‘From his bedroom Rod Knight can see the field which campaigners claim could be the first commercial fracking site in Britain.
Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago and after a lifetime in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, he says he is not a natural protester. But he does fear the arrival of energy company Cuadrilla and the potentially devastating impact it might have on his kennels business, his life and his property which he believes had already suffered cracks as a result of tests in the area.
“I’m not looking forward to having a drilling rig across the road and having lights on all night. It will distress the animals which will create noise. I know there’s a lot of protest going on but I believe big business will always win,” he said. “I feel quite sick,” he adds. “It’s just another worry.”
This weekend more than 1,000 opponents of fracking – the process of capturing natural gas from shale rocks using high pressure water, sand and chemicals – are expected to set up camp on the meadows off Preston New Road in Lancashire’s Fylde.
In the distance the high rollercoaster of The Big One on Blackpool Pleasure Beach can be seen. Around the site there is a small village and a number of rural businesses.
The arrival of national campaign group Reclaim the Power, in support of local mothers and grandmothers who have been occupying the field since last week, has been dismissed by Cuadrilla as unwanted.
After a weekend of workshops the protesters will march on Blackpool in a show of support for local people before embarking on two days of direct action likely to be targeted at the energy company’s assets.’