“Yes to kale, no to shale” rally closes Cuadrilla’s fracking site

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Campaigners from across the UK gathered outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool for a demonstration today in support of food growing and against fracking.

The rally, with music, dancing, food and speeches, closed the Preston New Road site for most of the day.

Fracking opponents came from as far as away as Torquay and Somerset. Many were organised for a long day at the roadside, with picnic chairs, sandwiches, suncream and umbrellas.

The event was co-ordinated by Reclaim the Power, a national group behind this month’s Rolling Resistance, which has seen almost daily lock-on protests at the site.

170721 pnr Reclaim the Power

Photo: Reclaim the Power

Local anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, said:

“We don’t need lock-ons. We just need numbers”.

A police officer on duty at the site said:

“If you get everyone out like this every day we would not stand a chance.”

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Alan Schofield, chair of the Organic Growers Alliance. Photo: Reclaim the Power

Alan Schofield, a Lancashire market gardener and chair of the Organic Growers Alliance told the crowd:

“The most important thing is that those gates are shut.”

“We are the people, together we are strong.”

He said:

“We’re not fighting something that should be allowed. We’re here protecting mother earth.

“We’re protecting by educating and informing people and there is a wonderful thing about knowledge that once you’ve learned something you cannot unlearn it, you cannot un-know it. You, you can ignore it but ignore it at your peril”.

Another speaker, Fi Radford, of Grandparents for a Safe Earth, said:

“I will fight this until my last breath”.

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Photo: Reclaim the Power

The atmosphere at the site was notably more relaxed than on Thursday (20 July 2017), when 10 people were arrested.

Today one carriageway of Preston New Road remained closed during the rally and a contraflow operated. . There were reports of at least one arrest at the start of the day. This post will be updated with information from Lancashire Police.

Reporting for this post was made possible by individual donations to DrillOrDrop. You can donate by clicking here

53 replies »

  1. Interesting item on Radio 4 speaking about mans rods and cones in our eyes are attuned to three colours, red green blue, RGB whereas new world monkeys only have two, red and blue RB, which makes for two way polarisation and a 2d outlook.
    So the more evolved have a particular attunement to the colour green possibly because green means fertility, growth and is a fundamental need in us to be in a green environment, and we are unusually comfortable in a green environment.
    The environmental considerations then become 3d and a whole new dimension opens up. So we actually need green to live in a 3d environment.

    A curious parallel to political avatars and labelling identification isn’t it?

    The higher evolved species have moved away from red and blue polarisation towards the third green dimension, now that explains a great deal why an industrialisation “browning” of a green environment is such a fundamentally offensive event regardless of the additional territorial response to pollution and invasion and theft of a future for our children?
    All those factors represent far more than a simple political disagreement, but indicates a far more fundamental imperative to protect our dwindling green environment from invasive and destructive desecration.
    This is a psychological attack on something very deep in our psychology, which goes far beyond mere sociological and political memes.
    Very interesting isn’t it?

  2. The blatant truth is, thatl in the UK it is farming that has polluted our aquifers. Nitrates & pesticides being foremost.

    • Its always interesting to watch the industry grasping at straw, literally in this case, to divert blame away from their own gross poisonous culpability.
      Its like the little child caught with chocolate all over his face and when asked “did you take the chocolate bar?” The child cries and points to his sister and says “she did it!”
      The industry has had a lot worse than chocolate all over its ugly guilty collective mug for decades, and its still pointing the finger at anyone and everyone else screaming “they did it!” Or “they did it first!” Or “they done worse so we can too, so there!”
      Pathetic, childish, guilty nonsense.
      The whole industry needs to sit on the guilty step for the foreseeable future and seriously examine its own greedy pathetic little behaviour.
      Potty training is imminent guys, and you will sit there untill you learn to dispose of your poisonous waste responsibly.

  3. [Comments removed by moderator: Please don’t repeat post comments – it’s discourteous to others and makes the comment section more difficult to read]

    • John
      Re your comment
      There is a spectrum of opinion against fracking, from those against it due to its footprint alone, through economics, emissions, aquifer issues, waste management and to a dislike of any hydrocarbons (RTP for example).

      At the extreme(far) end I am sure they would be as happy to lock on to tractors in support of the cause as they are in locking on to each other and gates.

      For the rest, not quite happy about agriculture, but a year hope we can sort it out. GM crops maybe and less chemicals. Some are not keen on meat.

