How did you find out about fracking?

Cuadrilla fracking site

Photo: Cuadrilla Resources

Yesterday, campaigner Louise Somerville asked on Facebook how people had found about fracking. We thought the answers were very interesting and asked for permission to reproduce the thread. Another campaigner, Vanessa Vine, asked the same question this morning. We’ve combined the answers.

Claire V Oyant Meeting in a pub!

George Brown Earthquake in 2011 in Lancashire.

Libby Lawes Online

Vanessa Vine In the Spring of 2011, I came across a You Tube clip from Australia, with worried rural parents talking about how ill their children were.  It troubled me and I started raising the issue on Facebook, which led me to the Fracking Hell (UK) Group.  I got relentlessly behind the first Downing Street petition for four months – which of course proved futile, other than in early awareness-raising. Then I heard that Balcombe (4 miles from where I lived) was the next planned drilling site. I was put in touch with folk from Frack Off, who told me just what was coming if enough people didn’t take responsibility and stand up in defense of their own communities .. and my life has not been the same since.

Ruth Wajsblum So long ago I can’t really remember, but I think it was discussed at Earth First or Climate Camp, maybe in relation to the Tar Sands.

Lanner Davis Best friend

Jennee Dixon 1st on local regional news 2011 (The earthquake) But didn’t really explore harm until 2013

Janice Buckley Was watching groups on the Gulf oil spill in 2010 and somebody from Pennsylvania alerted them to what was going on there…….It was horrendous even then and so I started researching. There were just 245 people on the List Of The Harmed back then, there are thousands now. Shortly after that my neighbour called and asked if I knew anything about fracking and that it was coming to the UK, I found Frack Off and they put me in touch with local group RAFF.

Cassy Nunan You [Louise Somerville]

Paul Mobbs Emails from the late, great Theo Colborn in 2008/9 — started work mid-2009 once I put her stuff together with the results of the 13th onshore licensing round of 2008.

Debbie Jackson I went to two meetings one by Ian Crane and the 2nd by Raaf Then did my own research

Kim Tee The packed out public meeting in Balcombe, 2012? You, Louise?

Balcombe,West Sussex, UK Anti Fracking protests..16th September

Photo: David Burr

Becca Lamont Jiggens YOU! 😀

Sarah Mackfall I was at a LILO (Low impact life onboard) gathering in April 2012 and a couple were walking round chatting to people and handing out leaflets

Bill Angelos From this blog post in 2009 https://consumerist.com/…/tapwater-catches-fire-after…/

Cathy Monkley From climate change aware FB friends when it started in the states

Maria Thomas Because of an application to test drill in our village of Llanharan. Luckily we had it rejected by the planners.

Lesley Graham Back in June 2011 a friend told me about the earthquakes in Blackpool, found out Cuadrilla planned to frack 4 miles from my house in Banks, wrote to the local paper http://www.southportvisiter.co.uk/…/letters—160611… read what I could find on internet, watched Gasland, Frack Off got in touch, I organized a public meeting with speakers from Green Party & showed Fracking Hell. From this meeting we formed the First Anti fracking group in England
Ribble Estuary Against Fracking! Cuadrilla withdrew its application to frack but still hasn’t been to plug, cap and restore the land…

Anna Boyle Guardian article about Earthquakes in Lancashire . I looked into it. There wasn’t much info. It seemed surreal to think of what they were doing. “I read the news today” Beatles song went on in my head. Then read about moratorium, then went to Balcombe . Couldn’t believe they had continued.

Merilyn Tarplee A documentary on TV showing America some years ago. Was horrified but thought it would Never happen here as we had not got the vast open spaces to hide the effects. Thank goodness for tbe internet the evidence can’t be hidden now.

