Boat blocks fracking site in climate protest

pnr 190910 XR occupy Cuadrilla site entrance

Extinction Rebellion protest outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road near Blackpool, 10 September 2019. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

Climate campaigners have used a yellow boat to block the entrance of Cuadrilla’s suspended fracking site near Blackpool.

The boat, painted with the words ‘Planet Before Profit’, aimed to draw attention to the global climate crisis, activists from Extinction Rebellion said this morning.

Fracking has been suspended at the site at Preston New Road since 26 August 2019 after operations caused a 2.9ML earth tremor which was felt across the area.

The site operator, Cuadrilla, has been visiting local homes where damage has been reported. The industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority, is investigating the series of more than 120 tremors induced in less than a fortnight by fracking at the site.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion said in a statement:

“We are here to highlight the conscious, cynical inaction of the government in response to a climate and ecological emergency.

“We will stand with those communities which have tenaciously and peacefully resisted this for years, they have sought to defend against the threat fracking poses to their air and water, their health, their land, including their homes, as demonstrated by the recent tremors.”

The statement said the world must move away from a system dependent on fossil fuels.

 “The constant drive of profit and accumulation for a tiny fraction of humanity has already impoverished and exploited billions and severely degraded our environment.”

“Climate change is a burgeoning catastrophe. We know to prevent this, we must leave more than 80% of existing oil, gas and coal reserves in the ground. Yet this government is determined to find and exploit new reserves, supporting the likes of Cuadrilla in their attempt to open up a new gas field spanning the North of England.”

Today’s action could breach an injunction against protests outside Preston New Road, granted to Cuadrilla in July 2018. Last week, three anti-fracking campaigners received suspended sentences  after being in found in contempt of court. They were believed to be the first anti-fracking campaigners in the UK to be brought before the courts for breaching an injunction against protests.

Extinction Rebellion said today’s action was in support of the three campaigners. The statement also threatened further action:

“If the government continues to support fracking, then we will return, en masse, in alliance with each community and group, to clearly say enough is enough.”

“We owe it to future generations to act now”

A resident living near the site said today:

“Today’s action is to highlight the climate emergency that we are now facing. We need an urgent government response if we are to have any hope of avoiding climate breakdown. Tomorrow or next week may be too late.

“We must acknowledge and accept that the age of fossil fuels is over. We are blessed with enormous renewable resources and we have the technology to harness them. There is no excuse not to do so.

“We know and accept that there may be serious consequences for our actions today but we are very clear that the consequences of our inaction will be far, far worse and probably irreversible.

“We owe it to ourselves, our friends, our neighbours and our communities to act now. And most of all we owe it to our children and to future generations.”

“Not impacting on operations”

In a statement, Cuadrilla said:

“We are aware of an ongoing protest outside our shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, Lancashire, today. This is not impacting on our operations. We have no objection to peaceful, law abiding protest whilst recognising that our neighbours, motorists using the busy road and our staff and contractors should also be able to go about their business without disruption, inconvenience or intimidation.

“We would like to add that we are exploring for shale gas at Preston New Road to establish a domestic energy supply that the UK really needs.

“The Bowland Shale as a whole could be a very important resource for Lancashire and the UK and, whilst hydraulic fracturing is currently suspended, we would like to continue with our work to prove this.

“To reach net zero by 2050 the Committee on Climate Change is clear that the UK will need about 70 per cent of the natural gas that we are using today, in conjunction with carbon capture and storage for electricity and as a feedstock for the manufacture of hydrogen.

“Natural gas is recognised by the experts to be an important part of the solution. We intend to be a part of that solution in providing lower emission UK shale gas to replace higher emission imported gas whilst also generating local jobs and economic benefit.”



40 replies »

  1. Is that a wooden boat they have there? Or is made largely from hydrocarbons? What fuel was used to transport the boat to its current position? Are those synthetic rubber tyres rubber tyres on the trailer wheels?

