Updated: Pictures and messages from United Against Fracking rally


Organisers estimated up to 2,000 anti-fracking campaigners marched through Manchester today as part of the United Against Fracking demonstration. Police estimated the numbers at about 1,000.

Campaigners from across the UK gathered in Piccadilly Gardens before marching through the city centre to Castlefield Bowl for a rally with speeches.

DrillOrDrop followed the event and reports on the key messages from speakers.

Speeches end and music starts from DJ Dave Haslem


Dan Evans, campaigner against fracking in Sussex, Salford and Lancashire


“The time has come to build our democracy for the people, for a positive relationship with our planet, that says no to fracking and any other industry that threatens people’s health. The time has come to find that power.”

John Ashton, former special adviser on climate change to the Foreign Office


“In England, fracking is dead in the water because we are going to stop it.

“Our enemies fight with money. We fight with love. Our enemies fight with lies. We fight with the truth.

“Our enemies fight from gated palaces separate from the people. We are the people and you cannot defeat the people.

“We need to stay united against fracking. Roseacre can win. Preston New Road can win but only if we stay together.

Mr Ashton said Andy Burnham had promised if he became mayor of Greater Manchester that there would be a proper memorial to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000 which had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation. Mr Ashton told the crowd:

“That will be our memorial because we stand up because we care and because we don’t want injustice and tyranny.”

Video message from Emma Thompson

“We fight for a frack free future for our children and ourselves. I wish I was there with you today. All power to your elbows.”

2.35pm Tina Rothery


“We are in a unique position. Fracking is not happening in the UK. We are not stopping it. We are not letting it happen. Once it starts they have the law on their sides.”

The crowd heard that Ms Rothery had been ordered to appear in court in Preston at 11am on Friday 9 December charged with contempt of court. The case arises from a long-running dispute over legal costs with the shale gas company, Cuadrilla.

Ms Rothery faces two weeks in prison after refusing to disclose financial information to the court. Cuadrilla had been awarded costs amounting to more than £50,000 after Ms Rothery asked for an adjournment of an eviction hearing. If the sentence is imposed, she will be the first woman to be sent to prison in case related to the campaign against fracking..

David Smythe, emeritus professor of geophysics, University of Glasgow


David Smythe said the US shale gas industry was $200bn in debt. Extracting shale gas in the UK would be two-three times more expensive than it was in the US. He told the crowd:

“My message to you is to keep up the pressure by all legal means at the local level because I think within a year the investors in Cuadrilla, Third Energy, INEOS and IGas will pull the plug.

“No investors will come forward to put money in something that is not financially viable.

“We just have to hang in there.”

David Smythe said Glasgow University had not responded by last night’s deadline to his crowd-funded legal challenge over the withdrawal of his academic email and journal access. He said he had been told he had a very strong case. He said: “We shall win”.

He also revealed that the play Fracked! Or don’t mention the F-word, staring James Bolan and Anne Reid, which staged at Chichester to sell-out audiences in the summer is to go on tour and to the West End.

Rt Rev Graham Cray, Kirby Misperton, Ryedale


“The planet is a gift not a possession to use as we wish.

“Fracking is not for the common good. It has no social licence. It is imposed on unwilling communities democracy will be undermined.

The fact that we can extract shale gas is not a moral reason to do it.”

Gina Dowding, Lancashire County Council


“We have been betrayed by our government.

“Whoever is in the White House or in Number 10, we need to make sure they do not hoodwink us into believing that fracking is the future of our energy policy.

“Our leaders need to respect the science of climate change. The science is not negotiable. We must respect the facts and build a green future because our lives depend on it”.

Penny Cole, The Broad Alliance, Scotland


“The reason we have a moratorium in Scotland is because of the way the community came together and forced the government to face facts”

Julie Wassmer, East Kent Against Fracking


“When is democracy, not democracy? When the government is interfering in local decisions.

“When is fracking not fracking? When the government chooses to redefine it in the Infrastructure Act. What a total insult to the intelligence of people in this country that our government thinks that if they don’t mention the F-word we won’t worry about it.

