Picture post: Hundreds march through Preston in support of jailed anti-fracking protesters

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Anti-fracking campaigners protest through Preston about the jailing of three men last week. Photo: Eddie Thornton, 6 October 2018

Several hundred people demonstrated outside Preston Prison in support of three men who last week became the first people in the UK to be jailed for taking part in an anti-fracking protest.

Campaigners shouted “Free the Three” as they marched through the city centre to the prison where the men are being held.

Richard Roberts and Simon Roscoe Blevins were jailed for 16 months and Rich Loizou for 15 months by a judge at Preston Crown Court. They had been convicted of causing a public nuisance after taking part in a 99-hour lorry surfing protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool in July 2017.

Julian Brock, the fourth man who took part in the protest, was given a one-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty.

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Anti-fracking campaigners protest through Preston about the jailing of three men last week. Photo: Eddie Thornton, 6 October 2018

The organisers of the today’s event estimated about 500 people took part.

Platon Loizou, Rich Loizou’s father, who joined the demonstration, said:

“I’m amazed that so many people have come from so far just to show their support. These boys went on a demonstration, there was no violence, there was no damage and they ended up getting a 15 and 16-month sentence. It is unbelievable.”

Cllr Miranda Cox, of Kirkham Town Council, said:

“We feel that the sentencing was quite unfair, unjust, very unprecedented and so this is a turning point for the campaign against fracking in Lancashire and across the country.”

Anti-fracking campaigner, Leigh Coghill, said:

“It is an outrage and a scandal that three men are currently sat behind bars for the supposed crime of public nuisance for sitting quietly on top of a lorry.

“This is an emergency: fracking is imminent, our opposition has been broad and unrelenting, and individuals such as the frack-free four decided to take civil disobedience because democracy has been exhausted. Their imprisonment is inappropriate, not in the public interest, and an appeal is ongoing.”

Yesterday, lawyers for the three men in prison confirmed they would be appealing against the sentences (DrillOrDrop report). Also yesterday, the number of signatures on an open letter calling for a review of the sentences reached more than 1,000 (DrillOrDrop report).



Categories: Opposition

69 replies »

  1. Several hundred from across the country? Doesn’t seem that many when you consider several thousand turned out to see some other puppets just 30 or so miles down the road.

  2. If these people said they were going to throw away their plastic signs, jackets, mobile phones, strip out their gas central heating, only use electricity 3 days a week and remove their gas hobs and swap their cars for push bikes I might take them seriously…

    Until then they are just hypocritical Putin puppets…

    • This is a tired argument frequently used by supporters of fracking that has no merit whatsoever. Being opposed to fracking does not mean you are a hypocrite because you may use some plastic items, you travel on public or private transport that may be powered by fossil fuels, or your home may be heated in part or fully by fossil fuels. It means you oppose fracking. That you care about the planet and climate because you do not want further, new sources of fossil fuels being extracted as this ultimately will lead to more fossil fuels being burned. And you want our country to uphold the Paris Accord by transitioning to a carbon zero economy as soon as possible. If we never frack in the U.K. there is still more hydrocarbons available in the world right now than we can afford to burn if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.
      Similarly those opposed to fracking do not have control over where pension companies invest. Which I’m sure you must know, making such comments even more vacuous.
      The government has had to admit today, after being taken to court three times, that they will not be able to lower toxic air pollution levels to the lawful permitted level for another 10 years! This is air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels that kills thousands of people a year and that causes premature death. Perhaps you should be questioning the government on their dreadful track record rather than attacking those fighting to help improve our air, our environment and to keeping global temperature increase below 2C.

      • Extracting shale Gas will lower CO2 emissions. We all live on one planet. If you think importing Gas from foreign shores creating much larger CO2 emissions is not attributed to our Countries quota your argument is flawed.

        America has lowered its CO2 Emissions by extracting shale Gas.

        Lancashire County Council has control over pension investments…

        As for your statement that the protesters may use plastic products and may use fossil fuels. There is no may about it. Laughable statements like that even you don’t believe…

        The inevitable rise of electric cars and CNG trucks powered by Gas CCGT for electricity will bring about the cleanest air in the U.K since horse and carts…

        The huge demand on electricity will not be supplied by intermittent renewables.

        The normality in which the people of the U.K accept that we import more than half the Gas we consume is unbelievable. Do people not realise how dangerous this situation is, and it is getting worse year on year. Being beholden to our enemy Russia and Countries with terrible human rights records Qatar increasingly is not the future…

          • ‘Lancashire County Council has control over pension investments…’ – no is doesn’t, it is run by investment managers.

            ‘ Being beholden to our enemy Russia and Countries with terrible human rights records Qatar increasingly is not the future…’ – no one is beholden to the bogey man, we trade with them….how else would we sell our war machines; got to kick up a fear of conflict that does not exist otherwise our only industry left is up the creek without a rifle barrel.

            Wake up Kishy, the world is racing by…

  3. I wonder if they walked past Lancashire County Council Hall on their walk in Preston

    Lancashire County Council have invested Hundreds of £Millions in Fracking Operations… But then again, that’s not in their back yard so not relevant???

  4. “there was no damage” What about the damage to the economy, to the lives of the lorry drivers who were surfed? Damage can be emotial and financial as well as physical.

