Fracking opponents’ calls to act as planning petition approaches 5k signatures

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The war of words over fracking was continuing today after calls for action from different sides of the debate.

A petition urging county hall to force Cuadrilla to remove a drilling rig allegedly delivered in breach of planning conditions is approaching 5,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce has urged fed-up businesses to complain to police commissioner Clive Grunshaw about protesters blocking the A583 near the Cuadrilla site.

An investigation has been launched after equipment was last week delivered to the Preston New Road site in the early hours.

The fracking firm said the decision was made in consultation with the police following “aggressive protest activity”.

Fylde Coast resident Mark Mills has launched the petition due to concerns the alleged breach is “the thin end of the wedge”.

He said: “It’s very worrying because if they’re prepared to do it (breach conditions) for this, what else could happen?

“It’s disrespectful to the planning process and to the council.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We’re currently investigating the vehicle movements which we understand took place overnight and are in breach of planning permission.

“We are writing to the operator requiring them to put measures in place to prevent a recurrence, as well as considering what further action to take.”

The delivery of the rig took place as protest activity around the site has intensified in recent weeks with the road closed on several occasions.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Babs Murphy said of protesters: “The escalation of these disruptive tactics means that more robust action is needed now to keep the public highway open.”

She urged firms to write to Clive Grunshaw if concerned.