      I am quite upbeat about it. The lower Trent valley has not been as green as now. For the amount of trees and hedges you would have to go back to pre Roman times ( as I read, I was not there ). The enclosure of fields brought us hedges ( but not at Laxton ), rich farmers wanted trees and got them. The poor got to use coal for heating instead of burning every tree in sight. Now there is more autumnal planting, no need to wait for the frost to break down the sod. Old railways, built to export coal provide nature trails. Gravel pits are nature reserves.
      We even have large coal power stations standing idle during the summer, and only gracing us with a cloud on cold windless days in winter, autumn or spring. Though that may change if we need more power for electric cars.
      Nodding donkeys nod away, and old oil wells are cleaned up, not that anyone knows they are there.

      Plus, as farmers have polluted aquifers, we have some data on how to repair them and how long it takes for them to self heal?

  4. [Comments removed by moderator: Please don’t repeat-post comments – it’s discourteous to other users and makes comment threads more difficult to follow]

    • There are other effects, other than pollution, to be considered, there are also sociological aftermath to deal with, the safety of our families and friends in a growing o$£g boom.

      This is what we will be seeing as fracking drills deeper and deeper into our country, and this will be the effects on our countryside, our villages, our towns and our cities, are we prepared for this?

      There is a lot of chat about jobs and industry and investment that will accompany fracking, perhaps these two videos will indicate just what we can expect?

      You may think there is nothing wrong with this, but perhaps look at your community now, and think what the environment, the sociological and physically pleasant places, and then consider what may become of that for our families and children to live in.

      Do we really want this here? Did we say yes? or no?

      • Interesting comment early on this one, “, the more jobs you complete the more money you make, the faster you complete ’em, the faster you can get to the next job, lets say, i mean you take your time, if you be safe, you are not….i bet you can cut my pay in half”

        • SafetyCatch
          That’s why I like UK regulations. As one of the guys says in the video, ‘OSHA, does not require us to limit the working hours. I wonder what other differences there are.

          • As far as we can see, there are no enforceable regulations, even those that do actually have direct reference and relevance to this burgeoning industry are consistently breached and ignored.
            Accidents are consistently delayed regarding reporting and only admitted once someone points out the breach.
            Such breaches are common place in the US it seems, and the tiny fines are laughable to the operators, who just pay out and carry on as before.
            It will be no different here, maybe worse, because we are so densely populated, unlike USA.
            What is displayed in North Dakota is a precursor of events soon to become common place here.
            We simply dont have the legal and social and political mechanisms to deal with the reality of importing an industry into out quiet countryside.
            That must be addressed now, as a matter of urgency.

      • SafetyCatch

        It certainly seems as if they have problems in N.Dakota, and parts of the UK have had similar issues with an influx of people from outwith the area. In the past from the Navvies, through the steel towns of Barrow in Furness and Middlesbrough through to concerns in Shirebrook ( large new employer) and Boston ( incomers with a different culture).

        I read that in some counties the population increased from 20,000 to 40,000.

        However I do not think this would happen in the UK

        N Dakota has a population of 740,000, in 70,698 square miles.
        England has a population of 54,000,000 in 50,337 square miles.

        There are more people in either Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire than in the whole of N.Dakota!

        There is also an existing infrastructure of hotels, B&B, caravan sites, pubs, shops, haulage contractors, gas and water companies, drilling companies, fabrication companies and so on.

        The missing for a large number of rigs in action would be competent drilling crew. The U.K. Is not well blessed with onshore drillers ( they are offshore or abroad on good money ), but I am sure some can be coaxed onshore, that others would be trained and some would come from Europe. Those I have met and worked with have been good people.

        There would be no fat tail of hangers on, as a lot of the slack would be taken up by local companies, as the rolling resistance by RTP had shown. Where drilling had taken place, they have not been locking themselves onto gates in the USA or Europe, but locally.

        The rig count driving the issues in N Dakota was on average 180 to 190, with a peak of 2012 in 2012.

        This count would not be repeated in the U.K. Others can say how many they expect.

        Overall the fact that we are densly populated, which causes fracking an issue in one respect, solves an issue in another respect.

