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Authority to remove protest material from outside of Cuadrilla's exploratory hydraulic fracturing site at Preston New Road

Claire Stephenson made this Freedom of Information request to Lancashire County Council

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Claire Stephenson

Dear Mr Mullaney,

I should be grateful if you would provide the answers to the following question, under the Freedom of Information legislation and for the transparency of the general public:

1(a): Under what or whose authority, was given for Lancashire County Council to remove the long-standing protest signage and banners outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, when it had already been reported on the 28th March 2018 that these items had already been risk-assessed by yourselves and deemed not to pose a threat? (Reference article from the Blackpool Gazette, 28/03/18 https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/...).

Cuadrilla are also quoted as saying: “We have not requested for the protester material to be removed from the fencing outside our Preston New Road site.”

This quote is in direct contradiction to an official source working at the site who stated that Cuadrilla had indeed made the complaint.

Today (20th June 2018), an article has been published with the following quote:

‘A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We have carried out a joint exercise with Fylde Borough Council, supported by Lancashire Police, to remove unauthorised signs and other material over a significant length of Preston New Road.

“We’re grateful to those protesters who helped to clean up this area by filling bags to be taken away. We have a responsibility to maintain highway safety, and were concerned that this material presented a distraction to motorists, as well as obscuring the lines of sight.”

A spokesman for Fylde Council said:

"Fylde council has a responsibility to keep all highways clean from litter and debris, over the last few weeks the council has received numerous complaints about littering on Preston New Road around the shale gas exploration site, which on a major road is not only a cleanliness issue but also a safety matter. 

(Reference article from the Blackpool Gazette, 20/06/18: https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/...)

For the purpose of transparency, I should like to know the name of the Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire County Council official who gave authorisation for the removal, presumably at the expense of the public purse, of all protest banners and materials that only three months ago, were risk-assessed by yourselves to be of no threat or danger.

1(b): Following on from this question and to ensure transparency, please could you provide all written or electronic communications from the 01st March 2018 until 19th June 2018, between any Lancashire County County staff member, Fylde Borough Council staff member and Cuadrilla and/or their agents with regards to any protest signage outside of their Preston New Road Site or along the A583 stretch of road.

Yours faithfully,

Claire Stephenson

Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

Dear Ms Stephenson,

 

Request for Information Under the Freedom of Information Act (2000)

 

We are writing to acknowledge receipt of your enquiry of 20 June 2018, in
which you request the disclosure of information.

 

We can confirm that your enquiry will now be assigned to an officer who
will commence a search for the information you require and they will
respond in due course. The deadline date for issuing you with a full
response is 19 July 2018. We will endeavour to provide a response well in
advance of this date, however, should we envisage any delays, or require
more details from you, we will contact you immediately.

 

If you have any queries about the above, please do not hesitate to contact
us, quoting ref. 945.998.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

On Behalf of the Information Governance Team

Lancashire County Council

PO Box 78

County Hall

Preston

PR1 8XJ

[1][email address]  

[2]www.lancashire.gov.uk  

 

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Freedom of Information, Lancashire County Council

Dear Ms Stephenson

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Further to your request for information, made under the provisions of the above Act, please see below our response.

1(a): Under what or whose authority, was given for Lancashire County Council to remove the long-standing protest signage and banners outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, when it had already been reported on the 28th March 2018 that these items had already been risk-assessed by yourselves and deemed not to pose a threat? (Reference article from the Blackpool Gazette, 28/03/18 https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/...).

The signage and banners were removed under the Highway Authority powers of Lancashire County Council because of the safety risk to drivers and other road users.

1(b): Following on from this question and to ensure transparency, please could you provide all written or electronic communications from the 01st March 2018 until 19th June 2018, between any Lancashire County staff member, Fylde Borough Council staff member and Cuadrilla and/or their agents with regards to any protest signage outside of their Preston New Road Site or along the A583 stretch of road.

The County Council does not hold any correspondence with Cuadrilla or their agents about protest signage.

Kind regards

Information Governance Team
Lancashire County Council

www.lancashire.gov.uk

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