Legal

“Police trying to provoke protesters at Lancashire fracking site”, say injured councillors

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Photo: Peter Yankowski

Two councillors who were pushed to the ground during policing of protests outside Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking site last week have accused police officers of trying to provoke the demonstrators.

Miranda Cox, a member of Kirkham Town Council, and Roger Lloyd, an independent on Fylde Borough Council, both reported increasingly heavy-handed policing at the weekday protests outside the site at Preston New Road near Blackpool.

Cllr Lloyd hit his head when he was pushed to the ground on Monday last week (27/2/2017). Cllr Cox suffered leg pain when she was pushed and fell last Wednesday (1/3/2017). A woman next to her was knocked unconscious.

Escalation

In separate interviews, both councillors said they would be calling for a change of police tactics when they attended meetings this week.

Cllr Cox told DrillOrDrop:

“I have seen an escalation in the number of police and the way in which they are behaving.”

She said on Friday last week (3/3/2017), there had been four protesters at the site gate in the morning.

“We had a riot van each. We were outnumbered by the police by 15 to one.”

Cllr Lloyd said the police behaviour had changed in the past fortnight, coinciding with reports that Cuadrilla had complained about the protests to the Home Office and Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He said:

“It’s almost as if the police had been trying to provoke violence. If they can provoke violence they can put an exclusion zone around the site.”

Cllr Cox said of the police:

“They are trying to provoke. They are trying to ignite. I think they want an excuse to escalate policing. They are not facilitating peaceful protest.”

“I have had fists in my back”

She said: “I have seen this escalate. I have had fists in my back in the past two weeks.”

She described how she was part of a group of protesters who were pushed together by police and held in one place for “a long time”. She said:

“They shoved us and that knocked us. My leg went from under me. There was a loud crack and I went down.

“I got up and there was a lady lying unconscious at my feet.”

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Photo: Peter Yankowski

She said the police formed a rank either side of the group, preventing other protesters from reaching them.

“I am trying to phone for an ambulance. But the operator couldn’t hear me because of the road. I asked the officers to use their radios to help me get an ambulance. They turned away from me. That is not what I was brought up to believe. That scared me.”

Cllr Lloyd was filmed by a protester being pushed by a police officer. He was given the all clear after going to hospital for a scan on his head.

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Still from video by Danny Nicholson

He said:

“The vast majority of protesters when I have been at the site are quite elderly. The police pushing and telling you to get back – it is extremely intimidating.

“We just feel that the police are very concerned with protecting local businesses and not protecting people protesting. The protesters have an equal right to be there.”

Cllr Lloyd said he believed the police had been directed to take a no-tolerance approach.

“The increased presence is highly intimidating, so much so that the protesters now call these police Cuadrilla’s Stormtroopers.

“This change in policing has resulted in assaults and a great deal of distress. … There was genuine shock, alarm and fear amongst the protesters as these new tactics rolled out.”

“Stark contrast”

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Preston New Road 18 January 2017. Photo: Ros Wills

Cllr Lloyd said this was a “stark contrast” to the early weeks of the protest.

“There was huge support from passing motorists and a relaxed cooperation from the police and protesters alike.”

Cllr Cox said there had been minimum policing at the start of Cuadrilla’s operation in January and early February.

“There were usually just two police liaison officers and one other officer for the first three-four weeks.”

She suggests the so-called “pop-up protests” blockading Cuadrilla contractors and suppliers marked the change of policing.

Both councillors complained that police had refused to facilitate slow-walking of lorries into the site, which had worked successfully at the start of the protest.

“Targetted arrests”

Cllr Cox added that the police appeared to be targeting specific people for arrest.

“People are being arrested on multiple occasions, predominantly young men and women. Lots of people are being arrested then released without charge.

“They [the police] are trying to ignite something. I do not think they will succeed.

“My feeling now is you are not intimidating me. You are making me more determined. I never thought I would hear myself say that.”

“We need a Gandhi moment”

Cllr Lloyd said the police needed to take a much calmer approach. He said:

“We need a Gandhi moment”.

