Anti-fracking protesters from Greenpeace surrounded Lancashire County Council chambers in Preston, as the committee responsible for granting fracking permission in the county met there today.
The protesters created a mock fracking rig and surrounded it with an eight-metre high fence outside the main entrance to the chambers.
Greenpeace also played a soundtrack of very loud drilling, machinery and industrial plant noises as the councillors entered the building.
Yesterday drilling company Cuadrilla announced their intention to restart operations in Lancashire at the end of this month.
This follows a simliar stunt by the group in March, when they set up a rig in the Cheshire constituency of chancellor George Osbourne, who has backed shale gas.
Preston resident and Greenpeace supporter, Liz Stanton, said: “Cuadrilla is proposing to invade precious parts of Lancashire with trucks, drills, flares and chemicals. They’re even planning on drilling under people’s homes without permission.
“This is a case of big, rich companies exploiting the county for their own gain and leaving locals with very little. County councillors must say no.”
An application has been made by Cuadrilla to extend planning permission to drill at sites at Banks and Singleton, with announcements to frack at an additional six sites next year.
“Most experts agree fracking in the UK will make little or no difference to people’s energy bills, yet it risks industrialising swathes of Lancashire countryside, and has been associated with water contamination, earth tremors and reduced house prices,” added Stanton.