        Indeed, we have coped with Channel Tunnel, Crossrail, the Aberdeen ring road ( with caravan camp ), the Scottish Hydro scenes of the lat 40s early 50s ( on U Tube ), the building of the motorways, A1 road improvements and look forwards to HS2, a large nuclear power station and maybe Lots of infrastructure projects on the back of electric cars.

        The UK has also more experience in handling net immigration I suspect.

        So, in this case, as above and given the % increase in the local population due to fracking ( negligible ), I do not think this issue will appear in Lancashire, Derbyshire, the outskirts of Sheffield or Nottinghamshire.

        • Interesting comment, perhaps a degree of optimism but that is to be expected. I will eschew the offered pair of rose tinted FG’s and look a bit deeper into some of the harsher realities revealed by those North Dakota reports.
          OK, population density and infrastructure: Firstly our country is all ready densely populated, the available infrastructure regarding accommodation is all ready under pressure, housing is limited and too expensive for young people who are now either remaining at home or working away or abroad.
          Abroad now has additional knock on effects from the ongoing brexit fall out. The videos state that as wealth from fracking enters the locality, accommodation and rental costs rise to meet increased demand from potentially wealthy crews. That has a knock on effect, unscrupulous rentals will take over, the old and the young will be alienated, blocks of flats and house conversions will be sold and bought out and transformed into crew quarters, the old will become further alienated and the young will either be forced to move away from their own area to elsewhere or try to find jobs in the industry. Social upheaval and displacement will rapidly become commonplace. The past influx of work for major projects has been what you might call conventional engineering operations, what will occur from fracking is an unconventional and highly dangerous industry that requires a much “tougher” type of person to withstand. Low level industry and farming do not even begin to match the sort of pressure and physical and mental resilience required by the o£&g industry.
          The influx of work hard and play hard professional and not so professional workers to the area, will inevitably attract an influx of exploiting camp followers, criminals, prostitution, unscrupulous operators of all descriptions.
          So it is not just the crews which will influx into the areas.
          Then you could perhaps consider drugs and alcohol misuse and abuse, an atmosphere of readily available “entertainment” and the inevitable increase in crime drug dealers, drunken driving and theft, violence and social chaos.
          Then perhaps consider a presently safe environment, where families and children can walk safely day or night, and then the influx brings with the inevitable concomitant complications of alcohol and drugs, crime and unsavoury individuals,, and you begin to see situations similar to Germany, Sweden and Holland and France, where, all though that is by influx by other means, there are now many “no go” areas that not even armed police will enter. That is certainly a worst case scenario, the situation in North Dakota is a more accurate one, as are other oil town boom locations across the world.
          So perhaps, we should not be preparing for a best case scenario, thereby burying our heads in the shale and doing nothing, but what we must start right now, is to prepare for a worst case scenario and sincerely hope it does not achieve those worst case scenario proportions.

          • SafetyCatch
            Thanks for the reply.

            The description of the dystopian future sounds like my mother in laws description of Shirebrook a couple of years ago. Likewise Boston. One of the reasons so many people in the East Midlands voted for Brexit.
            The good news is that Shirebrook is getting on a lot better, but issues such as lack of accommodation remain, with houses being split into rooms no old hotels looking like barracks. However there is a fair amount of building going on there. So it’s on the up we hope.

            Re the work hard, play hard frackers, they may be wary of working in ex mining / steel communities who were and are capable of working and playing hard. The problem is the lack of hard jobs since the pit closures.

            But actually I do not recognise them as such. Do not be swayed by UTube. Drilling and producing hydrocarbons is a more complex job than coal mining. The workers are not a bunch of louts, just honest guys out to make a living, and those involved will be there for the higher wages and because they are competent. Most of them will be living in the U.K.( or flying in from where they live across the globe ), will have families and hopes and aspirations similar to you and me. And if on 12/12, will not be playing hard as they will be asleep, nor drinking hard as ( one to check I admit ) most drilling companies have zero tolerance on drugs and alcohol.

            The other work such as groundworks, craneage, etc etc ( the civils) will be done by local companies as is haulage in the main. There is no need to import a fat tail of ancillary workers.

            In addition, there will not be that many of them.

            Miners make a hole in the ground and then go down it to brutally rip the mineral out of the ground. O&G people make a hole in the ground and stay on the surface, while the hydrocarbons flow past them. They are the bright ones, I guess, but mining was interesting, but harder work, and more dangerous.

            So, maybe it will be ok, but worth keeping an eye on.

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