Three fracking protesters remain on Banks gas rig

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Three protesters remain on a gas drilling site in Banks, Lancashire.

They attached themselves to a rig in protest against fracking, a contentious method of extracting gas being used there, at about 07:30 GMT on Thursday.

The two women and man say they are from Bristol Rising Tide protest group and intend to occupy the site for several days in order to halt the drilling.

Energy company Cuadrilla, which owns the rig, said it had "nothing to hide" about its operations.

A spokesperson said: "We welcome open dialogue with local people.

"We have shown over 100 people around our operational sites over the last year."

They added the protesters were not local, had "not bothered" to participate in dialogue and were using up police time.

'Continuing to negotiate'

A member of the protest group, who gave his name as Tim, said: "The fracking that they're doing here in Lancashire, they're proposing to do down south near us - the shale deposits in Somerset, Devon and Dorset as well.

"It's small-scale now, but it could affect the whole country. We think it's irresponsible environmentally."

A Lancashire police spokesperson said: "We are continuing to try and negotiate with them but they remain up there."

Two people have been charged in connection with the protest.

Emma Byron, 40, and Spencer Pawling, 42, both from Bristol have been charged with obstructing/disrupting a person engaged in a lawful activity and have been bailed to appear before Ormskirk Magistrates' Court on 20 December.

Fracking is the process of drilling into hard shale rocks to release the gas.

But concerns have been raised that the process could contaminate water supplies and may cause small earth tremors.

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