Fall out over fracking leaflet

Process: A fracking rig

Process: A fracking rig

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A war of words erupted over a leaflet about fracking.

Lancashire vicar the Rev Michael Roberts and former oil and gas industry engineer Ken Wilkinson claim anti-fracking group RAFF (Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking) has been forced to withdraw its leaflet, “Shale Gas - The Facts”, after they complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that it contained alleged misleading and misinterpreted information.

But the furious campaign group says that it has run out of leaflets, the content was accurate and it intends to update them as more evidence and information about the effect of fracking have become available in the past few months.

RAFF spokesman and treasurer Bob Dennett said: “We have not withdrawn it. I refuse to accept that word.

“We had already run out and decided not to reprint it before the ASA became involved.”

Rev Roberts, an Oxford geology graduate, and Ken, a former oil and gas industry engineer, say they complained after reading copies of the group’s anti-fracking leaflet which was distributed in Lancashire and also online.

Rev Roberts and Mr Wilkinson argued the leaflet used images and described practices from the United States that “aren’t permitted in the highly regulated UK and presented false and misinterpreted scientific data.”

But Mr Dennett responded: “The only data we have on shale gas production comes from the USA, Australia and Canada because shale gas extraction hasn’t taken place in the UK yet.”

The ASA said that the complaint was made on August 19 and the issue had been “informally resolved”.

A spokeswoman said: “The ASA was carefully assessing evidence from both sides. They had not come to any conclusion… They (RAFF) withdrew the leaflet before a final decision was made.”

Brief details of were due to be posted on the ASA’s website today.

Lancashire County councillors will meet later this month to determine the outcome of energy giant Cuadrilla’s applications to progress work at two Lancashire sites.