What really made Cuadrilla abandon Anna’s Road
It was YOU!
Yesterday Cuadrilla announced their decision to pull out of Anna’s Road and to restore the site (as far as is possible) to its greenfield state.
Francis Egan claims that the reason for the abandonment is “technical constraints related to wintering birds”. He stated that their planning permission only allowed them to drill for 6 months of the year and that this did not allow them to develop the site.
Now we don’t believe for a second that Cuadrilla are so unprofessional that they weren’t aware of this limitation before investing the milions of pounds which they have now wasted at this site. They obviously felt at the outset that they could make this work in spite of the limitation, so what has changed?
The events down at Balcombe showed two things. First of all they showed that legitimate protest could play havoc with timetables and secondly they showed that an articulate and highly motivated general public could check on Cuadrilla’s activities and highlight areas where they were in breach – their breaches of noise levels and the issues around underground trespass being two cases in point. No longer it seems can Cuadrilla expect to be able to carry on operations for 3 months after permission runs out, ignoring key conditions to safeguard bird life, as they did at Banks in 2011. Now they know that if they make a mistake they will be delayed, and this would potentially prove very costly if it resulted in operations running into the 6 month window where they can’t drill.
Cuadrilla have already demonstrated at Banks that they have little real regard for the well-being of the pink footed geese and whooper swans of the Ribble Estuary. What has stopped them is no environmental concern. This abandonment has been caused by people power. It is without a doubt a victory for all those who have in so many ways campaigned against this destructive industry.
Of course this doesn’t explain the timing of the announcement. We wonder whether Cuadrilla have had this card up their sleeve for some time now but have been forced to play it now in the hope of stemming or offsetting some of the negative fracking has been attracting. This week we have seen the negative reaction to David Cameron’s “fracking capital of Europe” gaffe, and the ensuing critical editorial in the local press. Maybe they were forced into using this card now, but if so it’s a weak play as few people seem to have been taken in by their reasoning.
Anyway, we are so pleased that we put together a video to celebrate which has already been slagged of by shale gas supporters on the You Tube comments so it can’t be that bad!:-)