He has asked Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, to comment on the incident in which he was pushed and about the changes in police behaviour. He says he has not had a reply. Cllr Lloyd commented:

“It is said that a society can be judged by how it protects its most vulnerable. But it would appear the individual must now come second to corporate demands. Francis Egan has much to answer for.”

Cllr Cox said:

“There are places on that road where slow-walking could be facilitated without risk to road users or protesters.

“Their [the police’s] primary aim is to get that road open, the trucks in and the pad built.

“If they would acknowledge we have that right to protest it would diffuse the situation.”

Response

Lancashire Police said:

“Our approach is to ensure a consistent and coordinated policing response and ensure a balance between the rights of people to lawfully protest, together with the rights of the wider public, including local businesses, to go about their lawful activities.”

DrillOrDrop asked Lancashire Police to comment on the incidents involving Cllr Cox and Cllr Lloyd. We will update this post with any response.

Cuadrilla told us:

“Both Home Office and BEIS officials are aware of the protester activity in Lancashire and as the article we believe that the Home Office can “help give the Police greater clarity on the laws surrounding protest action so that police are able to protect local businesses”.

43 replies »

  1. “A smash and grab fracking industry”?? You mean the industry, that during Obama’s Presidency (nothing to do with Trump) kept the American economy fairly buoyant, and as such avoided a serious global recession (and recessions hit the poor in the world the hardest-they die), and brought oil prices down to a little over $50/barrel?

    This is never mentioned by the anti frackers. I wonder why? Here we are in UK debating whether we should increase spending on the NHS more than the increase in Social Care, or vice verca. If oil had maintained at around $100/barrel, there would have been absolutely no choice, and other household budgets would also have been swamped. The only party that would have suited are the SNP! (Perhaps that is what CROSS Party stands for?)

    How on earth will any Paris accord be helped by UK importing gas from the other side of the world rather than producing it from under our feet? And then, what about energy security, which together with food and water security will be a major issue in the next two decades? We can not afford to build the number of nuclear stations needed in one go, they take a huge time to come on stream, and will inflate peoples energy bills dramatically. We are stuck with gas for at least 30 years. So let’s use local, secure sources IF WE CAN. The argument against seeing IF WE CAN shows the argument is not very soundly based.

    • More holes in the ground = more fossil fuels being burnt = equals more green house gas. Maths 101?!

      Please don’t talk about security of the poor as if they are immune from climate change, it is the single largest risk to the developing world. Renewables on the other hand avoid that AND are ideal in some unique ways. Solar PV for example does not require a grid infrastructure at all in order to bring developing world communities into contact with electricity. Biogas projects are helping the poor turn their waste in energy for free. But that’s the real issue here….. we don’t yet have a model for taxing the sun or people food waste do we?

      The CEO of the national grid promotes distributed power over more base load. In this country we are actively undermining investment in Wind and Solar with recent policy changes yet increasing trying to support fracking?!!!! Renewables are the ultimate in fuel security…. Wind, Wave, Solar between them their is a constant supply! 100% Wave Wind Solar is very achievable, just requires putting the fossil fuel industry in it’s place and redistributing the subsidies it gets. If we dont those companies will end up sat on a large pile of stranded assets…. that it NOT good for our economic security – dont take my word for it, Mark Carney is saying the same thing.

      100% renewables is GREAT for employment, great for energy security, climate security, BAD for fossil fuel companies if they don’t migrate to the new energy markets.

      The writing is on the wall guys…… you can’t hold back renewables…. they are starting to undercut the cost of energy from fossil fuels even discounting the fact that these costs ignore the massive costs of pollution on our society and our ecology.

      Signed up to Cross Party Frack Free we have MPs, councillors and peers from across the parties though some are better represented (less whipped) than others. Over to you guys…. but remember, unlike some of you, I don’t get paid for this so time short!

