19th August 2014
Our review of 24-hours of anti-fracking protests and the reaction to them.
Granada reports hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners march through Blackpool in opposition to further exploratory drilling on the Fylde Coast.
6am, Swansea University
Eight campaigners shut down construction of the university’s Energy Safety Research Institute, which is expected to carry out research into fracking, as well as other technology. A No fracking banner is dropped from the top of the building and a protester locks on to a tripod. The protest is on Fabian Way, the main route into Swansea from the M4 and the BBC reports the protest causes chaos for commuters.
The South Wales Evening Post reports motorists criticised the campaigners for delaying their morning journey to work. The paper says the protest caused huge tailbacks that continued throughout the morning with congestion back to junction 42 of the M4.
The Times Higher Educational Supplement reports Swansea University has defended the Institute. A spokeswoman for the university tells the paper: “The work carried out at ESRI will be based on our long-term strengths in this area and will include work on computational science (rock fracture modelling) and corrosion. The ESRI will focus on the safety issues surrounding the development of existing energy processes, as well as the safe deployment and integration of new green energy technologies,”
Families place 88 “atoms” of radium around Lytham as a temporary art installation to highlight concerns about the impact of fracking on public health and the environment from radioactive discharge.
Anti-fracking campaigners from the Reclaim the Power camp visit the homes of local councillors who, the organisation says, have interests in supporting fracking in Lancashire.
8am Crawberry Hill, East Yorkshire
Campaigners entered the site operated by Rathlin Energy and locked themselves to the fence, alongside a banner reading “Rathlin Energy: Safety Fail”. Reclaim the Power said earlier this month, Hull and East Riding Frack Off reported an operational failure to the HSE. The organisation said the HSE admitted it did not have resources to investigate.
8am Total Environment Technology, Hull
Campaigners glued the doors of the premises of the haulage company to close the site to protest about the use of lorries to transport waste and fracking chemicals
8am, DEFRA, Whitehall
Three anti-fracking campaigners superglue themselves to the doors of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in protest at 63 redactions in a report on the potential impact of shale gas on rural communities. Another activist climbed the building and unfurled a banner reading: “What’s to hide Defra? Don’t frack with our future”.
Lindsay Alderton, one of the supergluded campaigners, tells the Guardian: “At a time when we really need to be having a public debate about fracking, it’s really scary that censorship of a document that needs to be out in the public realm isn’t there. That’s going to affect the rural communities who live there, who farm, who raise their children there, it’s not okay.”
DEFRA tells the Guardian it will not be releasing an unredacted version of the report.
8.30 IGAS HQ, Mayfair
15 campaigners blockade the entrances of the headquarters of IGas in Mayfair, London. Reclaim the Power says the blockade ends peacefully at 1pm.
Noon, Cuadrilla offices, Blackpool
A group of 11 anti-fracking campaigners occupy offices of the Chamber of Commerce in Blackpool, where the drilling company, Cuadrilla, has a base.
Cuadrilla tells ITV: “Cuadrilla has consistently made clear that we support the right to peaceful protest, but taking the law into your own hands – through trespass or direct action – is anti-democratic and harmful to local farmers, business and other job creators during an important time in Blackpool’s farming and business calendar.”
ITV reports around 100 people held a rally outside Cuadrilla’s Blackpool base, including a “Cuadzilla” puppet. Tina Louise Rothery, a local Blackpol resident and grandma, said: “Cuadrilla have come into Lancashire and attempted to manipulate and buy our local councilors and our local businesses. They have sought out and bought into the usiness influencers. We believe this is under-handed and a dirty way to do a dirty business”.
2.30pm, HSBC bank, Birley Street, Blackpool
13 activists staged a die in outside the bank in protest at its funding the fossil fuel industry
PPS, Charlotte Street, Manchester
Six campaigners dressed in toxic hazard suits blockaded PPS, Cuadrilla’s PR company and spoke to passers-by.
Salford Media City and Blackpool College
Campaigners hang a banner from a bridge at Salford Media City, stating that 884,000 gallons of radioactive fracking water was dumped in the Manchester Ship Canal. A banner is also hung at Blackpool College, which Reclaim the Power says accepted donations from Cuadrilla.