Picture post: Hundreds gather at fracking site for climate rally

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National Climate Rally, near Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road, 20 October 2018. Photo: Refracktion

A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 shouted “Cuadrilla go home” at a climate rally outside the company’s fracking site near Blackpool today.

Anti-fracking and climate change action groups, trades unions and political parties from across the UK took part in a march from Maple Farm along Preston New Road to the site entrance.

They were joined by the three climate protesters who were freed from prison on Wednesday (17 October 2018) by the appeal court.

Richard Roberts, Rich Loizou and Simon Roscoe Blevins, had been  imprisoned last month after being found guilty of causing a public nuisance when they climbing onto lorries delivering to Cuadrilla’s site.

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Richard Roberts at National Climate Rally, near Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road, 20 October 2018. Photo: Rutuply

Piano restorer, Richard Roberts, called for a war-time effort to scale up renewables and insulation. He said:

“We want Britain to be not just frack-free but gas free. It is totally possible.”

He encouraged opponents of fracking  to shut down Cuadrilla’s site, where fracking began on Monday (15 October 2018). He told the crowd:

“You are taking direct action and you are shutting down a fracking site right now. That’s how easy it is.”

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Rich Loizou at National Climate Rally, at Cuadrilla site, Preston New Road, 20 October 2018. Photo: Rutuply

Teacher, Rich Loizou, thanked people for supporting him and fellow protesters when they took part in their action in July 2017. He said:

“I got up on that lorry with no food, no water and no idea frankly.”

He said people had offered blankets, hot food and drinks, enabling him to carry on with his action.  He called for support for local protesters across the country.

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Simon Roscoe Blevins

Simon Roscoe Blevins thanked Lancashire for showing the country how to fight fracking.

The former climate diplomat, John Ashton, said the three freed men “deserved a medal, not a criminal record”:

“I never thought my country would take its finest young people and make political prisoners of them because that’s what you were for three weeks.

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John Ashton. Photo: Rutuply

Mr Ashton said the government and oil and gas industry had thought campaigners would become tired, scared and would go home. He said:

“I bet they thought they’d won. We’ve got news for them. We’re not going any where today, tomorrow or as long as Cuadrilla are in that field.”

He said:

“You cannot fix the climate and frack for shale gas at the same and you have to choose. The people of Lancashire have already chosen to fix the climate.”

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Tim Farron. Photo: Rutuply

The former Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, said he had chosen to come to the rally, rather than the march in London for a people’s vote on leaving the EU. He said:

“Leaving the EU is nothing to the existential threat to humanity of climate change

“The most important reason to oppose fracking at this site is that fossil fuels must stay in the ground.”

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Amelia Womack. Photo: Rutuply

The deputy head of the Green Party, Amelia Womack, said:

“It’s rank hypocrisy that politicians who supported the suffragettes are currently criminalising peaceful protest.

From the draconian use of injunctions to the wrongful imprisonment of three anti-fracking activists, a sustained attack on the right to protest is making it harder and harder for people to stand up for what is right.”

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Estelle Dehon. Photo: Tina Rothery

Lawyer Estelle Dehon, who has represented campaigners opposed to fracking in legal challenges, said:

“I know there have been deep disappointments and there may be more with the law.

“But I firmly believe that the law realises that climate change is an existential threat. There will come a day when the law says no to fossil fuels.”

Lancashire campaigner, Tina Rothery, said however many people were arrested, fined or imprisoned the opponents of Cuadrilla would not go away:

“Not only will we not go, we will keep on inviting all these lovely friends of ours. Get used to us because we will be here until you go.”

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David Kesteven. Photo: Rutuply

David Kesteven, chair of Eckington Against Fracking, said Ineos may have won a public inquiry to secure permission to explore for shale gas at Marsh Lane in Derbyshire.

But he said:

“They are going to have walk through us and they have absolutely no chance.”

80 replies »

  1. And how many will be at Blackpool vs Wimbledon! If you can only get this turnout when you are bussing people in on a Saturday it obviously is not much of a movement. The estimate of a thousand looks a bit high looking at the pictures.