    • What I would like to know is this:
      fracking uses thousands of gallons of water. When they have used the water it is TOXIC. This OUR water they are using.
      1, Put in in the ground so the water supply can become affected.
      2. Pipe it out to sea, so that fish and plants in the sea are polluted.

      • The used fracking fluids along with whatever nasty additions from below that can be recovered are declared as being tankered away to out of area treatment centres. Then it is disposed of once treated.
        Apparently only about 50% of injected fracking fluid is recovered industrywide, the rest is lost into the environment!
        This process is overseen by the appointed Gold Standard Monitors to keep everyone safe.

        • Peter, “Apparently only about 50% of injected fracking fluid is recovered industry wide, the rest is lost into the environment!”. Well that might be the industry wide figure, although there are other estimates. The bulk of the industry is not governed by UK regulations – but by much more lenient USA ones. It should be no surprise that not all the water is recovered. This is because water gets trapped in the rocks at depth by various physio-chemical processes. So it is wrong to assume that the bulk of the injected water that is not recovered back to the surface here in the UK, is getting into potable aquifers, or coming to the surface somewhere else to cause an environmental hazard.

      • Dorothy, The recovered water is tankered away to a licensed treatment works. As far as I know it is not piped out to sea from Preston New Road’s operation. Of course the Fylde does pipe to sea, partly treated, sewerage produced by the residents. Also a minority of protesters leave their waste etc in local ditches etc. near to Preston New Road site.

      • As explained previously, DK. Treat it and dispose of it. Just like sewage, just like run off from the motorways that are polluted with toxic waste from those who think it so important to transport boats around the roads. More employment, more taxation from more employment.

        Great how the anti-capitalists support capitalism.

        Ever thus.

    • I got up at 4am to go on this action – it earned me nothing and used up a day’s leave. My dad sold hotdogs and my grandad was a quarry wrker. I have a PhD in Climate Change policy. Three out of three wrong! 🙂

  2. If time is very short, it’s really ‘planet before profit’ and the UK is blessed with enormous renewable resources that we have the technology to harness. Instead of wasting time blocking a suspended fracking site, why dont XR and its supporters, renewable energy companies, NGO’s, the Green Party and its members etc. get busy building renewable energy projects out of their own funds and pockets to supply us with free electricity in an effort to kill off fossil fuels?

    • They can’t afford to John, having spent all their money on boats!

      Good job Nice Sir Jim makes a profit- and then spends his money on boats-PLUS environmental projects, projects to assist our armed forces to recover from injury and projects to improve the health of children etc.etc. Even little old Cuadrilla, without making a profit, spends money to improve science education amongst children so they can improve the planet through science rather than whinging.

      Compare and contrast. Interesting result.

      Meanwhile, KatT, utilises more plastic on the subject than the rest of us put together!

      • “Even little old Cuadrilla, without making a profit, spends money to improve science education amongst children so they can improve the planet through science rather than whinging.”

        As so THAT’s why they do it. Who knew? And there was me thinking that it was all just another of their PR exercises. Thanks for putting us straight Martian.

        • Someone has to, delayed reaction!

          PR exercises? You mean those who trundle along to PNR to take photos of ladies undies hanging on a fence? Structural engineering for beginners?

          Applied for the £5k prize money yet?

          Now, that would buy a lot of litres of diesel. Hopefully from Fawley Refinery when they have invested the £800 million to increase output and cut down on large imports of the stuff, with more of the oil from UK production, and tax gained to add even more to the education funding. Well, for the children who decide their education is important.

          Pleased to help, but I suspect the “us” didn’t need to be reminded of that. (Very informative how quickly “me” turns into “us”. Awaiting the “everybody knows that”.)

          • Oh Martin. I’m surprised at you. Still obsessed by those ladies bras. They weren’t put there for fun. . They were put there to highlight the fact that fracking has been shown to pose a risk of increased breast cancer. As someone who is a survivor of this dreadful disease, I find it nothing to snigger about.

