Anti ‘fracking’ fight in city

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Anti-fracking campaigners posed with a giant ‘swear box’ in Lancaster in protest at ‘the dirty word’ – and at the controversial process of drilling underground to release gas from rocks.

Friends of the Earth and Lancaster University’s People and Planet group asked shoppers to sign postcards and urge the county council to declare itself ‘frack-free’.

It comes ahead of a new round of licensing next year which some fear could pave the way for the controversial method of gas extraction in North Lancashire.

The event was part of a ‘Global Frackdown’ day of action which took place in hundreds of places in more than 20 countries on Saturday.

Paul Martyn, from North Lancashire Friends of the Earth, said: “Here in Lancashire we are faced with the prospect of thousands of wells which risk polluting our water and air while bringing little if any benefit to local communities.

“With a new licensing round coming up, the Lancaster district could be next in the firing line to be fracked.

“We are calling on Lancashire County Council to reject the Government’s plans for dirty fracking and back clean energy solutions which would bring thousands of new jobs to the county.”

Fracking involves drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure, allowing the shale gas to flow out to the head of the well.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee said shale gas in the UK may help to secure energy supplies.

But opponents say it harms the environment as the chemicals used can escape and contaminate groundwater. Small earthquakes have also been recorded in ‘fracked’ areas.