“We say to our government: ‘Listen to the many, not the money’.

“Say no to fracking in Lancashire and elsewhere because the day we stop doing that is the day we say yes.”

Bianca Jagger, Founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation


“I am here as a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother. I believe fracking is a threat to our way of life, to our water supplies, to the air we breathe and to the environment.

“It is time for the government of the UK to stop its incestuous relationship with the oil and gas industry. Fracking is not the panacea they have told us it is.

Theresa May must understand that the people of this country are serious, that they mean what they say when they come out for a rally like this.

“You are not alone. I am with you and there are millions of people who support your struggle. We will defeat fracking.”

Morgan Marshall, 13, playing Do you hear the people sing? with specially-adapted lyrics


Andy Burnham, Labour MP for Leigh and Labour candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester


“I was surprised to see that there were exploration licences in Leigh. I looked into fracking and realised that I could not support it because of the risk to your geology and our green spaces.

“If I cannot support fracking in Leigh, I cannot support it in Greater Manchester and I cannot support it anywhere.

“What worries me is that the government has taken powers to impose it on local people. They have taken the say of local people and I will stand against it if I am elected mayor of Greater Manchester.

“If fracking is not good enough for New York, it is not good enough for Greater Manchester.

“The case for fracking has not been made. It belongs in the past, not the future.”

Sue Gough, Frack Free Ryedale


“We have been fighting this for two and a half years. In all that time we have prevented fracking from happening. I would think Third Energy expected to be drilling by now.

For the 4,000 people who commented on Third Energy’s plans [to frack in Ryedale], only about 30 were in favour and not one of them lived in or near Kirby Misperton. This demonstrates there is not social licence for fracking.

“Everyone can do something. Everyone can contribute to this campaign. The important thing is to do something. Don’t just sit by and let this happen.”

Claire Stephenson, Preston New Road Action Group, Lancashire


“We have been dismissed as unimportant. We have been described as receptors.

“They picked a fight with the wrong people. Our children matter. Our vulnerable and elderly residents matter.

“We will not give up. We will take this to the highest level.”

Barbara Richardson, Roseacre Awareness Group, Lancashire


After the decision by the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, to reopen the inquiry into Cuadrilla’s application to frack at Roseacre Wood, Mrs Richardson said:

“This is no longer just about fracking and the harm it brings to communities, our environment and climate change. This is now about local people having a say in their own future. This is about the people. To quote Theresa May “we will look after the interests of the ordinary working people not the rich and powerful. False words indeed. They only mean it when it suits them.

“People feel so strongly. Ordinary men and women like me, who has never done anything like this before but, we have been forced to action.

“There are many of us put lives in hold and sacrificed so much. Do not underestimate what this costs in money and time and effort.

“We have to be strong and resolute. We will only stop this by working together  and showing the oil and gas industry and our complicit government that we will not be bullied. We will not shut up and go away.

“This is about us the people. We do matter. Never have I seen such strong feeling amongst communities from right across the UK…… no the world.”

Crowds gather at Castlefield Bowl, Manchester



12 noon
March leaves Piccadilly Gardens




Speeches begin in Piccadilly Gardens

The crowd hears from Kevin Blowe, of Netpol, which is contributing to a new research project on policing of anti-fracking protests.


The Green Party candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester, Deyika Nzeribe (above), called on the anti-fracking movement to give the shale gas industry “the scrutiny it deserved”.

John Hodson, speaking for David McCoy, of the health charity Medact, said the biggest threat to health from shale gas extraction was its contribution to climate change. The crowd also heard from Stephen Garsted, Conor Dwyer of Friends of the Earth and the Climate Jobs initiative.

louise-somerville-williamsLouise Somerville Williams, of Frack Free Somerset, (above) told the crowd:

“People have said no to this industry. We can win. We will win. This is what democracy looks like”.



11am Crowds gathering in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester




98 replies »

  1. Hahaha a measly 1000 people after all that hype. Jeezo my local gala day sees triple that number and this was meant to be a nationwide event.