    • Well speaking as somebody who has seen a Backing Fracking “rally” I will not be losing much sleep over your snarky comments.

      I was there. It was amazing. End of.

      BTW the estimate of 1000 was from the police.

    • Daniel [edited by moderator] It doesnt matter how many were there… and I would suggest to u that one thousand looks like a low estimate to me…the principle and morality of the cause remains the same thats why each individual in attendance is there. Do u live near a fracking site or potential fracking site? If so u will have found u property value land value has halved but that means nothing compared to the very real long term risk of serious damage to u own and u family and friends health or is it that u just dont give a fig because u have shares in Cuadrilla?

      • Colin, nobody pays me anything, wish they did but they don’t. It was 3246 at Bloomfield Rd today and that was with the current boycott by Blackpool fans. If the number who turned up wasn’t important then it wouldn’t be in the headline. No I don’t live near a fracking site, I can’t be responsible for geology but twenty years in the oil industry gives me a good understanding of the risks and rubbish that get talked on here. House and land prices halving? Not what you would see with a little research on Rightmove. But if you and your neighbours keep putting up signs about death and destruction it might put people off. Where can I buy shares in Cuadrilla? I can’t find them listed anywhere!

        • You can’t buy shares in Cuadrilla. I would have thought you would be aware of that if you’ve been in the oil and gas industry for 20 years You could try AJ Lucas if you want to throw your money away.

          • Pauline, it was Colin who suggested that I had shares in Cuadrilla. I can see that sarcasm, like fact, is wasted on you! [edited by moderator]

            • I was always told that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit. Rudeness certainly seems to be a trait of pro frackers too.

            • Pauline, if you want to see some people being rude I suggest you watch some of the “live feeds” available on Facebook and see what your “friends” say to the police on duty at PNR.

        • The PNR turnout was really good considering the impromptu callout was only a few days ago! This rally being on the same day over half a million were converging on London, from all over the country, for the People’s Vote, which was planned by people months ago.

      • I see your motivation Colin talking about the financial cost to you in house prices before addressing anything else…

        Bit transparent…

  2. Brilliant rally, great speeches.

    The resistance to this government’s climate policy gets stronger all the time.

  3. Seriously though when attending PNR to help stop fracking, please remember fumes from the on-site generators will be augmented very soon by even more toxic airborne carcegenic toxins from flaring!
    Maybe gathering away from the site entrance and/or wearing protective clothing and masks is the way to go?
    This would also cause problems for the police and security plus not infringe any of the Draconian injunctions currently in place!

  4. I think you need to worry about the diesel fumes from the trucks using the A583 a bit more than anything coming off Cuadrilla’s site.

    • Yeah it’s a good point, all those extra HGV trips to construct the well pad were bad enough and on top of those what about all the tanker loads of surface water that have had to be trucked off site. Most of which were not included in th transport calls submitted at planning stage.

      Lots of additional diesel fumes created by the site even before they frapped up the on site genies.

      • Crembule, yes of course you’re right. Only trucks involved in Cuadrilla’s operation run on diesel, all other trucks run on unicorn droppings and pixie dust!

        • No Daniel they do not run on pixie dust but the major increase in traffic along this stretch of road for the last 18 months can be attributed to one particular site. I’ll give you a guess which one.

            • No way near the same volumes and we the people of Lancashire need more housing, we don’t need more gas. Plenty already accessible on the European Markets, so no need for those additional lorries at PNR or the ones that follow at hundreds of other well sites across the country.

    • We do worry about traffic fumes every day when standing at Preston New Road Daniel!

      But that’s just another price we choose to pay for helping stop your filthy fracking industry!

      The Constabulary however are another matter! They apparently do not have a choice but are just following orders, without protective equipment except stab vests and tasers, to give the impression they are under physical threats from peaceful Environment Protectors!

      I know that police officers return home after duty at Preston New Road with breathing and eye problems and I have reported this to POLFED who basically don’t care

        • Well it could quite easily be ultra low carbon systems such as ASHP or GSHP with vertical boreholes if the Government had the will to change the building regs. Combine these heating systems with houses being built to Passiv-haus standards and we would really see developments fit for the 21st century.