            • We have had this discussion before, Pauline.
              You have clearly demonstrated that fracking had nothing at all to do with your experience of this dreadful disease. Many families have members who have suffered cancer and many of those have no distinct reason as to why they have and they see many things quoted as reasons why they could have contracted the disease, and most of them without strong scientific evidence. The main conclusion they end up with is that they need to avoid living and breathing to avoid the disease. Unfortunately, it is a fact that if that was not the case then cancer would not be the problem that it is.

              If you feel that it is wise to add fracking into that mix it is your choice. Having been involved with PR my advice is that it can end up pretty counter productive when attempted by amateurs eg. FoE, may excite those easily excited, but for others it does exactly the opposite and they seem to be the majority still.

              So, you may feel I am sniggering, but in reality what I am commenting upon is a little more serious than that. If it gives delayed reaction a chance at the photo prize money then that is the bit that is somewhat humorous to me-although, if he puffed his way to PNR in his 3 litre BMW diesel to do so, somewhat more like irony.

              • I only mention my experience because it means I know, first hand, what that illness involves and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’m well aware mine can’t be put down to fracking but I’m also aware that there is a lot of evidence that fracking is linked to the disease, it’s not just my choice to add it to the mix, as you say. Any additional diagnosis is a nightmare for that person and their family. The link between tobacco and lung cancer was hidden and disputed by the industry for decades with tragic results.

                • With all respect Pauline, you are not alone in your experience, and I do genuinely hope it is completely behind you.

                  Where we probably differ is that much of my PR activity, having studied Marketing, was within Animal Health which was a subsidiary to Human Health Companies. It was a total taboo to add anything into PR that could not be 100% scientifically supported. That was not just because of the actions of the ASA but because it would totally negate the huge investment into recruitment and training of sales professionals who would be told by clients-often vets.- that their claims fell down when scientifically assessed and they could not continue to prescribe against that background, regarding their own credibility and the possibility insurance cover could be compromised. So, without exaggeration, it was a P45 offence, and all (expensive) efforts were made to prevent that.

                  Sorry, but undies on a fence don’t do anything to change my views.

                  Now, I see many who will make claims that fall a long way short of that and use their qualifications, or other means, to try and mask that. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I quite liked the certainty of science rather than the “might” of other markets trying to replace certainty.

                  It happens all the time. You will be fed nonsense PR about chlorinated chicken (well before Trump, but used to attack) but the reality of that is quite different-besides which it would be labelled as US produced so it is an issue an individual could decide for themselves. And the UK did not support the EU exclusion when it was made, many years ago. So, the UK did not agree that the EU decision was science and the US practice was not. Indeed, the UK chicken experts thought the opposite. When you go to eat chicken in a UK restaurant, what information is provided regarding whether the animal was stunned prior to slaughter? Absolutely none. I know which of those two is most important to me and I know which would be a real surprise to UK consumers, how frequently they are complicit-unknowing-within that. The PR from those challenged is that the Halal product is superior in tenderness, which is totally against the science of the way muscles behave in a stressed animal. The reality is that it is simply cheaper to store one product than two.

                  So, I will stick with how I feel PR should be operated. Others can make their own choices, but they will be mislead more than I will.

                • Martin. I’m sure you PR experiences were highly ethical but your claim that PR companies use only facts that are 100% scientifically supported is ludicrous. The PR of the tobacco industry has the blood of millions on it’s conscience- if it has a conscience, which I doubt. The fossil fuel industry has a similar history of untruths and obfuscation. No science can be 100% certain but when it comes to public health, erring on the side of caution seems sensible which is no doubt why Breast Cancer UK have said that they support a ban on fracking.

