A march led by women tomorrow (Tuesday 3 April) marks the beginning of a three-month campaign against fracking.
Wearing Suffragette sashes, the marchers will highlight what they believe are the threats from the shale gas industry to reproductive and female health.
The campaign, called United Resistance, coincides with the period that Cuadrilla had estimated it could begin fracking at its Preston New Road shale gas site, near Blackpool. [It announced on 3/4/2018 that fracking was scheduled for July-September 2018.]
This is likely to be the first place in the UK to see high volume hydraulic fracturing since 2011.
Tomorrow’s march to the site will be led by the groups Lancashire Nanas and Women Against Fracking.
Called the 100 Women March, the event commemorates the fight for equal rights culminating in votes for some women 100 years ago.
The organisers said they were focussing on “other rights that become relevant today”.
They cited the right of women to:
“protect themselves and their children from the ill-effects of polluting industries, the right to protect reproductive health and the right to be heard and listened to in the process of government approving plans seen as detrimental to health.”
The organisers said:
“Peer-reviewed studies show that expectant mothers who live near active fracking wells have an increased risk of giving birth prematurely and for having high-risk pregnancies as well as increases in childhood illnesses. Studies also show a link between increased cases of breast cancer and proximity to fracking wells; the women plan to leave behind bras at the fracking site in order to draw attention to this aspect of opposition to fracking.”
United Resistance will take a different theme each week, ranging from faith, politics, art, music, and trades unionism, the organisers said.
The first week will continue to focus on women with the weekly Call for Calm on Wednesday 4 April. This silent gathering outside Preston New Road has continued for the past 35 weeks that Cuadrilla has operated at the site, the organisers said. It will be followed by a Yarn-On action, which involves knitting baskets at the entrance gates to the fracking site.
Thursday 5 April’s action, Toxic Thursday, will highlight what the organisers said were the “inadequacies seen in the county’s Local Plan for dealing with toxic spills that occur at fracking sites”. Campaigners are expected to wear white overalls and face masks. The event, the organisers said, will include information and demonstrations of the types of materials likely to be encountered during a fracking operation and how regulators and emergency responders would deal with the industry in a densely populated and busy area.
The final day of Women’s Week will end with an event called Funeral Friday. Participants will place dolls at the Preston New Road site to represent infant health issues and miscarriages reported by midwives in Utah working with families living near active fracking sites. The participants will hold a funeral service followed by a wake, the organisers said.
Week 2: 9-13 April Political Colours
Week 3: 16-20 April North West Week
Week 4: 23-27 April No Faith in Fracking
Week 5: 30 April – 4 May Art And Music Against Fracking
Week 6: 7-11 May Save Our Land
Week 7: 14-18 May Uniting the Roses
Week 8: 21-25 May Local Camps and Health
Week 9: 28 May-1 June International
Week 10: 4-8 June Unions
Week 11: 11-15 June Green Party
Week 12: 18-22 June Preston New Road
Week 13: 25-29 June Reclaim the Power + Finale Week
Updated 3/4/2018 with Cuadrilla’s latest estimate of when fracking will begin.