A 73-year-old woman joined her son and granddaughter in a blockade of Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool this morning.
Gillian Kelly, her son Sebastian (48) and granddaughter, Megan (19) locked their arms into boxes labelled Families against Fracking, outside the gates at the site off Preston New Road.
Another member of the family, Paul Martyn (61), also took part in the protest.
Gillian Kelly said:
“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I can’t sit idly and watch the place I was born and raised be poisoned and polluted by fracking.
“I feel now I’ve got to make a stand. This will affect my whole family and their futures; my sons, my grandchildren – and that’s why we’re taking action together as a family today.”
The lock-on followed a silent demonstration by more than 100 women seeking an end to what they regard as increasingly violent tactics by police and security guards at the site.
Lancashire Police said last week they were investigating a complaint that a security guard had assaulted a protester. Also last week, the Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, expressed concern to the National Police Chiefs Council about the impact of policing on the right to freedom of assembly (DrillOrDrop report and link to Keith Taylor’s letter). Earlier in the protests, officers had been accused of disproportionate and aggressive tactics (DrillOrDrop report).
Since Monday, officers from other parts of the UK have been policing the protests, alongside the Lancashire force. The site is also being policed 24-hours a day.
Cuadrilla has consistently said the protests have not affected its schedule. But drilling has yet to get underway, despite being timetabled for the second quarter of the year, and fracking has apparently slipped from the autumn to the end of the year.
Today’s protests were part of a Rolling Resistance month of action, organised by local anti-fracking groups and the national network, Reclaim the Power. The organisers said this was the eighth working day to be disrupted.
Police said at 11.45am they had closed Preston New Road between Whitehills and Fox Lane. The Fylde Police Facebook page said this was :
“due to campaigners conducting speeches and lock ons in the carriageway”.
The pro-fracking group, Lancashire for Shale said today on Twitter:
“Re-routing of Emergency Services due to the closure of A583 is unacceptable on a regular basis. Protesters point has been made, now MOVE ON!!
“ENOUGH is ENOUGH” say both local residents and business.National activists asked to leave the #Fuylde as well as stronger court sentences”
“Police resources once again taken up by the illegal activities of national activists. It is #LANCASHIRE TAXPAYERS who are bearing the cost”
- Earlier this morning baillifs evicted a roadside camp outside the Preston New Road site.
More details of protests at DrillOrDrop’s Protest Update