The climate change campaign group, Reclaim the Power, has announced plans for a fortnight of direct action against companies which supply the fracking industry.
The actions, labelled Break the chain, are due to start in a month’s time on 27 March 2017.
Reclaim the Power said the campaign aimed to disrupt supply chain companies, putting pressure on them to pull out of contracts.
“No complicity with fracking is acceptable”, a spokesperson said.
Cuadrilla, which is preparing a site near Blackpool for fracking, has responded that neither it, nor its contractors, would be intimidated.
Since work began last month at the company’s Preston New Road site, there have been small protests outside suppliers and contractors.
Moore Readmix said on 7 February 2017: “We have no alternative but to cease supplies” after protesters blocked the entrance to its depot in St Annes. The day before, Armstrong Aggregates said it had decided to terminate all work at Preston New Road, although Cuadrilla said the contract had already been completed.
Opponents of Cuadrilla’s operations have also protested outside the site and sought to slow-down deliveries. Tina Rothery, a prominent anti-fracking campaigner, said:
“The people who stand at the roadside every day in Lancashire couldn’t be more grateful for groups like Reclaim the Power and the actions they have planned. They continue to provide support for us, to spread our message and bring us hope.”
A spokesperson for Reclaim the Power said there would be lots of individual actions across the UK. They would be carried out by its members, rather than individual frack free or community campaign groups. The spokesperson was unable to reveal details of where and when the actions would take place. She said:
“The idea is to provide some inspiration to the wider anti-fracking movement. They are designed to be complementary to actions outside the shale gas sites.”
Reclaim the Power said the direct action was a response to preparation for fracking by Cuadrilla in Lancashire and also by Third Energy in North Yorkshire. The group’s Ash Hewitson, said:
“The industry is raising the stakes and pressing ahead with its plans, and the Westminster government is finding any way it can to force fracking on communities, despite overwhelming opposition.
“So we need new strategies to resist. Fracking companies don’t exist in isolation; and we can stop the industry if we cut it off from the systems it needs to survive. By taking out the links in the chain we can break the whole industry into pieces.”
The group has organised direct action across the UK against fracking, airport expansion, open cast coal mines and coal-fired power stations.
It said it was planning to train hundreds of people in the coming months in protest techniques and tactics. What it called “a more sustained campaign of resistance” would be announced for this summer if companies began fracking.
Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said:
“We strongly condemn Reclaim the Power’s stated plans to take direct action against Lancashire and other businesses and suppliers working with us in developing our lawfully consented shale gas exploration site in Lancashire.
“Neither we or our contractors will be intimidated by a small group of irresponsible activists, who are clearly intent on harassing small local businesses.
“Lancashire jobs and revenue opportunities are being threatened and we will do everything we can to ensure these opportunities are not needlessly lost to the county.”