    • An activity which polutes thousands of gallons of water and WILL leak toxic chemicals (when NOT IF the seal fails) is not very soundly based, [edited by moderator]

    • Sorry but the reason oil was at $50 a barrel isn’t because of fracking directly. It was because OPEC deliberately over produced oil as oppose to deliberately ensuring that the price remains high, by stemming the production as normal. I thought it was due to Iran ( or another oil producing country) not agreeing to OPEC request to stem their flow. We should be less reliant on oil altogether and there isn’t an easy or quick fix for that. Is potentially destroying our countryside the really answer?

  2. Reminds me of the miners . Heavy handed thuggery . What you are doing is right . We will be having earth quakes, dirty drinking water , in America even water on fire where the gas is escaping. Disgrace money talks holed out make it hell for them .

  3. Paul, the article you cite does not prop up your arguments. The UK’s carbon footprint is unfortunately spread far wider than our shores. Most of what we consume is now manufactured elsewhere, we could make our local carbon footprint equal zero and still emit dangerous levels of GHGs… something this article seems to ignore?!

    Gas cleaner than coal, yes. Does that make it the solution NO! It’s very simple maths. 2/3 of all reserves must be kept in the ground, why would you want to dig for more?!!!

    Let me help you with some up to date science on the matter. When I have a bit more time, maybe we can get into a fully fledged debate but I have some reading to do on carbon management as part of my MSc….. sorry my level of understanding doesn’t meet your expectations, I’ll keep studying.

    100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) All-
    Sector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World, Jacobson and Deluccho 2017

    http://zerocarbonbritain.com/images/pdfs/ZeroCarbonBritain-MakingItHappen.pdf

    BTW, who do you work for Paul, am I being overly cynical or are you working for big oil? Is this part of your job to make fake news?

    • Fake news? Well the article is in the Guardian – take it up with them? The graph is straightforward.

      Are these also fake news:

      National Grid Future Energy Scenario forecasting 2016 edition? 2030 gas demand varies between 603TWh (Gone Green) and 808TWH (No Progression); 2015 it was 880TWH. Yes it is coming down but only by 10% if you take the market driven examples (most likely). And No Progression and Consumer Power both include UK shale gas production.

      and

      “Consumption of natural gas worldwide is projected to increase from 120 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2012 to 203 Tcf in 2040 in the International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016) Reference case. By energy source, natural gas accounts for the largest increase in world primary energy consumption. Abundant natural gas resources and robust production contribute to the strong competitive position of natural gas among other resources. Natural gas remains a key fuel in the electric power sector and in the industrial sector. In the power sector, natural gas is an attractive choice for new generating plants because of its fuel efficiency. Natural gas also burns cleaner than coal or petroleum products, and as more governments begin implementing national or regional plans to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, they may encourage the use of natural gas to displace more carbon-intensive coal and liquid fuels.

      World consumption of natural gas for industrial uses increases by an average of 1.7%/year, and natural gas consumption in the electric power sector increases by 2.2%/year, from 2012 to 2040 in the IEO2016 Reference case. The industrial and electric power sectors together account for 73% of the total increase in world natural gas consumption, and they account for about 74% of total natural gas consumption through 2040.

      Consumption of natural gas increases in every IEO region, with demand in nations outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (non-OECD) increasing more than twice as fast as in the OECD (Figure 3-1). The strongest growth in natural gas consumption is projected for the countries of non-OECD Asia, where economic growth leads to increased demand. Natural gas consumption in the non-OECD region grows by an average of 2.5%/year from 2012 to 2040, compared with 1.1%/year in the OECD countries. As a result, non-OECD countries account for 76% of the total world increment in natural gas consumption, and their share of world natural gas use grows from 52% in 2012 to 62% in 2040.”

      From:
      https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/nat_gas.cfm

      My money is on the EIA forecast, not Jacobson and Deluccho.

      I don’t work, I am retired. I guess you must be new on this BB? My background is common knowledge, 30 plus years in oil and gas upstream including engineering all over the world and managing large frack jobs. But don’t let experience come into it.

