Anti-fracking group has sit-in protest at Chamber of Commerce building

Frack anger: Protestors in a Blackpool office, which they believed was Cuadrilla 'HQ'
Frack anger: Protestors in a Blackpool office, which they believed was Cuadrilla 'HQ'
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Anti-fracking activists staged a sit-in protest against plans to extract shale gas.

A group of around 15 campaigners from the Reclaim the Power camp, just outside Blackpool, stormed into the Chamber of Commerce building on Amy Johnson Way, South Shore, at around noon yesterday.

The first floor of the building is used by energy firm Cuadrilla but the group only gained access to the ground floor, the Fylde coast base for the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the Chamber, said the protestors had occupied the chamber’s office in the same building by mistake, injuring a member of staff, and a complaint had been made to police.

Protesters also set up in Blackpool’s town centre branch of HSBC as part of a day of organised national action against fracking.

Local activist David Martin said: “In France, Germany and various parts of Australia, Canada and Europe, the practice of fracking is banned.

“We’d like to know what it is that they realise, and what our own government is ignoring. Right now, Lancashire County Council is considering Cuadrilla’s planning application and we’d rather they were considering our strong community resistance.

“With more than 20 Lancashire groups opposing (fracking), we need our concerns recognised and we need plans for fracking rejected.”

Cuadrilla has applied for permission to drill at Roseacre Wood, Inskip, and on farmland near Little Plumpton.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “Cuadrilla has made clear that we support the right to peaceful protest, but taking the law into your own hands – through trespass or direct action – is anti-democratic.”

and harmful to local farmers, business and other job creators during an important time in Blackpool’s farming and business calendar.”