Little Plumpton fracking protest: Four charged over lock-in

Pixellated faces of protesters
Image caption Protesters locked themselves to each other at the Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton

Four people have been charged with breaching public order after demonstrators locked themselves to each other at the first horizontal fracking site in the UK.

The campaigners were protesting after work started at the Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

Three men and a woman were charged with failing to comply with "a prohibited assembly police direction".

They are due to appear at Blackpool Magistrates' Court.

Two men of no fixed address, aged 22 and 33, another man, 43, from Bootle and a 53-year-old woman from Scunthorpe were arrested at about 13:00 on Tuesday.

The government approved energy firm Cuadrilla's plans to frack at the site in October last year.

Protests have been held at the site since work started on 5 January.

Cuadrilla has previously said drilling would start in the spring.

Image caption The Little Plumpton site at Preston New Road is situated between Blackpool and Preston

A second Lancashire site, Roseacre Wood, has not yet been given permission for work amid concerns over the impact on the area.

The council had initially refused permission to extract shale gas at both sites on the grounds of noise and traffic impact but the government overruled the decision for the Preston New Road site.

What is fracking?

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

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