Chronicle readers have given almost universal approval to the news that IGas have pulled out of potential fracking sites in Upton and Mickle Trafford.

IGas say seismic testing has revealed neither of the earmarked sites in Duttons Lane, Upton, or Salters Lane, Mickle Trafford, meet its criteria for the commercial exploitation of coalbed methane gas.

The news was announced at lunchtime today (Friday, January 5) and prompted an outpouring of joy from our readers on Facebook including Mark Hamer who said: “Great news! A victory for the protectors and for the people of Upton and Mickle Trafford in general. I also hope the other sites including the one off Merseyton Road in Ellesmere Port are scratched off the list also!”

Emily Roberts posted: “I think everyone who thinks fracking should go ahead needs to read about the pollution it creates and the other negative impacts. It’s very worrying that making a bit of money is put ahead of people’s health.”

Protesters refused to budge from their tower at the entrance to the anti-fracking camp in Duttons Lane, Upton, during the eviction in early January
Protesters refused to budge from their tower at the entrance to the anti-fracking camp in Duttons Lane, Upton, during the eviction in early January

Maxine Croft was sceptical about the reasons for the IGas decision: “They say the reason they declined these areas is they don’t meet the criteria for drilling! Not because they’ve been listening to the general public’s concern! But a good overall result for the gen public anyway!”

RELATED ARTICLE: Fracking company pulls out of Chester sites in Upton and Mickle Trafford

Jon Tama had the bigger picture in mind: “It would be better if it was a countrywide announcement.”

There was a lot of praise for the people who set up the Upton Protection Camp which remained on the site in Duttons Lane for 20 months until they were evicted at the beginning of January.

Sam Jones said: “Excellent news! Well done to all of the campaigners, this is down to you!”

Helen Rutherford posted: “Amazing news. As a resident in the area I’m personally relieved. I think it’s a testament to the hard work and perseverance of the protesters and a big UP YOURS to the idiots who stood by ‘the word of the law’ on the Chronicle articles about the police presence.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Revealed: The cost of Upton anti-fracking eviction operation

Ian Burns, however, offered a note of caution: “The protests will have helped, no doubt, but this is down to low global oil prices. They’ll be back when prices start rising again.”

But not everyone had praise for the protesters. Andrew Lavender said: “The protesters should clear up the mess they left now. The verges are a mess. But half of them weren’t from round here and will move on to another part of the country.”

And Alan Lingard observed: “So, had they been allowed to do their investigation from the outset, there would have been no need to commit public order measures and the cost that have gone with it.”

Police gathered outside the entrance to the anti-fracking site in Upton

A couple of readers commented on the recent news the eviction operation involving police and bailiffs had cost about £200,000.

Steve Ford said: “What a waste of money evicting the protesters.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Chester anti-fracking campaigners to greet Tory conference delegates

While Kev Houston added: “Why didn’t they announce this before having sent the police in at a substantial cost?”

Jonathan Parry had a different view: “What a shame we need cheap gas. I do wish people would stop whinging. Chester should Frack On.”

However, the prevailing opinion was probably best summed up by Paul Kay who said: “Good riddance and don’t come back, we prefer our land and water unpolluted and our health intact.”