LANCASHIRE Constabulary has been awarded £1.28m from the Government towards the costs of policing the fracking protests in Preston.
Operation Manilla, the policing of Cuadrilla’s fracking operation at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, between January 2017 and December of last year, cost Lancashire Constabulary almost £13m.
Police have already recovered £7.17m towards that sum through grants from the Government.
Now policing minister, Kit Malthouse MP, has agreed to reimburse the force a further £1.28 million.
The money was secured through an application for a Special Grant by Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw
The commissioner had applied for £1.5 million. The remaining costs (£220k) are to be met by Lancashire Constabulary.
Clive Grunshaw said: “I am grateful for the reimbursement from the Home Office which is thanks to the ongoing lobbying of central government from not just myself, but from cross party support from Lancashire MPs.
“This is positive news for Lancashire residents who should be reassured that the money is being returned and will now be used for the benefit of the wider police service in the county, especially in the current climate of uncertainty around Covid-19 (coronavirus).
“The decision to frack in our county was borne in Whitehall after the judgement made by Lancashire County Council was overturned. The expectation on Lancashire Constabulary to cover the costs of this decision was not a fair deal so I am pleased this has been recognised and additional costs for this operation are being met.”
Home Office rules state Police and Crime Commissioners can only claim for additional costs of a police operation – these are any costs where officers are working beyond plain time such as overtime and mutual aid from other forces.
As police forces can only apply for Special Grant funding on additional costs, £8.43 million has been applied for in grants to date with the government awarding 85% of this at £7.17m.
Fracking has been suspended in the UK since the Government called for an immediate halt to the industry last November. This followed a report by the Oil and Gas Authority which said it was not possible to rule out “unacceptable” consequences for those living near fracking sites, or possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes fracking might trigger.
(Picture – Clive Grunshaw.)