It’s time to escalate direct action to protect the climate, say freed anti-fracking protesters

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The three men (l-r), Rich Loizou, Richard Roberts and Simon Roscoe Blevins, with partners outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road, 18 October 2018. Photo: Refracktion.com

The three anti-fracking campaigners released from jail by the Court of Appeal yesterday said they would continue to take direct action against fossil fuels until they saw change.

Returning to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site today, Richard Roberts, Rich Loizou and Simon Roscoe Blevins said it was time to take a stand against fossil fuels for the sake of the climate.

Soil scientist Simon Roscoe Blevins, 26, told journalists and supporters:

“Lancashire said no to fracking and that was overturned. And that’s why people are taking direct action. Not that we want to, not that we haven’t got better things to do but because we have to. And we have to do it now.”

The three men were jailed on 26 September 2018 for 15 and 16 months after being found guilty of public nuisance. They had climbed onto the cabs of lorries to slow down deliveries to the Preston New Road fracking site. The protest, in July 2017, lasted a total of 99 hours.

The men spent three weeks in prison before yesterday’s hearing, at which the Lord Chief Justice said the jail sentences were “manifestly excessive”. Their prison terms were replaced with two-year conditional discharges. (DrillOrDrop report)

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Rich Loizou and Richard Roberts (with microphone), outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road, 18 October 2018. Photo: Refracktion.com

Piano restorer Richard Roberts, 36, said it was time to step up the action on climate change:

“It’s not something you do on a whim. It’s because we had no other option. We learned at school in the 1990s in GCSE Geography the impact of burning fossil fuels on the world and on future generations.

“It’s been so frustrating to get to 2018 and we still don’t see concerted action from government on this. We’ve pursued democratic means, we’ve done petitions, for decades. That’s been done, and now it’s appropriate that we escalate and that we do take direct action to stop fossil fuel industries and we will continue to take action until we see change.”

He said the three had been reminded while in prison of the impacts of climate change on people across the world, through floods, famine and drought.

“That’s made us realise that what we’re going through can be tough but we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to take a stand, we’ve got to escalate, we’ve got to take this really seriously.

“Let’s see the 2020s as a serious concerted change from government, from communities, towards a sustainable future, where we don’t need the gas because we’ve insulated our homes properly and we’ve scaled up renewable energy.”

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Rich Loizou outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 18 October 2018. Photo: Refracktion.com

Teacher Rich Loizou, 31, said the three had been helped while in prison by letters and messages of support. A rally in Preston on Saturday 6 October attracted about 500 people. He said:

“To hear there was music and demonstrations. From our cell, we could hear the drumming, we could hear the cheering. It really kept our spirits up.”

The three are thought to be the first people sent to prison in the UK for taking part in anti-fracking protests. They were also described in court yesterday as the first people sent to prison as punishment for taking part in an environmental protest since the mass trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932.

Simon Roscoe Blevins said:

“Everyone [in jail] thought it was ridiculous that we were sent to prison, which it is, because it’s the 21st century, it’s Britain, we shouldn’t be doing this. People shouldn’t be sent to prison for protest, especially when it’s necessary.”

The men’s legal team is now considering an appeal against their convictions. A complaint is being investigated by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office into the judge at their trial and sentencing. His sister had publicly supported Cuadrilla’s shale gas plans in Lancashire and shale gas in general.

The three men are expected to take part in a National Climate Crisis Rally at Preston New Road on Saturday 20 October 2018.

32 replies »

    • Really Tattoo? How do these comments change the original Judge’s potential conflict of interest relating to his close family members business interests and political representations?

  1. Here we go again Martin. In this country people are allowed to make comments (at least for the time being). They have not broken any laws. They are merely stating that this is unfinished business. On the other hand, the original trial judge may have serious questions to answer, which may or may not affect his future. The two issues are totally separate. One involves court procedures and the other is just banter. Chill out.

