Lancashire For Shale group being wound down 'does not mean end of fracking'

Cuadrilla's site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool
Cuadrilla's site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool
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Business leaders said today that winding down the Lancashire For Shale group was merely a way of streamlining communications.

Anti-fracking campaigners claimed the end of the pro-shale gas group was another sign that fracking in Lancashire was doomed.

But today the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said the winding down of the Lancashire for Shale group was merely a way of consolidating data bases.

Babs Murphy, chief executive, said there were two separate data bases registering interest from firms - one for Lancashire for Shale and one for the Chamber, a founder member of the group.

"We are streamlining our communications system," she said.

But one anti-fracking campaigner tweeted that it was "another confirmation that fracking is over in Lancashire:"

​Fracking at Cuadrilla's site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, has been paused following a number of earth tremors earlier this year.

Cuadrilla has said it will return to the site in due course.

Lancashire For Shale is a group made up of local businesses and Lancashire residents who believe natural gas from Lancashire’s shale will create opportunities for businesses, new jobs, and bring much-needed investment.

More than 700 firms registered their interest in being part of the supply chain portal.

Jill Overland, Director of Finance and Business Services at Cuadrilla, said: “High quality natural gas from Lancashire’s shale is flowing to surface today as part of our well testing programme.

"We’d like to thank everyone involved with Lancashire For Shale for their support and they and everyone else can be assured that the economic, environmental and energy security case for shale gas remains stronger than ever.

"We will continue to work closely with the county’s business community alongside the Chamber of Commerce as we work to unlock Lancashire’s energy potential.”

Jamie Peters, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said of the move:"This isn’t surprising - they have known that the writing has been well and truly on the wall for some time.

"We can expect to see the last vestiges of the industry try to quietly bow out over the coming weeks to the delight of locals who want a green future.”