Anti-fracking protests hit Blackpool

Blackpool's North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce was the subject of anti-fracking protests yesterday as part of a day of co-ordinated action against the industry throughout the UK.

ProtestThe No Dash for Gas - Reclaim the Power group, which was behind protests against shale gas firm Cuadrilla in West Sussex last year, occupied the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce's office in Amy Johnson Way.

Around 10 people from the group accessed  the branch at around lunchtime on Monday, but did not gain access to the upper floor, where energy firm Cuadrilla has its Lancashire base.

Around 100 supporters were also outside the building, chanting and singing, to show their support.

Another 13 protestors set up stall in HSBC, Cuadrilla's banker,  on Birley Street in the town centre, laying in the atrium of the bank and talking to customers about fracking.

Earlier in the day there had been a protest march along the Promenade from the South to the North pier.

The protestors already have a camp in a field off Preston New Road, Blackpool, which they say will be used as an access route to Cuadrilla's planned operation at Little Plumpton. They say fracking, which involves pumping water at high pressure deep underground to release gas, can cause air and water pollution. The Government argues it will give the UK greater energy security and create a supply chain worth £33bn over the next 15 years.

Earlier in the summer, Cuadrilla submitted plans to drill, frack and test the flow of gas at Roseacre Wood north of Kirkham and at Little Plumpton.