How campaigners fought fracking firms

Fracking has long been a controversial practice in the UK, with environmental campaigners picketing sites for years.

Attempts to establish a UK shale gas industry were mired by setbacks as concerns were raised over the fracking process's safety and environmental impact.

Now the government has decided to ban the process, Sky News takes a look back at the issue over the years.


Fracking hits the headlines in 2011 when two tremors in April and May are linked to Cuadrilla's work in the Blackpool area.


Drilling is halted following the magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 quakes, which a report says are highly likely to have been caused by the fracking process.


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The ban on fracking is lifted by the government in December, subject to regular seismic risk assessments.


Environmental campaigners protest for weeks against exploratory drilling plans in the small West Sussex village of Balcombe.

Image: Fracking plans sparked years of clashes between Cuadrilla and environmental campaigners

Demonstrators camp by the roadside and hold up signs to protest the plans. Some are arrested.

Cuadrilla insists it is simply conducting exploratory mining and it is unlikely the site will go into full production.

January 2014

David Cameron, who is prime minister at the time, announces £1.7m for councils which agree to drill for shale gas.

He says the government is "going all out for shale" as campaigners argue the plan amounts to bribery.

February 2014

Cuadrilla says it will resume drilling at two locations – Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road.

It plans to drill up to eight holes in a search for shale gas reserves.

Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire
Image: Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road, Lancashire

The company says it will apply for planning permission to drill, hydraulically fracture, and test gas flows at the two sites.


Planning officers recommend that Cuadrilla's plans to resume drilling are rejected, a move welcomed by environmental campaigners.

It is recommended the plans are refused on the grounds the developments would "unnecessarily and unacceptably" cause harm to residents through noise pollution.


The government approves fracking for shale gas at the Preston New Road site near Blackpool.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla
Cuadrilla boss: Fracking site 'demonstrably safe'

However an application to drill at the nearby Roseacre Wood site is delayed.

July 2017

Protests erupt at the Preston New Road fracking site as campaigners rally against the drilling.

One protester claims she was knocked unconscious by a Cuadrilla security officer and another man says he was pushed out of his wheelchair by police.

Cops stop our fracking protest test

October 2017

Scotland announces an immediate ban on fracking following a two-year consultation into its potential impacts.

October 2018

Just as Cuadrilla is about to begin its first commercial fracking on UK soil, an emergency injunction filed by a local campaigner halts the process.

The injunction against the council is filed by retired businessman Bob Dennett, who claims emergency response planning and procedures at the Preston New Road site are inadequate.

A judge later rules there is "no evidence" to show fracking poses more than a "medium risk", Read More – Source