Anti–fracking campaigners from the East Midlands and South Yorkshire took their message to Westminster today.
A rally, organised by Bolsover Against Fracking, at Parliament Square heard from the town’s MP, Dennis Skinner and Labour’s energy spokesperson, Rebecca Long Bailey.
Local campaigners called for action against the threat of climate change and the operations of shale gas companies.
The rally coincided with the opening day of an appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice brought by Joe Corre and Joe Boyd against the Ineos injunctions on anti-fracking protests.
Extracts from speeches
James Eaden, Chesterfield TUC
“Our struggle is for climate justice, it’s for defending our local communities. We act locally whether we are in Marsh Lane, whether we are in Misson, whether we are in any of the other local areas which are affected by climate catastrophe. We campaign nationally to persuade the politicians here that we don’t want any fracking in our communities.
“But we have to have a global picture of a different world. We need system change if we are going to get rid of climate change. We need to defend our owls in Misson and we need to defend our planet.
“As the kids on the street said, two weeks ago, there is no Planet B. That’s why we have to fight, to defend what we have, to defend our environment and to make sure the frackers do not manage to frack”
David Kesteven, chair Eckington against Fracking
“What’s happening at Marsh Lane with Ineos, the biggest bruisers on the park.”
“The Tory council are on our side and they are fighting it. Ineos have got to get these conditions, they’ve got to get a traffic plan and a noise plan past the committee which are against them. They’ve done absolutely nothing.
“What have we done? We’ve printed 15,000 leaflets and we’ve got them all round the village. We’re getting ready, we’ve got money in the bank. If he [Jim Ratcliffe] is stupid enough to start a ground war with us, we will stop him.
“He is not going to go onto Marsh Lane”
Dennis May, campaigner from Nottinghamshire
“We are going to put Greg Clark and James Brokenshire on notice that we are fed up with having our intelligence and our integrity insulted with a constant stream of imbecilic and patronising crap coming from the likes of Jim Ratcliffe, coming from the likes of Natascha Engel and Francis Egan at Cuadrilla.
“Unfortunately for [the drilling companies], we are capable of our own research, of reaching our own decisions and we can guarantee that their financial prospects will run out long before our resolve, and our dedication to make sure that we see this industry is killed off.”
Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
“Let me be clear. Labour will ban fracking.
We don’t agree that local democracy should be overturned and the local authority’s vote against fracking sites in their area as the voice of the people should be ignored.
We don’t agree that fracking meets anywhere near the obligations which we’ve got as a country to meet our climate change commitments. The evidence is out there. It doesn’t need to be presented in a clearer way than it has over the past few months. If we don’t take radical action in Britain to dramatically increase the amount of renewables that we have in the UK, we’re not going to have a future left to hand over to our children.”
Paul Powlesland, barrister
“As the time grows shorter and shorter for us to deal with catastrophic climate change and stop us bequeathing an un-livable world to our children, so too does the day of reckoning come closer, not only for those industries like fracking that are helping to destroy this planet, but also those professions which are assisting them in doing that.
“I very much count my own profession amongst those and there are far too many people in the [legal] profession who are prepared to take the pieces of silver to facilitate those who are destroying our planet.
“If you’ve got hundreds of billions of pounds at stake and lots of power, and you see ordinary people rising up to stop you destroying our planet, you will use every mechanism you can so you can carry on with your destructive profiteering.
“One way that they have clearly chosen to do that is to go to a court, to go to the high-paid lawyers of London and ask to buy their own law to stop ordinary lawful protest against their destructive activities
“That is what we see in these injunction cases. It is a case of the rich buying their own law.”
Eddie Thornton, campaigner, Yorkshire
“Our government calls me a domestic extremist. I’ve been arrested eight times, and I’ve had my phone confiscated for nine months. I’ve been told I’m on a watch list with Al-Qaeeda and the National Front.
“I’m not part of a violent or banned organisation. I’ve never threatened anyone any harm. My only crime is that I dared to make a stand with my community against the government’s plans to force fracking upon us [at Kirby Misperton].
“Their heavy-handed response to our peaceful movement shows me just how strong we are when we are united and how much they fear that power.”
Sheila Handy, campaigner, Misson
“The Site of Special Scientific Interest [at Misson Carr] is unique. It is the jewel in the crown of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. It is the most money they have ever paid for any site.
” It has been noted that every single species of native owl is on there. That’s really rare. Long-eared owls are endangered in this country. Long eared owls have been nesting and breeding there successfully for 10 years.
“How very dare they think they can put a drill 125 metres from that nesting site? It’s outrageous, it stinks and I think that decision is foul.”
Dennis Skinner, Bolsover MP
“People should be fighting in every constituency against this evil, because, believe me, you shouldn’t wait until it’s happening on your doorstep. Get up now.
“That’s what I say to people, and that’s why in the next election Labour has got to have an anti-fracking policy.
“We all know it’s an evil practice. We all know we wouldn’t want it in our own backyard. Spread the message wherever you go.
“And we have to make sure that at the next election we have Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonald with a policy that says, when we fight the next election Labour will be against fracking. That’s what we’re fighting for.
“We’re going to stop the show.
“Ineos and Cuadrilla, there’s more of us than there are of them. Jim Ratcliffe might have all his money but we have got the policy to bring them to heel.”
Debbie Hodson, multi-faith minister
“Over the past years I have met some amazing people from all walks of life, all ages and all backgrounds, coming together with one common aim: to protect our land, our earth, our water and air.
“We are many people in this movement, each one a cog that turns the anti-fracking machine. We have laughed together, cried together, supporting each other from all over the land.
“Law-abiding citizens, people who have never been in trouble with the law are being turned into outlaws by this government and private army of the oil and gas industry. These people were doing nothing more than protecting their families, their communities and our beloved earth.
“I truly believe that we can bring an end to fracking by raising awareness, by peaceful protest and reminding the politicians that they are here to listen to us, to work for the good of the people. They are elected individuals, elected by the people, for the good of the people, so they ought to be listening to the people.”
Reporting from this event was made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers.