That’s correct. I believe we’re looking at {inaudible – August?? 4 weeks?} time before drilling takes place that’s right.

JH: But not so much what your planning, sorry, when your planning to drill but more what. It seems if I’ve understood what he said correctly, er let me just bring up the quote that he said. He said, although this is a indirect quote, “although Cuadrilla has planning permission for 4 wells at the site it will concentrate on drilling a pilot well 3,500 metres deep this year and two horizontal wells.” Now that sounds to me as though that means a vertical well with two horizontals off it, and that’s what I’m asking you to confirm. Or not. Is it that.

JM: OK , OK I understand so yeah. I understand the question but I’ll have to come back to you, so if I could take some contact details or an email address I can find out about the number of employees we expect to be on site – jobs and then the exact type of drilling we expect to occur as well, that’s fine, but I can’t actually say ..

JH: Yeah that’s fine you can email me at info at refracktion dot com

JM: dot com?

JH: yeah

JM: OK grand

JH: So if you could confirm the surface area, the number of employees and what exactly it is that you are planning to drill this year, that would be really helpful

JM: Yep, Lovely, that’s fine no problem at all, I should be able to get that over to you, well as soon as possible. I’m sure somebody  – if I give them a call will be able to get those answers to you pretty quickly, so I should be able to get those over to you today hopefully.

JH: Thank you so much for your help Joel – thanks

JM: No worries thanks

JH: Cheers bye

JM: Bye


Cuadrilla have told councillors that “we have extended the operational hours of our Community Information Line (0800 170 1115) to 24 hours a day/7 days per week“, but in spite of this they have failed to get back to me with any sort of reply as promised. What are we to make of that?

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