          House buildiers won’t do this until they are forced to and will claim that house buyers don’t want or need it but without Government setting a high bar they will never try. So again the Government acquiescence is the reason for no progress and the status quo remaining.

  5. What is your point Colin? A great number of those there today were not from anywhere near a fracking site! (Including the 3.)

    And as for closing down a fracking site, that is just nonsense. Cuadrilla are fracking-but only to midday as that is all they are authorised to do on a Saturday. I suspect some Saturdays they may not even bother with that if they make good progress the rest of the week.

    No, refracktion, I will not be firing up my diesel to turn up at a protest against fossil fuels. I have more concern for the environment, but the gas boiler will be on tonight. Trust you washed the wheels first.

    Looked a bit like “I’m a celeb-get me out of here” where no one can recognise said “celebs”, and takes ages to work out who the heck they were!

    • Martin why have you got your heating on it’s still well above the normal temps for this time of year. Is your house that poorly insulated?

      Stick a sweater on if you are feeling the chill.

    • Since 65% of the country is licenced for fracking I can assure you a great number of those at PNR today were from areas near to a present or threatened future sites. You should also realise that there are many people who don’t need a selfish reason to care about their fellow man and the environment. This gathering was not only anti fracking but a demonstration against the real risks posed by climate change which were so starkly highlighted only this week, and climate change will affect everyone, everywhere.

    • If Cuadrilla choose to frack outside of people permitted hours, as we witnessed with the first two out of permitted hours convoys, they will simply do it then get it rubber stamped by the Gold Standard Monitors!

      Accordingly we witness and protest 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

      I’m wondering when the flaring will commence or will they just be De-gassing this time, spreading their filthy airborne toxins wherever the wind blows as they did when drilling I believe?

  6. Exhilarating to see huge support for our planet’s future from hundred’s of concerned folk from every quarter of society, babes in arms to great grandparents all delighted to see justice restored for the three protectors wrongfully jailed. Huge thanks to the team who never miss a day at the site and the nursery cafe at Maple Farm.

  7. DYOR crembrule.

    We had a frost this am, and a sharper one forecast for tomorrow. Temperature is starting to drop sharply now after a lovely day-to around 3pm. But, then, it is getting towards the end of October so to be expected.

    I shall tell my neighbour who is around 90 your “advice”, that basically means she would quickly be in agony with her arthritis and then in hospital with pneumonia. Good job our local doctors are a bit more caring and spend a great deal of time advising that heating in the winter is better than costing the NHS a fortune. Because the NHS is not getting the tax income that is being given to the “poor”-Norway, Saudi, USA etc., as it would be against a minority vested interest.

    Just collateral damage to help some feel their twaddle adds up, but life and death to others.

    • Ah yes, the arthritic neighbour story…….
      Nah; T Shirts at PNR today; a great atmosphere, peaceful protest and a lovely family, including the doggies, day. Thank you very much organisers and the police for the well thought out contra-flow..

    • So you heat your house so your arthritic nonagenarian neighbour is warm how very noble of you .

      Sharp frost really! no heating on in my house last night, no need at all and if I understand correctly I live a little bit further North than you. Sounds like an excuse but that said I can see why it might feel cool in your house with all the blustering you do.

    • No sign of frost this morning or last night either here on the lovely Fylde.

      Just typical Indian Summer weather we can be blessed with this time of the year.

      Hopefully this will change into the stormy weather conditions that usually follow resulting in the traditional flooded fields that according to Cuadrilla never occur at Preston New Road!

  8. What an amazing day…
    Easily 1000 there with a clear message to all including the spineless sheep on here. (begins with m)

    • Great to be there today. Legal updates and Unite Union giving us full support. News from groups around the country, all good, and more news of Conservatives opposing permitted development.

      On the other side of the fence an isolated development haemorrhaging investors money and being pummelled by well organised communities.

      I hope Cuadrilla’s security have other jobs in the pipeline.

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