  2. Let’s bag tag n ship these three off to China/US etc to carry on with their quest of helping the planet, I’ll start the crowdfund, means everyone is happy.
    A reduction in CO2, CH4 output from the UK won’t put a dent in the worldwide figures and if they believe the big boys will be influenced by the approach of follow by example I’m afraid they’re kidding themselves.
    Wonder if Viv designed their black and white outfits, remind anyone of a certain flag? Been seeing this colour scheme pop up with the likes of antifa, bizarre.
    Anyway good luck on falling foul of any injunction! A piece of advice, behave yourselves from now on and don’t be the cause of any main road closures.

    • Here’s some advice for you GBK – avoid straying into the realms of unnecessary and frankly ridiculous alt right comments on here please.

      • Crem, please enlighten me as to what are ridiculous comments? You’ll soon realise my comments are all based on living in the real world and doing business in places you clearly haven’t even visited.
        Ok so you might be upset about my offer of sending the green crusaders abroad but if you know anything about the world outside your shire then you’ll also have to agree that the UK is no where near top dog for pollution.
        As for my other comments, they are based on facts and views where as yours are based on views and mythical stories of utopia.
        Like I’ve said before you are probably a nice enough chap, over or around 60 in age? And I’d suggest have lived a rather sheltered life.
        Luckily you represent a minority hence why on election day you are bottom of the pile if a greenie and rightfully second if believe in fairytales.

        • What a melt you are GBK, you make a number of assumptions about me in your post all of which are wrong. But that’s fine if it would eases your inadequacies to somehow believe you have experienced more in life than others and that makes your redneck totalitarian views in anyway valid. That’s OK.

          But let’s have a run through your silly post and pick out the chaff from the chaff

          “Let’s bag, tag n ship these 3 off to ….”- so what you are talking about is rendition of British nationals for no more than being a public nuisance. That’s a little bit on the facist side of law enforcement and whilst not unheard of in the U.K. in relation to terrorists it’s not normally used for minor offence well not since the days of shipping people to the colonies.

          Let’s take a look at another ridiculous statement-“Wonder if Viv designed their black and white outfits, remind anyone of a certain flag? “

          So let’s pick the bones out of this little gem- clearly some feeble attempt to link Vivienne Westwood, the three protesters and it would appear anyone who might combine the colours black and white with flag of Islamic State/Daesh or whatever name they are going by nowadays (better tell Lancs Police the uniforms are a bit close to the bone) this is pretty weak sauce and very typical of those with right of centre views to try and link their perceived enemies together regardless of how tenuous or ridiculous that link might be

          And finally just a word quote “Antifa” – it’s not in gerneral usage in normal U.K.
          society, it is more commonly used in the States but here it is out of the far right phraseology handbook. Which one of these are you GBK?

          [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

    • They haven’t broken any laws … this time…. Don’t forget that these men are convicted criminals. You may want to think twice before following their advice.

  3. “Even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted that fracking “has increased and diversified the gas supply and allowed for a more extensive switching of power and heat production from coal to gas; this is an important reason for a reduction of GHG emissions in the United States….For what it’s worth, even as fracking has expanded in the past decade, methane emissions have plummeted.”


  4. There is “evidence” on both sides, I suppose what I rely on is the fact that the USA has significantly reduced CO2 emissions in the last ten years by replacing coal with a combination of fracked natural gas & renewables in electricity generation. If you think petty demonstrations in the U.K. will have any impact while there are a billion people in China and another billion in India waiting their turn for economic success, with resultant massive increases in energy use, then you are not thinking rationally.

    In the meantime, until someone can tell me how we generate the 35gw of electricity we need on the average day from renewables when the sun doesn’t shine & the wind doesn’t blow then I’ll carry on supporting fracking. Ultimately energy policy needs to be a balance between the four factors, environmental safety, cost (avoiding fuel poverty), reliability, and security of source. In my view, until battery technology matures, a combination of natural gas from the billion year old compost heap we call shale rock, and renewables is the way forward.

    • There is a common misconception to the PR spin that if you can’t have fracked gas, you can’t have any gas; it’s a psychology trip and puts the opposers to fracking on the defensive foot. The purpose of this strategy is not to stop the escalation of climate change but purely to make money.

      So here’s your reality for 10:

      If we burn more than 40% of the current conventional oil and gas reserves – we’re fu**ed!

