Residents living close to a Lancashire fracking site have had this answered for them recently. Cash, and not much disruption.
Just before Christmas 2017, a massive 85% of eligible local residents living within 1.5 kilometres of Cuadrilla’s site on Preston New Road agreed to share a £100,000 community benefit funding pot.
Those living nearest will each have received £2,000 while those at the outer edge of the eligible radius will have received £150.
85% is a substantial majority!!!
If local opposition really were as strong as campaigners say, there’s no way the uptake would’ve been this high. What this tells us is that, actually, the people closest to the development are generally quite accepting of it.
Having now lived with it in their midst for a year, they’ve probably already realised that it’s not as bad as the wildly hysterical claims of activists had suggested. We imagine they have come to conclude that it’s really no different to having a construction site on your doorstep — occasionally mildly disruptive but, overall, something you can ignore while you get on with your life.
In fact, if anything has bothered these residents, it’s probably the disruption caused by national activists that regularly closed the main A583 with their lock-on protests during 2017.
If you look back to June 2015, and examine the report of Planning Officers submitted to Lancashire County Council’s planning committee, you’ll find that the number of objections from those living closest to the Preston New Road site were very minimal.
The picture that all this creates is one of outside interests trying to foment unrest and opposition.
The more vocal anti-fracking campaigners on the Fylde tend to be the wealthy and well-heeled residents of St Annes, Lytham, Poulton-on-le-Fylde and Wrea Green, as well as people living in Kirkham and Freckleton. But close to the site itself? Very few.
The rest of the loud voices are mostly national protestors that roam the country living in itinerant camps and attaching themselves to any spare “cause” that needs “bodies” as well as the odd pocket of delinquents and desperados from Blackpool and Fleetwood.
Fracking’s detractors have tried to downplay the significance of that 85%, but there’s no hiding from the truth here: it’s a big majority of people that have actively applied for a share of the money available — it’s not a life-changing amount, so nobody has been swayed by a “cash bonanza”, and likewise it hasn’t been roundly rejected as a “bribe”.
The people have spoken. They’re not bothered by the prospect of fracking near their homes and haven’t been fooled by the tidal-wave of anti-fracking propaganda. Just imagine how they’re going to feel when they’re sharing 1% of the production revenues...