    Looking fwd to this week being pro after these last few doom monger orientated posts.

  2. Well the event was widely covered live (great effort and probably nothing else more exciting to make it news worthyon the day) by Manchester Evening News in the morning (I guess they would look like dumb smug if they miss this when it happened right in their local area) and again by the same paper in the evening. And the same paper on Sunday. So that 3 major coverages there for your question Paul Tresto. And for hbpeeny according to your leftish anti-capitalism conspiracy theory, the protest was also covered by far right wing political source the SocialistWorker.com and VICE website. Hell even the RT.com missed it.
    So Paul and hbpeeny you guys should be a little bit disappointed by the fact that it did make it to the news.

  3. Hmmm…what a bunch of pathetic comments posted here from the usual Cuadrilla supporters/shills/trolls and apologists, particularly when set alongside Francis Egan’s lack-lustre performance on the following link – ie no wonder he’s trying to blame anyone else but himself for the delay in the industry and govt’s “frack it and see” policy when it was Cuadrilla itself who blew the only chance it ever had, in 2011, before the earthquakes its fracking caused led to a rebuke from the energy minister the company had ““failed even to recognise the significance of that event.” So, there’s no-one else to blame but Egan for having creating such a delay and reasonable doubt as to the safety of this industry. Egan is another “weak bleater”, to put it mildly (though I’m sure Cuadrilla’s investors could come up with a stonger term to describe him) eg #utterfailure. View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAVy6oNR6oI&feature=youtu.be And once having done so, you would be an utter fool to invest in fracking eg “takes 4 years to drill a well”? That’s even wishful thinking on Egan’s part. To date, there are over 500 residents’ groups in the UK. Frack Free Sussex alone has over 10,000 followers – all of whom are motivated beyond the sum of a CEO’s salary to make sure that no wells will ever be fracked in Lancashire or elsewhere in the UK. This means that all shareholders in Cuadrilla are surely wasting good money to ensure Egan is…..#gettingpaidfornought – which also means investors are …#mugs.

    • The only pathetic people here are your lot. Guess you’ve not realised but liberals are falling way short worlwide. You have no ideas of your own and try and fabricate figures based on “googling”. Liberals are predominantly lazy and actually not that smart when they come up against a clued up capitalist. Hence resort to waving of hands and commenting their frustration on social media. That sort of activity is really going well for you isn’t it?

      • Re: “Liberals are predominantly lazy and actually not that smart when they come up against a clued up capitalist. Hence resort to waving of hands and commenting their frustration on social media. That sort of activity is really going well for you isn’t it?” Well, Mr M, If Francis Egan is your idea of a clued up capitalist, things aren’t going too well for him either – as he opines in Parlaiment right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAVy6oNR6oI&feature=youtu.be 4 years to drill one well? And he’s not even expecting to do so till next year – and knows we’ll prevent that too. If we’re meant to be lazy but have stopped this industry in its tracks since 2011, imagine what we could do if we really tried. That’s why the really “clued up capitalists” are all getting their money out of the fracking game – and why the frackers just can’t seem to get their bits in the ground…

      • “social media” lol

        Do keep up moron. Fracking has been fought to a standstill in the UK and will most likely never happen. iGas taking 8 months to do a 6 week test drill should have given you a heads up but you’re too dumb to have picked up on that lol

  4. Do any of the pro frackers here in these posts actually live in UK? No wonder you would not come to talk to the residents as i invited you to! What a farce! It seems that now the Clinton/Trump elections are over these frack farm paid fors are having to justify their salary by creating division and disharmony here in the UK. Come and live here before you have a right to say anything that happens here, see what happened to Obama when he tried to influence brexit. No wonder you are all pro frackers, you wont suffer the consequences of the fracking madness. Live here, talk to the local residents who are forced to endure this imposed insanity, We are simply not interested in interference from Trumpton USA or anywhere else for that matter. You continue to frick the frack out of your own country, we will deal with your fracking invasion from here without your say so, just as we always have.
    Over paid, over fracked and over there. You are not welcome, go away.