                • Yes, you are right about PR. (I did not make the claim PR only uses 100% scientifically accurate information. My point is that it often does not, and ladies undies at PNR is a prime example.) Much of the time it is used to mislead and it succeeds. That is why some still drive BMW diesels and suggest they are “clean” even AFTER that PR has been shown to be totally false.

                  Health issues are common ground as well. Marketing people spend a great deal of their time looking at what changes to disposable income do with regard to life habits. Much of it is good, some of it is not and that relates to associated health issues also.

                  I read an interesting comment from a USA fracking area a few days ago:

                  “On the downside, I’ve seen some people, younger people, take all the money home and get into drinking, drugs, and gambling.” ($150k/year)

                  That is not so odd. The same situation exists on a smaller scale around US air bases overseas. Local doctors see the consequences of it, but they are consequences of disposable income and the way it is managed-by some. “Fracking causes gambling” may fit if you try to force it to do so, but it would not make it correct.

      • No one uses more plastic than you Martin, assuming you mean a keyboard? Yet another example of your many blind spots and lack of self awareness. How many posts and how much so called plastic have you used just on this article?

  3. Why does it matter what the boat is made of? Why are XR a bunch of self centred middle class know nothing’s? Prove that, prove all those thousands of XR activists are all middle class and uneducated. But perhaps instead of trying to accuse people of hypocrisy because of the reality of the world we live in, a world that has been dominated by fossil fuels for centuries, with in many circumstances limited alternatives available at the moment, and instead of making personal attacks against people demanding change, consider instead why they demand change and who stands to gain. We are facing a climate emergency – fact. Fossil fuels have contributed massively to the climate emergency – fact. We have to reduce our use of fossil fuels and develop carbon zero, green alternatives – fact. And who gains by keeping us dependent on fossil fuels? Not XR for sure. Not the planet or it’s everyday citizens. It is the billionaires and their huge fossil fuel corporations that stand to gain. To make even more billions and to continue wielding global influence and power. Why do you think they withheld evidence provided by their own scientists for decades that fossil fuels were causing global warming, or have paid many millions to deny climate change, despite having scientific evidence to the contrary, lobbied against climate change action and held back action to tackle climate change? Certainly not for the good of humanity. And whilst fossil fuels have provided huge benefits in the past, we have to now deal with reality, we cannot continue as we have.
    The fact is we have to change and we are failing to take sufficient action, we have to do more. The consequences of not taking this action will be globally catastrophic and economically the cost of not taking action will far outweigh the costs of implementing essential change. History shows that you seldom encourage thousands of people to protest unless there is a recognised injustice and it is easy for the establishment and its mouthpieces to attack agents for change and defend the status quo but most of the benefits and freedoms we enjoy today have been hard fought for and won by people willing to protest and fight for essential change, and they too, more often than not, have been ridiculed, attacked and persecuted for doing so.

  4. ““Today’s action is to highlight the climate emergency that we are now facing. We need an urgent government response if we are to have any hope of avoiding climate breakdown. Tomorrow or next week may be too late.” Well, the Government has Prorogued Parliament & is paralysed & fixated by the false religion of Brexitism.

  5. Peter. Does it follow then that the environment is too important to be left to environmental campaigners? Discus etc.

    • Difference is Environmental Campaigners are active because of their beliefs.

      Politicians are mainly in it for the money and power, not for the good of their fellow citizens.

      I am concerned that loyalty and humanity tends to be of little concern to the modern day professional politician.

      Plenty of examples to back my theory up. Very few around nowadays to disprove it.

  6. Judging by the huge amounts of money that have been thrown at the industry, this Ponzi scheme is truly amazing. As American financiers would say, “You can’t taper a Ponzi scheme.” So of course the Motherfrackers won’t bother with tapering, they’ll always be looking for enough mug punters to keep the whole scheme poncing along.

    • Think you are confused with the $BILLIONS that have been thrown at Tesla, stu.

      Share price and profitability looking amazing there.-and remaining subsidies due to be phased out shortly in UK. Oops.

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