7th March 2014
An extract from a letter submitted to Manchester County Court in support of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp. Two members* of the camp are challenging an order by the commercial landowner, Peel, to evict anti fracking campaigners from land opposite the iGas exploration site. They say the letter was written by a family living on Barton Moss, who had initially been supportive of iGas’s activities and had taken part in the company’s consultation process. The legal challenge continues today and the judge is expected to make a ruling this afternoon or on Monday.
“Our monthly community liaison meetings continued. More issues were raised and we expressed our concerns about the impact upon our livelihood.
Police were blocking the routes to our homes and our business. Our cars became damaged as we tried to pass large numbers of police vans parked on the road, leaving little space to pass.
Our customers and our family were being stopped by the police, asking where they were going and if they wanted to give statements. We were like prisoners in our own home. We were angry towards the whole area. Our lives were having to be planned around the daily activities of iGas, the police and the protesters.
One journey home in the evening, our young son asked, ‘Mummy is the Wizard of Oz Castle going to crack the earth? And if they crack it will we all die?’ This broke our hearts. He had seen the illuminated drill on the iGas well site as a castle. For two nights he was up asking the same question and asking if everything was going to be alright. A pre-school boy has been worrying about what he was having to see every time we left home.
My husband and I decided to do some research. The dangers of what can happen was a complete shock. The threat to our health, our livestock, the landscape, the environment and the future impact it would have on our livelihood.
So that brings me to say, we thank the camp. Through their peaceful protest they have raised our awareness massively. We have to appreciate our resources and protect our future. Without the dedication from the camp and their persistence, through wind, rain and storms, we would never have been made aware of what is really going on around us.
We strongly feel that you should allow the peaceful protest to stay until the end of the drilling period and the completion of the iGas operation. We, as neighbourhood residents, need the support of the camp to raise the community awareness and give them the freedom to inform their own views. I wish the camp good luck.
*Ian R Crane, one of campaigners making the legal challenge, has been reporting from Barton Moss since iGas began work. You can see his reports at http://www.frackingnightmare.com/ or on YouTube.