      No need to debate the issue, unless the global population suddenly reduces significantly and aspiring middle classes in India, China, SEA, Africa decide they don’t want electricity, air conditioning, heating, motor bikes, cars, TVs, Premier Leauge soccer, middle class life styles there will be no pure “green solution” for a very long time. And that’s what all the forecasts show, apart from perhaps “enemies of industry” etc…..

      • He/she/neutral is referring to a Guardian link I posted earlier on the previous page. But my response is just as valid if the comments are directed at the Times article which is the same. These Green zealots are Living in La La land……or Notting Hill…

        • Ah ok. Don’t worry their time is nearly up. Got the popcorn ready for the upcoming HC case and unless our friends FoE are able to get a JR to challenge the scrapping of financial caps for environmental cases, we can be sure of no more tactical court delays.

  4. Ask Quakers to hold a meeting for worship there, and get all the protesters to join them. That would give you your Gandhi moment.

  5. Unfortunately, the same flawed arguments that have been repeated time after time. Yes, I think a bit more study is required.

    You fall for several myths repeated on this site, simply to fit a narrative. Just because some of us support the testing of fracking in this country we are automatically “working for big oil” or we are “speculators making money”. I am certainly not either one. I have looked at the situation from all angles and come to a different conclusion from yourself. Perhaps it is because I have paid tax for over 50 years and would like to see some of it well spent, and that does not include £150k net profit per wind turbine/year to a millionaire (because of subsidies), even when the energy generated was not required. And let us leave the N. Ireland wood pellet burning fiasco out of it, as well.

    I enjoy the search engine warriors on here who scan the internet for bits of “scientific” research to support their arguments, but then find disappointment as most of this research fails to show a direct link between cause and effect. I have said before you can show there are a high percentage of obese people within a close radius of every fracking site in USA. Certain organisations would grasp this and say that fracking caused it! I have worked within medical research and the costs to repeatedly show cause and effect are huge, but you do not get a product licence if you can not do so. Many research scientists I have spoken to find it appalling that if your “research” has a link to global warming there seems to be an immunity towards such requirements.

    You talk about fake news, well, just try and explain how, without gas or nuclear, there is any chance of wind or solar being able to stand up? Yes, energy storage may be an option for the future but it isn’t available now, or in the short term future. Take a break from your studies and check with some builders in this country to see what central heating systems they are installing NOW.I can save you that job-the vast majority are GAS!

    And as for believing Mark Carney! I think those days are history. Next, you will be suggesting the same regarding Opinion Polls.

  6. refracktion-I will do you the courtesy of believing you can understand the English language. Read my post and it is quite understandable. We have had this discussion before. You obviously have a narrative you want to create. That is perfectly understandable, but have the confidence to do it yourself. Instead of trying to misrepresent what I , and others say, why not make your own arguments?

    If you want to debate a totally different subject, then let me know. Meanwhile, I suspect you will keep sowing your seeds about “big oil”, “speculators”, “capitalists” etc. in an attempt to encourage others. Well, that is working pretty well (not), but as long as “everyone knows who I am” you will probably be quite content.

    • Martin – no need to sow seeds – I’m just stating the facts as I see them, and i frequently DO put forward my own arguments as well as questioning yours.. You may of course not agree, but you have so far (to me at any rate) been very unconvincing.

  7. “Unlike most of its competitors, which had cited rising wholesale prices for their increases, E.ON said it had seen a drop in wholesale costs. Instead it blamed the increase on government schemes such as renewable energy subsidies, which are levied on household energy bills. The German energy firm said the cost of various social and environmental programmes had risen by about 36% on the year before.”

    Today’s EON price hike…… “About 2.5 million E.ON customers will pay an extra £97 a year on energy bills in what consumer groups have branded a “monstrous” and “crippling” blow for householders.”

  8. I fear that this Govt. with it’s often ‘behind closed doors ‘ negotiating and deals will encourage lawlessness we have not seen since the failed introduction of the ‘POLL TAX’

    • A poll tax would have been fair. Why should a household of 10 people pay the same tax as a household of 2? They use 5 times the amount of services!
      It was just a bandwagon for the [edited by moderator] left to jump on, just as fracking is now. A cause without common sense.

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