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Lorry surfers out in Lancashire as fracking’s viability comes under fire

Green direct action which has slowed development of controversial gas fracking to a crawl at key test sites saw more blockade work yesterday as it emerged that the potential of the industry in Britain to turn a profit is minimal.

The winter has seen frequent protests continue at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, against the Cuadrilla frack site, despite legal judgments aimed at stopping protectors from using tactics such as slow walking on the roads to hold up vehicles. Yesterday a major haul of equipment was held up after a protector clambered onto the load in the morning, forcing the vehicle to stop.

The latest solidarity demo comes just days after the leak of a secret government report showing that far from 4,000 “alternative extraction” wells being viable, the true number may be as low as 155 by 2025. The research from Greenpeace has prompted calls for the government to formally release its findings and drop its support for the industry, which has been losing huge sums of money and tying up massive police resources over the last few years in a bid to become economically sustainable.

In an effort to spin a positive out of the situation, Cuadrilla argued that the original estimate, along with its own similar suggestions in 2012, was “out of date” and that less pads would now be needed in the extraction process. The firm however is yet to complete any fracking pads, and following major protests last year now says its first at PNR won’t be fully operational until later this year.

Meanwhile protests and disruption at PNR continue (schedule here), as Cuadrilla struggles financially. 2018 is set to be a make or break year for the industry in Britain, as despite a rise in wholesale gas prices in recent months, Britain remains oversupplied and costs for fracking continue to come in higher than expectations.

Pic: Trepanned Skull – Fracking by Joseph Smolinski, from Swarm Gallery Oakland (CC)

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