Women in boat protest at Lancs shale site over fracking impact on climate change

pnr 170829 FrackyMcFrackface (003)

Three protesters with county councillor, Gina Dowding (2nd right)

Three women from Lancaster locked themselves to a boat outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site to protest about extraction of fossil fuels.

The group of Green Party members arrived at the Preston New Road site near Blackpool with the boat called Fracky McFrackFace. It was painted with slogans including “Harness the wind, waves and sun”.

Caroline Jackson, a Lancaster City Councillor and a retired headteacher, said the protest aimed to raise awareness of what could be the impact of fracking on climate change.

“We have brought a boat to the fracking site to highlight the fact that fracking will make climate change worse by emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Fracking will therefore contribute to rising sea levels. Around half a billion people around the world are at risk from rising sea levels.”

Another of the group, Emily Heath, a university lecturer in Earth Sciences at Lancaster University, said:

“Continuing to develop new sources of fossil fuels is utter madness. We have abundant renewable energy all around us, and yet the Government is hell-bent on undermining the renewable energy industry, because they have vested interests in the fossil fuel industry and seem to be incapable of thinking beyond the short term.”

Mollie Foxall, a retired NHS manager, said:

“I am taking direct action because the Government has left me no choice.  They overturned the local democratic decision to not allow fracking in this area. We are calling on the Government to put people’s lives ahead of corporate profits, and stop backing fracking.”

They were supported by Lancashire County Councillor, Gina Dowding, who took part in a direct action protest at the Preston New Road site in July. She said Cuadrilla’s operation was a test case for energy policy across the country.

She said the country had to make the connection between fossil fuels and climate change.

“We need to say really clearly to the government please invest in our future and a sustainable renewable energy policy.”

A spokesperson  for Lancashire Police said:

“Emily Heath, 45, of Meadow Street, Lancaster, Mollie Foxall, 71, of Aldcliffe Hall Drive, Lancaster and Caroline Jackson, 63, of Park Road, Lancaster, were charged with wilful obstruction of a highway. They have been bailed to appear at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on September 25.”

29/8  Last quote corrected to read “We need to say really clearly to the government please invest…” rather than “…police invest…”


10 replies »

  1. I hope their message gets seen, heard and understood.

    BTW is that a typo in the last quote? … government police invest in our future .. (police=please??)

  2. Admire their efforts, but I’m awfully sorry to say that I think events like this might possibly be counter-productive, in that members of the public may see them as gimmicks put on by ” the loony left” (albeit they may well attract media attention). What I’d really like is for more geologists, mining engineers, doctors, economists etc to come up with more research and evidence re damage to the environment, health & the unsustainability of fracking – ie stuff that the public can’t dismiss lightly, or at all.

  3. Yes, Ry, you make some good points, but the problem with your preference is that there are no “experts” available with any experience of UK fracking, simply because it has not happened. Bit like asking for space specialists to comment upon the UK moon landings.

    There have been plenty of people trying to extrapolate data from elsewhere to apply to the UK, but they have done it in a way which has removed all credibility by trying to present it as completely negatively, and, in many cases, have added fabrication to it.

    I find that those who have no opinions for or against fracking are very much of the view “let’s have some small scale tests and see the practicalities, pros and cons.” They had enough of “experts” telling them about doom and gloom during the EU referendum-where, you scratched the surface and found they all had their own agendas and were working on a speculative platform. The public will not be fooled with such strategies.

  4. Agree Martin, been saying for years that you can’t extrapolate from the US experience to UK (as pro-frackers and the industry itself try to do) because of the obvious differences in geology, topography, population density etc. – hence the need for the precautionary principle to prevail, and further research to be done. It does help when respected scientists and academics speak out along those lines, as one did a few days ago (Uni of Aberdeen?? guy whose name I can’t recall).

  5. Thanks for the laugh Ry! I think anyone “respected” has to earn that “respect” in the context they are referencing. They may very well do that, but only via actual testing (practical research) rather than hypotheses (“educated” guessing). Scientists should be used to that-thought that’s why they spend a lot of dosh on laboratories.Your desire to pursue the precautionary principle is a little mean as it will not give them the opportunity to be proven correct, and would simply reduce their ability to earn a crust. Terrible thing this capitalism, bit like life, but the alternatives are a lot worse.
    However, must go and post a letter, totally ignoring the precautionary principle to cross the road to get to the letter box-but I will just follow the Gold Standard Code for road crossing-bit like the Green Cross Code but we have to avoid that terminology now as it implies those of a certain party have little sense of humour!

  6. What I mean Martyn is that the general public will listen far more readily and respectfully to people who have studied for many years in their field, have formal qualifications, and peer-reviewed research/published papers t
    o their name, than people without formal qualifications who they consider “tree-hugging” “lefty loonies” etc Some members of the ‘ordinary’ public may well by now have researched and studied the whole issue of fracking to such a level that they are actually better informed than many scientists – but without the letters after their name and/or professional role to go with their knowledge, the majority of the general public won’t give them the credence they deserve.

  7. Indeed Ry, just a shame that much, probably most, of the research published in this area are NOT peer-reviewed. There are two pretty good examples posted on this site within recent days, but they are not alone by any means.

    There is also the very serious consideration that many of the general public are totally fed up with being told by persons who state they know better, when they don’t, and the public should just follow their expertise. Well, remember the banking crises, remember the two hundred economists signing the letter to the press during the EU Referendum, remember the Polling Companies being wrong on nearly every major UK poll?

    I feel the UK public are as a whole pretty discerning, but their willingness to believe “experts” is jaundiced, and many want to observe for themselves.

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