    [Edited by moderator]

  5. I have been observing campaigns against many important technologies that we vitally need & that I have been involved in for decades. From how we deal with nuclear waste & put it safely underground, to how we can decarbonise fossil fuels and use the subsurface to trap carbon; and now apply technology that can produce gas, from deep underground, from shale.Ironically in a part of the UK that has a high density of domestic gas meters, vital for heating homes. As usual – an emotive slogan, which is inaccurate, is disseminated in order for the campaigners to run their own inaccurate narrative. Looking at the images on this pos threadt is the narrative of making those, quite rightly found guilty of breaking the law, in our democracy, as “political prisoners”. Our courts are not party political. Our laws ensure the democratic process is protected. A relevant example is the court order now issued in which Cuadrilla has to suspend fracking until there is a judgement about an emergency evacuation plan. I see the campaigners celebrate that. So the courts are wrong if the campaigners do not get the answer they want, but right when the courts make a decision that the campaigners agree with. This is an inconsistent by the campaigners, to the law, which vitally underpins our democracy. So what do you want? Law underpinned by our Parliamentary democracy, or anarchy?

    • ‘technologies that we vitally need’

      “The overall demand for gas including heating gradually decreases and is replaced by renewables”.

      “Natural gas use is projected to fall by 24% between 2016 and 2035. Currently, the amount of natural gas used for electricity generation approximately equals that used for cooking and heating in households. However, the amount of gas used for electricity generation is projected to decrease by 70% whereas the amount used by households is projected to increase by around 17% over this period”.

      “By 2035 renewables will be producing 180 TWh of electric generation whereas gas will only be producing 40 TWh”.

      “After 2025 our import requirements will be dropping”

      Click to access Updated_energy_and_emissions_projections_2016.pdf

      So according to our Government the ‘technologies that we vitally need’ would be renewables as they are going to replace gas.

      Funny to hear Mr Egan mention Russian gas recently. I suppose they have nothing left to offer so might as well try and misinform the public.

      Have to say that is’t really working out to well for them.

      G.23 The UK does not import natural gas and LNG from Russia. The physical origins of the gas through the pipelines are not available. It is possible that a very small amount of gas from Russia finds its way across continental Europe to the UK, but given the gas pipeline infrastructure it is believed that most of the gas from the Netherlands is sourced from the Dutch sector of the North Sea, and that most of the gas from Belgium is sourced from Norway via Zeepipe (which terminates at Zeebrugge).

      Thus any UK gas sourced from Russia is negligible.

      Click to access DUKES_2017_Annexes_E___J_and_long-term_trends.pdf

      • Wow John, literally WOW…

        The U.K gets Gas from Russia, how many times do you need telling. We get Ruusian Gas from Yamal into Milford Haven

        We get Russian Gas into the European network to the U.K. The Dutch Groningen field is in sharp decline which will be replaced by Russian Gas. A new pipeline Nord Stream 2 will supply Russian Gas direct to Germany and into the European Network…

        How can you write such BS???

    • I disagree, we don’t need a new era of fossil fuel we need cutting edge tidal, many thousands of
      local turbines where there once were water mills, innovative energy storage etc etc.
      [Edited by moderator]

      • Dorkinian. Your sentiment about renewables is admirable. I have worked on tidal & geothermal renewables in the UK for over 3 decades. On another thread on this site I posted an in depth depth debate about Norway & its intended trajectory to deliver a domestic low carbon energy economy. Norway has led on renewables – since before WW2 (which is why the Nazis chose Norway to try and develop their, thankfuly failed, programe to devlop nuclear technology via “heavy water”). Norway has a small population, and is not an industrialised country (unlike the UK) and is blessed with lots of wind & hydro-electric. Yet Norway is struggling to go much above its present ability to generate renewable power. I have worked with Norway on energy issues at all levels of Norwegian energy policy & R&D, including presenting in their parliament, for a couple of decades. Listen carefully to this debate broadcast during the present week by the BBC world service (radio) . Question all that is said by all the particpants – & go to the evidence, before coming to your own well considered conclusions. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswkdr

    • Dr Nick , just because you have an opinion on this doesn’t make you right , others have their own opinions but do not have any vested interests in Fracking , they do what they do because the believe in it .

      Dr Nick Riley MBE

      Nick Riley was formerly Team Leader for Unconventional Gas at the British Geological Survey (BGS) and now directs his own company Carboniferous Ltd, based in Nottingham. He became an international expert on Carboniferous rocks during his 33 year career with the BGS. In 2003 he was awarded an MBE for “Services to UK Geoscience”. While at the BGS he was contracted by Cuadrilla Resources Ltd to study the cores taken from the Preese Hall-1 well in Lanacashire, drilled in 2011. This confidential report from 2012 has now been released along with the well logs. The report is typical of the commercial links between the BGS and the oil industry.

      Dr Riley takes a Panglossian view of shale gas development: the technology is environmentally harmless; the UK needs shale gas as a bridge energy on the way to the future of renewable energy; shale gas will reduce the UK’s dependence on imported gas; gas burning can be mitigated by carbon capture and storage (CSS); and the UK’s regulatory regime is far more robust than in the USA.

      I do not share any of these opinions, apart from the use of CSS. In his capacity as a geologist he does not offer any novel or original analysis of UK shale basins.

      The several flawed or misleading statements by Dr Riley concerning shale gas and oil development are discussed in my blog frackland.


  6. We are fortunate in this country that the judiciary is independent as judges are appointed and not elected. We are also fortunate that when merited there is the ability to appeal decisions made by the courts. The custodial sentences the three activists were given, as first time offenders and of previous good character, could be considered severe. This has partly arisen because the CPS charged the activists under the offence of public nuisance. This is not the norm nor is it the norm for custodial sentences to be given for environmental protest where no violence or criminal damage occurred. In my professional opinion this is not simply about anti fracking activists not getting the “answer” they wanted and it is not surprising there is a move to appeal.

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