Fargo McCann I listened to the tories saying it was the way forward. Instantly said to me it was wrong. I then went and belted out tunes in traf Sq. I saw trees being cut down on youtube so I got in the works van and drive to Barton moss. The rest is mystery 😃

Pamela Lucas 19th August 2013; the day Caroline Lucas got arrested with her son at Balcombe. She made me feel humbled being as she was prepared to sit in the road and be manhandled, by, as I found out later by a rather over exuberant police presence. Not as over zealous as GMP at Barton Moss though!! I, my son and one of his friends went to Balcombe the next day on the train! The rest is history!! 3 and a half years!!

Rev’d Peter Doodes Had contact with USA friends who advised me that it was a disaster in waiting and the people behind it had bought the politicians promoting it. There was then a film show at Lewes of Gaslands where I first me Vanessa Vine, and that must be about 10 years ago.

Kay Trebaczyk Socialist worker

Karen Stutz Greenpeace Wrong Move FB post

John Hobson I attended a meeting after the Preese Halll earthquake piqued my curiosity. I do so wish I hadn’t 😉

Buffy Essex Through you!

Stephen Jackson National Anti-Fracking page on fb and Fracking Hell,where i learned so much from other members,did a lot of research,went to Balcome six months later.

Keith Bale Our Community of Lismore NSW Australia began to come alive about 7 – 8 years ago mainly through the Gasland Movie by Josh Fox! Then protests against Metgasco in Casino NSW were strong and many..!! Music Festivals and Massive Marches of solidarity..!

Leighandstephen Bacon Saw a piece in the local paper regarding a presentation and film followed by Q&A about fracking, given by Ian R Crane. We had previously seen Ian talk on various subjects on ‘The Controversial Channel’ which use to be on Sky. . . And went along to the presentation !.

Mavis Mcduff Heard about the earthquake caused by fracking on the Fylde coast on the national news 6 years ago, and the fact that fracking would be ceased until it could be proved safe…… which of course it never can be !

Poshpaws Cat From facebook

Janetta Morton Watched a documentary about pennsylvania and fracking in the US not sure but a few years ago..then it became clear it was coming to the UK. XX

Bow Glow Through you

 Liam Offcutt McDonald On social media when they started doing it in America and people posting up videos on the devastating effects it has. Flammable drinking water!!!

Jon O’Houston I was working in Ardingly and had to pass Balcombe on my way home , i stopped to see what the fuss was about , talked to a few beautiful people and went home and downloaded lists of chemicals and what they did to humans , next thing i got chucked in the deep end explaining to visitors , never a day that i havent done something since , much  everyone else i guess.

Andy Severyn Went to one of Mike Hill’s election talks where he shared in detail what we were facing. Confirmed it all with research etc, and not being able to un-know it, being a dad and teacher just can’t ignore the poisonous greed that would brutally harm our children’s future.

Mike Hill Saw a rig drilling onshore in late 2010 just up the road and asked them (Cuadrilla) what were they doing “fracking”! Couldn’t believe it was happening onshore in UK. Decided to offer public meetings on the subject so others could know and in 2011 worked in coop with RAFF to help get message out.

Andy Chyba I studied it on a geology course in 1981 and then forgot about it until my in Blackpool rang me up to ask if she should be worried about it on her doorstep – that was more than 6 yrs ago …..

Margaret Cavanna Film Gaslands on UK tv (2011?).

Den Carter saw a video on fb of a river with gas being lit and going on fire……through fracking, very scary….


Bob Dennett I first became aware of fracking whilst watching an episode of CSI, Jerry Bruckheimer’s crime investigation series, on TV whilst working away from home during 2007. The programme focussed on the negative health impacts and poisoned water ( and fracking was still in it’s early stages in the US) I was curious to learn more so did some research. When I was told that there was a company exploring for gas in the Fylde I assumed that it was British Gas/Centrica and that it was conventional, like the well at Elswick. I was awoken at 2.32am on April 1st 2011 by the 1st earthquake and subsequently discovered via the media that it was caused by the exploration company who were using a process known as fracking. This spurred me on to more research during which time I received a glossy brochure through the door from a local property developer, who had been refused planning permission by Wrea Green Parish council, and he was threatening to lease his land (300 metres from my back door) to Cuadrilla, I was motivated to contact Wrea Green parish council chairwoman and we started making arrangements to hold a meeting in the village, on a visit to a local shop I came across a poster with Gayzer’s phone number which I rang. That’s how I became part of the emerging anti fracking movement never imagining for one moment that I would still be fighting this almost 6 years later.

