County Hall allows fracking firm to extend stay on sites

Another protest: Campaigners stage a demonstration outside County Hall

Another protest: Campaigners stage a demonstration outside County Hall

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Fracking protestors have voiced their disappointment after County Hall planners gave exploration company Cuadrilla extensions to stay on at two sites in Lancashire.

Seven campaigners were allowed to address the county council’s development control committtee with their concerns over operations at Becconsall near Banks and Weeton near Kirkham.

But councillors voted for the shale gas firm to extend its stay at both sites – one for three years and the other for a further 12 months.

“We are disappointed,” said John Powney from the action group Ribble Estuary Against Fracking.

The committee meeting came just 24 hours after Cuadrilla chairman Lord Browne addressed business leaders at a lunch in Salmesbury.

Protestors demonstrated outside both events and the company came under fire after one local businessman was ejected from the Samlesbury Hotel lunch – even though he was a member of the organising Chamber of Commerce and an invited guest.

Robert Silverwood, from Lytham, was asked to leave by security men and immediately cancelled his membership of the Chamber.

“I was very disappointed by the way I was treated,” he said later. “This has made me consider what they may be trying to hide and keep quiet.”

Colourful protestor Gayzer Frackman, who was one of those who addressed the committee meeting at County Hall, said: “Everything we are doing is peaceful protest.”

The Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England has handed Lancashire County Council 22 conditions which it believes should be fulfilled before any drilling and fracking is allowed to take place in Lancashire.