      When we replaced coal with renewables and continue with conventional gas, we have only put off the problem temporarily. {less than 12 years for loss of essential species, mass migration, food shortages and resulting conflict}

      If we waste conventional gas to power our electricity it will run out or destroy the planet.

      Now the technology is here to generate using less polluting renewables it must be utilized, but for this to happen we need the political will.

      Shale gas is as polluting as coal. It cannot and will not be a replacement for conventional gas.

      So, now we have that straight, it;s time to stop tongue wagging, blagging and diverting and come up with a way, quickly, of reducing electricity waste, maximising renewables and minimising the use of conventional gas.

      • Sher yet again trying to simply something with no real answers…

        You don’t help yourself by your statement that shale gas is as polluting as coal??? It is not…

        Shale Gas will reduce our CO2 emissions by pushing out coal and all piped and LNG Gas the U.K receives

        The problem is because we are now so heavily reliant on imports of Gas the U.K will suffer with the high price of Gas as China and the Far East are now using more and more Gas to turn away from Coal

        The U.K Government will be able to control and manage energy price caps if we develop U.K Shale Gas

        If as you suggest we turned away from fossil fuels at this stage in our energy evolution the financial cost and huge development of our green belts to facilitate wind turbines and solar panels is a physical impossibility to supply the energy the U.K needs. Not to mention the £Billions it would cost everybody to switch to air source heat pumps and new electric cookers.

        So the picture you want is the U.K covered and ringed with wind turbines and solar panels? They will have to supply the whole of the U.K with electricity? Moving forward electric vehicles in the coming years too? What is your answer when they are not producing electricity?

        Renewables are an intermittent source of electricity and will always need base load electricity to balance the supply/demand equation. Nuclear is too expensive and not flexible enough to articulate its output to rise and fall sharply when needed. Gas CCGT can quickly rise and fall when needed.

        Gas and intermittent renewables are the answer…

        • “Shale Gas will reduce our CO2 emissions by pushing out coal and all piped and LNG Gas the U.K receives”

          But Kisheny,surely you are intelligent enough to realise that the climate crisis is not a matter of our emissions or theirs. It is a global issue. UK Shale Gas can only be better than imported LNG if the displaced gas is not burned elsewhere.

          Consider emissions where:

          A (imported LNG emissions) = B (domestic shale emissions) x 115%

          A > B


          A+B > A

          There is no realistic scenario where B doesn’t imply the existence of A as well.

          How ARE you planning on guaranteeing that that displaced LNG doesn’t get burned?

          • I am counting on the LNG we do not use gets burned somewhere else. ie Germany or China to stop these Countries burning huge amounts of coal…

        • And yet it is so clear that this is only about you and your job, Kishy….

          ‘Gas and intermittent renewables are the answer…’ involved in both its seems from your posts; shale development would surely mean you could work from home?

          No, Kisheny; you cannot put yourself before billions of others.

          • I thought Kisheny also installs offshore wind turbines?

            Global gas demand is increasing; displaced imported natural gas will get burned as will increased global production of natural gas.

            • Global Gas demand is increasing because Countries like Germany and China are turning away from Coal at last and switching to Gas which will lower their CO2 Emissions.

              The result of this will be higher prices for Gas globally.

              The U.K is importing more and more Gas year on year and our energy bills will increase. Bad for the consumer and extremely bad for business.

              If we can develop our own Gas it will allow the Government to fix energy caps for all U.K consumers as promised.

              If we went down the Corbyn Labour route it would 100% result in higher energy bills as subsidies for intermittent renewables bite and no matter what scenario would still rely on importing Gas at spot prices. As it is well documented Gas production from Norway and Holland is on the decline and there is now talk of more Russian Gas flowing into the European network, never mind Nord Stream 2 there is plans for Nord Stream3!!!


          • I have an answer to reduce the U.K CO2 emissions, which is:

            Gas plus intermittent renewables

            Self sufficient for decades to come…

            You don’t have an answer…

            As for putting ones self before others. At this time of writing most of the nasty cadmium from your solar panels will have been washed out and entered our water system, thanks; and what is your plan to environmentally dispose of said panels at their end of life?

            Where will you put all those nasty chemicals?

            Let’s be honest you don’t have an answer to that either do you?


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