Activists claim nine people are on the site but, owners of the site, Cuadrilla say it is only five with four of them attached to the drilling machinery.

They climbed on to the fracking site early this morning and scaled the drilling rig using climbing equipment and claim they will stay as ‘long as possible’ to stop the drilling.

Colin Eastman, one of the climbers, said the action was due to the ‘hypocrisy behind’ the Shale Gas Environmental Summit also held today in London.

That meeting is also due to be targeted by protesters outside the west London hotel where it’s being held at 3pm.

Both actions aim to counter the ‘PR offensive’ of the shale gas industry and bring public attention to the ‘harm fracking’ has been linked to according to the protesters.

Mr Eastman said: “Conventional fossil fuels have begun to run out and the system is moving towards more extreme forms of energy like fracking, tar sands, and deep water drilling.

“The move towards ‘extreme energy’ is literally scraping the bottom of the barrel, sucking the last most difficult to reach fossil fuels from the planet at a time when we should be rapidly reducing our consumption altogether and looking for sustainable alternatives.

“In the UK fracking for shale gas is planned alongside, not instead of, extraction of conventional fossil fuels like coal.”

Cuadrilla Geo-mechanical Study of Bowland Shale Seismicity confirmed today that there is ‘little risk’ of future seismic events reoccurring in the Bowland Basin but proposes a series of mitigation measures in case of any future seismic activity.

It also found it was ‘highly probable’ that the hydraulic fracturing of Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall-1 well did trigger ‘a number of minor seismic events’.

None of the events recorded, including one in April and one in May which hit 1.5 on the Richter scale, had any structural impact on the surface above.

The report also concludes the mini-earthquakes were due to an ‘unusual combination of geology’ at the well site – which was directly affected by ‘the pressure exerted by water injection’ as part of operations.

A spokeswoman for Cuadrilla said police were on the scene dealing with the protesters and the firm ‘unequivocally’ accepted the earthquake report and will publish a peer review in the near future.

She said: “We understand that there are five protestors on site, four of whom are attached to the machinery.

“Throughout our time working at the Banks site, and the others in Lancashire, we have been very open, inviting local people, stakeholders and the media around the site.”

Luke Walsh

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