LANCASHIRE GRANMAS AND MUMS OCCUPY PROPOSED FRACKING FIELD
At 5am a team of around 25 grandmothers, mothers and others from the Blackpool area set up a protection camp in a field earmarked for development by shale gas industry operators Cuadrilla. Stating that they had over the past three years, tried all lawful methods available to them to stop ‘fracking’ and it was now a matter of necessity.
Cuadrilla has applied for planning permission for access roads on the field off Preston New Road to enable the building of the drilling rig; if Lancashire County Council (LCC) grants permission.
A few hours later some 5000 objection letters to the planning application were handed into the council offices in Preston by others from the Frack Free Lancashire coalition of local anti-fracking groups. A spokesperson said a further 10,000 would be delivered over the coming weeks.
Today’s action comes exactly one week before another event by national group ‘Reclaim the Power’ who plan to bring over 1000 people to camp somewhere (not yet confirmed) in the Blackpool area in order to support local groups. The Reclaim the Power camp will run 14-20 August, holding workshops and training as well as a day of direct action targeting Cuadrilla and its partners.
A spokesperson from the group said: “There has been massive growth in resistance here in Lancashire as well as across the UK and despite this, our government continues to push for fracking. We have done our research, spoken to those living in places across the world where fracking has already caused untold harm and come to the conclusion that this is an industry we will not have near our families. We don’t do this lightly, it is an awful thing to have to do but it is now a matter of self-defence.”
When asked how long they intended to stay, the spokesperson said: “We wanted to be sure that whilst LCC considers the Cuadrilla request, that they consider what we want too, as mothers and grandmothers who worry for the safety of the next generations as well as our own. We will have a week to further raise awareness and will be offering tea and cake to visitors as well as a wealth of important and honest information about what living in a shale gas area would be like. Then we will join with the Reclaim the Power camp in their actions. We have no defined end-date and are using a ‘Section 6’ to hold the space we have taken (as security guards have done on behalf of Cuadrilla just a few fields away – setting the precedent) as well as a ‘144 Disclaimer’ to ensure we continue to act within the law.”
Others in the group include those from Garstang Against Fracking, Frack Free Fylde, Fleetwood Folk Say No To Fracking, Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking, Longridge Against Fracking, Keep East Lancashire Frack Free, Thornton Unites against Fylde Fracking, Frack Free Blackpool, Frack Free Creators – Knitting Nannas Lancashire as well as residents from nearby the proposed site.
Some of those participating had this to say when asked what led them to being a part of this action:
Karen a Fylde resident:
“I was excited by the thought of jobs and prosperity coming to Blackpool until I learned about the short-term nature of shale gas and I came to see we were being sold a con about “lower energy prices”, “energy security”, “long-term employment”. We are being sold a brief boom and bust, with nasty long-term consequences. We need permanent solutions to our energy supply and use, not this get-rich-quick then get-the-hell-out industry.”
Tina of Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking:
“The shale gas industry and Cuadrilla in particular have not acted honestly in their dealings with our community and are not to be trusted with the health and well-being of our children. We do not want them here and so are gathering to make sure we are heard and we are calling others to help us amplify this. As air and water do not recognize county boundaries, the defence is for everybody in the UK.”
Anjie of Fleetwood Folk Say No Fracking:
“This isn’t the wide open planes of anywhere, it’s heavily populated Lancashire; this industry has been banned in many places across the world including Europe – what do they know that our government isn’t listening to?”
Ros of Fleetwood Folk Say No to Fracking:
“I feel very strongly about the health impacts and that they’re wanting to pump toxic chemicals into the earth and bring up radioactive matter. I do not want to live in an industrial wasteland where air and water are at risk.”
Ginette of Fleetwood Folk Say No Fracking:
“I vividly remember the earthquake of 2011 that I thought was an explosion. Since then I have found out the real reason it happened and it needs to be stopped.”
Hilary of Keep East Lancashire Frack Free:
“There’s a lot of reasons to be here and do this. Basically we’ve taken this situation for too long and enough is enough. We need to protect our communities and they are being misled by this industry and the government.”
Janice of Longridge Against Fracking:
“I’d like to quote Socrates: ‘When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the user’ – we’ve seen that happen in the media, from the authorities, from the government and the industry; now our backs are against the wall and we’re claiming self defence.”
Becky of Frack Free Creators – Knitting Nannas Lancashire:
“My family alerted me to the proposed shale industry coming to Blackpool. Having done my own research and attending some public meetings, I feel there are better alternatives for our future.”
Julie of Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking:
“I learned that 1 well in every 6 fails on installation and that 50% fail in 5 years and over time, all wells fail so I get the distinct feeling that we could be sitting on a time bomb.”
Gayzer of Frack Free Fylde:
“I’ll do what it takes to protect our kids. Ask yourself this question: Can something that turns fresh water into toxic waste be a good thing?”
Cheryl of Fleetwood Folk Say No Fracking:
“I want to see my children and future grandchildren enjoying a safe and clean environment. I feel even more strongly about it as my daughter Mica is also actively involved in researching and opposing this; I am proud of her.”
Mica (Cheryl’s daughter) from Fleetwood:
“I teach English in China and have first-hand experience of industrialization and the devastating effects it has. I don’t want England to get like China is where you can’t get water from the tap and have to buy bottled water.”
Bex of Fleetwood Folk Say No Fracking:
“I grew up here on the Fylde Coast, my children grew up here and no-one is listening – I need my grandchildren to now be able to grow up in a clean, safe environment. This is my oblication as a grandmother.”
Mark of Garstang Against Fracking:
“Nobody asked our opinion on this industry. Councillors and Government are acting without the consensus of the groundswell of public opinion here Lancashire.”
Further information and interviews please call:
07533 003133 – Julie
07548 086703 – Tina
07785 953030 – Bex