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The Lobster Cuadrilla – lessons from a long summer at Balcombe

Carroll's lobsterThose with long memories will recall that in the mid-1980s the Government consulted on four routes across Kent for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.  The routes were drawn with a thick line which scaled up to a couple of miles across.  Apart from threatening four times as many people than was necessary, the populace in the Garden of England is articulate and the response was predictable. There does seem to be a lot of ill-informed comment and scaremongering about hydraulic fracturing and shale gas, but I wonder if there are a few light-hearted lessons from this summer for would be shale gas drillers?

Perhaps avoid the otherwise news-free summer when carrying out controversial activities – Balcombe has hardly been out of the newspapers since June.  The former planning minister Greg Clark who had to steer the NPPF through the summer campaign against it by the National Trust, CPRE and Daily Telegraph would have some words of wisdom on that hazard.

Perhaps also be careful with the choice of company name.  With unfortunate absurdity, it reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem, “The Lobster Quadrille” in Alice in Wonderland.

I also couldn’t help thinking that Cuadrilla rhymes with Godzilla, the Japanese giant monster, star of many films, and even metaphor for nuclear weapons (according to this Wikipedia article ).

Or maybe it’s a four-headed drill bit, an advance on Cerberus, the three-headed hell-hound who guards the entrance to the underworld, but also not the sort of image you want to portray.

Try to find a better nickname for the process than “fracking”.  It sounds so aggressive.

Words are important and planning, after all, is politics.

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