Helen Chuntso Saw a huge poster Frack Off made saying Frack Off – I think it was Brighton? Fast forward a few weeks and I wrote a letter to my MP Barbara Keeley about another matter and she replied that she was opposing fracking at Barton Moss. Always remember meeting John Defo Catterall and knowing with certainty from that moment forward we were going to fight The Beast. The rest as they say is history.

Reuben Chappell I learnt about franking during my HND Mining Engineering course in the early 1980’s.

Tegan Tallullah I think it was when watching the docu film Gaslands/

Chris Walford I saw the maps for the license applications in the 2015 round and couldn’t believe how they were concealed until the election was out of the way

Beth Robson-shennan My super cool parents..

Kinder McColl Saw it on a livestream from Balcombe……….was too far to go…….but soon as Barton Moss started I went.  And my life has never been the same………….love to all involved now………..collectively we changed the game……..and collectively we will stop Fracking…….p.s We Are Winning

Katy Dunne Gaslands in 2011 while I was living in Balcome woods.. A friend came round and told us we had an application down the road and showed us the film. Lifechanging was an understatement…

Rakesh Prashar Gasland

David McClushion you [Louise Somerville]

Jane Gibbs We felt the earthquakes in Yorkshire in 2011. Didn’t connect till Ellie told me about fracking and shared the Barton Moss videos with me. The government and the industry can call them tremors to play it down all they  but we definitely felt it from Blackpool, in Yorkshire – I remember the earth moving when I was in bed (alone!)

Michael J Vickery Erm… I have to confess it was somewhere on this Facebook thing about 3 years ago… which weirdly (or not) included a meme from the original 1970s Battlestar Galactica, where it was used as a bad word (I wonder if the writers knew about the environmental implications?)… I know Wikipedia ain’t always the best reference material, but check out the last of the list in “Other Uses” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frak_%28expletive%29

Frak or frack is a fictional version of “fuck” first used in the 1978-Battlestar Galactica television series. It continues to be used throughout different versions of the Battlestar Galactica franchise as a profanity in science fiction. EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG

Kieran Dunne I didn’t, fracking found out about me! I was actually in Inverness strangely enough waiting for a job cleaning out the tanks on oil rigs, I was having a battle with myself over it, I hated the industry but was desperate for cash then Adam Cordell started posting about balcombe and the more I read the more the more I was convinced that what I was considering was a big mistake.

Janet Henbane A few years ago – environmental group in US / rivers poisoned.

Adelia Hammond I think it was on the Wright stuff.

Ashera Hart A community event in Australia. Queensland has been ruined by it. A promised land whilst a Hollywood movie on the subject paints quite a true picture with some politics mixed in showing that money funds both sides

Owen Adams reports on Balcombe made me aware, plus fighting the Infrastructure Bill (now Act)

Jared Loq An Earthquake that shook my bed whilst I sat up reading in 2011

Paul Ask When they came to sandwich bay, luckily our geology saved us, filths reaction at Barton……. expect us.

Alison Change Green Gathering and you/

Helene Trans-It Schnitzer Vaguely remember Yoko Ono was involved in a protest and we were FB friends at the time.

Becky Martin Husband put Gaslands on for me to watch. Boy did he regret that.  So it was marinating in my mind for a while then a chat with Guinevere  and Lardo in the pub in the middle of avebury stone circle at samhain set me off properly on the crusade. That was a momentous day for me! Met you a few weeks later at a FoE event. You gave me a tea bag.

