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Cuadrilla protest warning as fortnight of action begins against fracking industry

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Lock-on protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 22 May 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

The shale gas company, Cuadrilla, issued a warning today at the start of two weeks of anti-fracking direct action by the national group, Reclaim the Power.

The group said its Break the Chain 2018 campaign was intended to target the fracking industry, as well as companies and politicians who “support and facilitate it”. It is due to end on 27 June with Block Around the Clock, described as a protest of “unprecedented scale and duration” in Lancashire’s seven-year anti-fracking campaign.

Last year, Reclaim the Power organised The Rolling Resistance, a similar campaign against the fracking industry, which claimed to disrupt sites every working day.

This morning, in a statement, Cuadrilla said “anyone planning to follow this direct action” should “bear in mind the recent High Court injunction awarded to us on 1June 2018 by Judge Pelling”. DrillOrDrop report

The judge, sitting in Manchester, issued a temporary injunction which outlawed obstruction of the A583 Preston New Road and the shale gas site entrance. It also prohibited blockades, lorry surfing and slow walking against named suppliers to Cuadrilla.

Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said today:

 “Having brought delay and disruption to thousands of Lancashire commuters last summer Reclaim the Power is now threatening to do the same again this year. Local people and businesses in Lancashire have made it abundantly clear that they do not want these self-publicising activists from Oxford, London and elsewhere blockading and disrupting Lancashire roads and business.

“With this High Court injunction we will not hesitate to protect the rights of our employees, contractors, suppliers and the wider community to go about their lawful business unimpeded.”

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Protest against deliveries to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 8 June 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

Reclaim the Power member, Kate Robertson, said:

“Fracking is a major threat to public health and does not offer meaningful secure jobs like a thriving renewables industry would. Local people have repeatedly rejected it, but are now faced with a double attack: from companies resorting to bullying tactics, and a government now taking further steps to deprive residents of the right to decide whether their community should be fracked

“The fracking industry is on the ropes – plans are behind schedule and the economic case for fracking is getting weaker and weaker. Meanwhile the movement is stronger than ever. We will continue to challenge any individual or organisation facilitating the fracking industry. We have a commitment to the people of Lancashire and won’t rest until fracking is defeated”.

Earlier today, opponents of shale gas operations closed the IGas Tinker Lane site in north Nottinghamshire. The protest, which began before dawn, involved a tripod, two people locking-on and two lorry surfers. (DrillOrDrop report)

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Lorry surfing protest outside the IGas shale gas site at Tinker Lane, north Nottinghamshire. Photo: Jon Mager

Green Party Week

Protests outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road have continued, despite the injunction.

Events this week are expected to include speakers from The Green Party, among them co-leader Jonathan Bartley, peer Jenny Jones, former leader Natalie Bennett, and Sheffield mayor Magid Magid.

Green Party organiser, Allan Todd, told supporters:

“As long as you avoid doing anything to impeded the entrance/exit of Cuadrilla’s vehicles, you are not breaking the injunction by simply being there.

“It is perfectly ok to stand on the other side of the road, with placards, waving to all the drivers who ‘honk’ their support.

“In fact, it’s absolutely important, now more than ever, to do just that!

“Cuadrilla and their Tory enablers in Westminster would be hugely pleased if attendances began to drop. We need to send them – and especially the general public – this very clear message: We are not going to go away!”

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