Six anti-frackers arrested after latest shale gas protest

Police removing six locked-together protesters at the Preston New Road fracking site at Little Plumpton

Police removing six locked-together protesters at the Preston New Road fracking site at Little Plumpton

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Police were called to act as six anti-fracking protesters locked themselves together at the Preston New Road shale gas site.

The group arrived near Little Plumpton at around 8.15am on Thursday and blocked the entrance to the site where exploration company Cuadrilla wants to drill four wells and test frack for deep-lying gas.

They had locked themselves together with their arms inside metal pipes in a bid to delay work at the site where an access road has now virtually been completed.

They were supported by a group of protestors alongside the A583 where a traffic management system is in place.

Although the protests have drawn criticism from businesses which support a shale gas industry amid claims of intimidation, local campaigners say they support peaceful action.

John Hobson, from Frack Free Lancashire, said: “People come on a daily basis to protest peacefully and on occasion have been met with aggression and that has resulted in tension on both sides.

“People will continue to protest within the law to ensure that awareness is raised about the threat of fracking and the implications of turning the Fylde into the largest gas field in Europe.”

James Nisbet, from the Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “I am here to support the Preston New Road people and the anti-fracking movement across the country.

“The future of the UK does not depend on fracking, we have other sources of gas and renewable energy.”

A police spokesman confirmed that five men aged between 23 and 55, all from the Blackpool area and a 51-year-old woman of no fixed address, were arrested on suspicion of offences under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.

A sixth man, 53, was reported for summons by officers.

He said: “Our intention is to ensure a consistent and coordinated policing response and ensure a balance between the rights of people to lawfully protest, together with the rights of the wider public, including local businesses, to go about their lawful activities.”