  5. Update please? Any coverage of this milestone event in the National Press? Was the event deemed not to be of significant interest? Bianca Jagger is as popular as ever…..?

    Phil C – I live in Lancashire (assuming you put me in the category of pro fracker because I like to see sound technical reasons not to proceed from a downhole point of view). And of course probably being the only person on this BB who has actually drilled and fracked wells.

    I don’t understand why you and your fellow anti shale friends are so worried about it going ahead in the UK – we keep being told it is too expensive, it is madness, it is killing the US, there’s too much gas, Friends of the Earth should be running the planet, the Greens should be running the country……..

    How Green, low carbon may have some surprises hidden away (aka biofuels):


    An example of what shale gas has done in the US (from the totally unbiased BBC of all places);


    • “Any coverage of this milestone event in the National Press?”

      …of course not. The BBC has operated a system of censorship by regionalisation regarding fracking from the very beginning. They don’t want folk elsewhere in PEDL’s seeing other areas resisting . Awareness of fracking in the UK is still very poor and that’s how they want to keep it. They will be fully aware that there’ll be a mass awareness tipping point where resistance to fracking will become orders of magnitude higher. That’s when it’s all over for them and they know it.

      Even if you happen to be pro fracking for whatever reason I would have thought that the abhorrent lack of democracy, the censorship and the relentless police brutality would give cause for concern.

    • Simple enough, its not as if i have not said it before, apparently you were not listening, I want my children and their children to live in a free unpolluted environment as i did when i was young. I want many future generations to thrive and not have the legacy of our present burden of insanity towards our ecology and our disenfranchised populace. Fracking has destroyed that legacy elsewhere and it will do here, regardless of any other consideration. So i oppose it. This country had one industrial revolution, but those were inevitable and profit became the motive, slavery the result. This re industrialization of what remains of our the ecology is simply not acceptable, we should be cleverer than to fall into that old trap again, some of us are, but clearly the age old disease of greed still permeates our fractured social disorder.The old Satanic Mills are returning, and just as destructive ripping gas from the earth and poisoning land and water, as pouring pollution into the air and gouging great scars in the earth.its all for profit, no matter what is said here, thats all it ever was.
      We grow up and become responsible for this planet and stop the miserable and thoughtless rape of the earth or we die having destroyed our own nest and everything else on this planet as well. Can you not see that?
      And you argue numbers?? statistics?? you tear into each other with empty words?? Where is your intelligence? where is your common sense? Dont you care or the future?
      Fracking is just the tip of even more horrendous industrialization ice bergs. Let fracking go on by and we might as well have done with it for good and for all, and let trump and Putin push the button, because this stupid species will not be worth saving.
      I will not let that happen because the good will burn and die with the idiots, and i am here to protect the good and give them a future they can enjoy. Fracking cant even begin to address that problem because its pointing at more reliance on fossil fuels, more of the same old same old power base, we must concentrate on intelligent solutions, they already exist, but we are prevented from seeing them as they are.
      We stop fracking here and we stop fracking now, there is no alternative, all else is insanity.

      • Phil C – we are clearly all doomed then? Fortunately you are in the extreme minority, too late to go back to the Stone Age. There are too many people on the planet. Perhaps you should focus on other issues which are actually doing damage in the UK? Agriculture, sewage, vehicle pollution, over fishing?

        Are you ever happy?

        As the end of the world is coming quicker than I thought I will open a bottle of my best claret tonight…..and toast your wise insight into our future!

        • Well that was predictable, disingenuous, inaccurate, dismissive self satisfied and lacking in any empathy. Clearly you are a lost cause. I should have known better than to try. You didn’t read a word did you.

          • Phil C – your arrogance is endless. Listen to you? Why?

            “I will not let that happen because the good will burn and die with the idiots, and i am here to protect the good and give them a future they can enjoy.”

            Wow! Are you a higher being of some kind, or just a typical blinkered FOE zealot (moderator – a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals)?