Clare Willis-Burton FoE event in York a couple of years ago fired me up good and proper

Jen Mccarty from you [Vanessa Vine]

Britt Red Thomas You [Vanessa Vine]. From the discussion at Yoko Onos meltdown festival

Rebekah Kortokraks Can’t remember but through the Zu community. Feeling a strong connection to the earth and its rape for short term profit is what compelled me to protest against it. Even my kids who aren’t at all concerned by environmental issues were freaked out by youtube videos of tap water catching alight.

Claire Chambers Calvey You [Vanessa Vine] speaking on the RA show…had never thought about it before then…

Sarah Southern I found out through Facebook pages. Followed a few for some months, and then a camp popped up near me, and then a second camp. I read some more, spoke to my local green party representative who took us to visit West Newton

Dave Hampton Great question. I can’t remember exactly. But I do remember what it felt . When I heard about it. It felt  I’d just heard a surgeon (in a nightmare perhaps) suggesting he operated on my child’s headache, with sticks of explosive, toxic fluid injection under pressure, and a pneumatic drill. Dumbfounded. So wrong, on so many levels.

Jane Haigh We went to a meeting in Forest Row about the potential Fracking in Balcombe. It concerned us considerably, so we started to join the demonstrations there, that first Summer. It was such an eye opener!!!!

Maggi Wolf Edwina’s posts from BM.


Amy Stewart I watched Gaslands within a few days of my birthday, about 6-7 weeks before Balcombe became an active site, because on my birthday that year, I had chosen to go to Wakhurst with my parents, and by a rather weird coincidence, there was a diversion in place  that day that lead to us driving right past the Balcombe site. I’d already read about the plans there online, and had heard enough noises about fracking doing the rounds to feel concerned about it. The first time I watched Gaslands I felt sick, and the day the pictures of those on the log outside the site being assaulted came out, I literally got to the site within 2 hours

Howard Markert About the time of this article, I visited a friends family in Wyoming and the was an article in the local paper I saw while I was there. I have followed it ever since. This was actually before they started horizontal drilling, back then they were trying out the new technique of slant drilling on Dick Cheney’s ranch in Wyoming and is was causing methane leaks into a river near Jackson Hole Wyoming. I became an activist when I moved to Ohio in 2009 and saw that they wanted were starting to do HVSW hydrofracturing in my new home county. http://www.hcn.org/issues/186/6046


S-kat LaBoosh Buchet Pagans against frakkin @g tor then with u @frack camp cafe 🙂

Trish Buchan I first heard about fracking in the UK when I was watching channel four news and they interviewed a lady protester at the side of the road and an industry goon in the studio. This remarkable lady spoke with such knowledge, passion and wisdom. She called the goon a liar, live on TV and I was smitten. It was that interview that caused me to investigate what this fracking thing I had heard of, but didn’t know anything about, really was. That lady was you [Vanessa Vine] You turned my life upside down and you didn’t even know I existed.

Andy Whitson I saw a news item on Granada reports about the start of a fracking protest at an exploratory drilling site at Barton Moss.
I was off work the next day so thought I’d go down and see what it was all about. Next thing, I was being pushed around by police and the rest is history as they say.
I was (and am) fuelled by the fire of injustice and after researching the unconventional gas industry the need to protect future generations from potential ecological disaster.

John Taylor First heard about it here in Lismore but didn’t know what it was. Then I started hearing stories from farmers in Queensland that were unable to work yet able to set their water on fire. I was shocked to say the least. Our community came together to march, protest and eventually blockade at Bentley. It was a whole Northern Rivers effort

73 replies »

  1. There are very few people who work in upstream oil and gas who didn’t think fraccing was some sort of hoax when they first heard of it. I first read about it in the Journal of Petroleum Technology and didn’t really think it was serious.

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