            You know nothing about me, nor do you know very much about the subject under discussion.

            • And there we have it folks, perfectly illustrated knee jerk frack boot reaction. This is the sort of tender mercy we can expect from the tracking industry if it gets a hold here. On these grounds alone regardless of any other consideration, we must oppose this attitude pervading our country

  6. Some of these comments are neither worth reading or responding to!! I was there on Saturday, there were at least 2000 people there!! But I know so many people who would have liked to be there who had other commitments ie work!!!
    Go and wreak havoc in your own backyard and keep your nose out of the UKs!! What is it to you, vested interests??? Also the ASA has found, when challenged that cuadrilla has been feeding plenty of misinformation regarding fracking!

    • I live in Lancashire. Is a different opinion, supported by technical experience and qualification, not permitted in Lancashire? Do you only want to debate with like minded people or just the other 600 followers of this blog who hold the same opinions as yourself? That would be very boring and uneducating. I took off the total number of followers assuming there were about nine you don’t want to hear from?

  7. As I said, SOME of these comments!!! Technical experience, mmm possibly vested interests! So what would motivate people like me Mr Tresto? Just concern for my family, friends and the natural world, and the environmental mess we will bequeath to future generations for what?? I’m not interested in sparring with people who have no care, but for money!!

    • No vested interests in shale gas. I do have shares in Shell and BP in my pension fund for the dividends. But then so does everyone else unless you have somehow excluded fossil fuel companies. State pensions are also invested in these apparently. Just a lot of technical engineering and operational experience in drilling / production / onshore / offshore / UK / North Sea / Overseas – and even in “fracking”.

      As I have often said, shale gas development will probably not go ahead in UK due to planning issues, traffic, noise etc. But the drilling and testing of a few exploration wells is insignificant and should proceed. However it will not be stopped through any subsurface issues related to drilling / fracking / production as there are no valid reasons in these areas to stop it.

  8. “issues related to drilling / fracking / production as there are no valid reasons in these areas to stop it”

    So how do you distinguish the amenity impacts that you say may stop it from the drilling fracking and production processes. I would have thought that lorry movements, acquisition of chemicals and sand, transportation or re-injection of waste fluid etc are all pretty inextricable from these processes unless you are trying to play word games of course? It’s like claiming that distribution has nothing to do with the centralised retail model, when in fact it couldn’t function without it.

    • You missed off “subsurface” when quoting me. The point I am trying to make is that what happens below ground during the drilling / completion / stimulation / testing / production processes will not stop shale gas applications. Unless the EA refuses a permit due to an acquifer in the wellbore which they deem is not protected.

      Re-injection of waste fluid is a sub-surface operation and this may stop it. But I don’t think this is allowed?

      I’m not smart enough for “word games”.

      • So I did – my bad. Point taken, although not necessarily agreed with as I still think you can’t divorce the processes from their associated impacts. I also still think that there are lot of subsurface issues – particularly around seismicity (which may be exacerbated by re-injection as we know from USA)

        The EA’s new guidelines clearly do suggest that reinjection of produced water for disposal will be permitted, although flowback will only be allowed to be reinjected as “fresh” injection fluid and not for disposal (although given they say they will leave a large % below ground I’m not sure how that isn’t effectively waste disposal in some way too).

        I do look forward to reading the EA’s definition as to when fluid emerging from the well stops being flowback and starts being produced water, and how the two will be separated below ground. 😉

        • You can add a tracer to the fluid you inject from surface so you can monitor the return fluid and identify what is what. I do not see how a shale will produce formation water (produced water), particularly a shale gas well. Where will the water come from? The last thing a shale well needs is formation water production as this will kill the well pretty quickly (head). There is a small amount of associated water combined with methane and some of this may unbind on the way up the well depending on the changes in temperature and pressure up the wellbore. Very small amounts though. Water + methane = hydrates = no production in certain pressure / temp envelopes.

          Perhaps the EA are talking about produced water from conventional reservoir wells?

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