Updated: Death of anti-fracking campaigner Ian Crane

Tributes have been paid to the opponent of fracking, Ian R Crane, who died last week (25/2/2021) after a long illness.

The former oil industry executive campaigned against shale gas extraction through the courts, public meetings, broadcasts and livestream protest videos.

He joined or helped to establish protection camps across the UK, including those at Balcombe in West Sussex, Barton Moss in Salford, Upton in Cheshire, Misson in Nottinghamshire and Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

He gave talks in towns and villages in potential shale gas areas, introducing some people to the process of fracking for the first time.

At the High Court, he challenged terms in injunctions against protests brought by Cuadrilla and IGas.

In the case against Cuadrilla, he represented himself, successfully opposing a proposed protest pen .

He also contested, unsuccessfully, attempts by Rathlin Energy to declare him bankrupt in a costs dispute over the occupation of land at the Crawberry Hill exploration site in East Yorkshire.

Ian Crane broadcast daily video updates from Kirby Misperton when Third Energy was preparing to frack in 2017-2018. His fortnightly online programme, Fracking Nightmare, became a voice piece for many in the anti-fracking movement.

He also produced and presented the documentary Voices from the Gasfields about the experiences of landowners in shale areas of southern Queensland in Australia. He campaigned on a wide range of other issues through the Alternative View conferences and his Humanity versus Insanity broadcasts.

Anti-fracking campaigners, Ian Crane (right) and Ben Dean, taking documents to Manchester Civil Justice Centre for the Cuadrilla injunction hearing, 10 July 2018. Photo: Elspeth McRoberts

Some in the anti-fracking movement disagreed with his views and tactics. But his supporters have described him as hugely influential, inspirational, courageous, determined and a great speaker.

Ben Dean, who contributed to the challenge against Cuadrilla, met Ian Crane in 2015 at the Upton Community Protection Camp:

“We went to the Camp after IGas delivered a seismic survey leaflet. We were immediately drawn into the anti-fracking movement. 

“We attended one of Ian’s presentations and Fracking Nightmares were compelling viewing.

“Ian had close friends all over the world. When we decided to challenge the Cuadrilla injunction, our strategy was to outline the harmful effects on fracking in the High Court. Ian was able to obtain Witness Statements from activists from Australia and the States and, as a litigant in person, Ian was permitted by the judge to speak for well over an hour.

“We knew Ian was not well a few years ago. Typical of Ian’s determination, he continued living on camps and in great pain driving to Plymouth for his Fracking Nightmare and Humanity verses Insanity programmes.”

More tributes

Joseph Boyd

I met Ian at Barton Moss where he was a beacon of hope, in showing the wider world the injustices that were taking place there daily in his live streams.

He became over the years a dear friend, who was always someone who had his tent first and then his caravan’s door open for a morning or evening chat wherever we would be on the front line of the fight against fracking. His approach to working with the local community first and foremost at several camps I resided with him on, made Ian the least divisive for a decntralised approach, whilst controversial to those who wanted a centralised campaign.

His work on Cuadrilla pen injunction and those before, was the catalyst in taking the INEOS injunction on, which he played a pivotal role in the early legal team discussions. Therefore, Ian was also instrumental in my success in that case and in doing so leaves a legacy of protecting protests rights here in the UK and across the globe, because of the civil law that would have been precedent. He will be deeply missed and irreplaceable.

Bob Dennett

There isn’t really very much that I can add to Joe Boyd’s tribute which describes Ian and his contribution to the anti-fracking movement perfectly.

I first met Ian at one of his lectures at New Horizons in St Annes, Lancashire, then again at the Balcombe protest camp following which we became friends, a friendship which grew over the years as we took part in many anti-fracking demonstrations in various parts of the country.

Ian told me of his illness some time ago but he continued his campaigning, Fracking Nightmare and Humanity Vs Insanity broadcasts, contributions to UK Column, Alternative View conferences and travelling the country raising awareness in spite of the fact that he was inconsiderable pain which is testimony to his dedication to the future generations of his world.

He will be sadly missed by a great many people throughout the world. RIP my dear friend you will always be remembered.

Chris and Adela Redstone

We first met Ian Crane in the autumn of 2014, when seismic surveys across Ryedale and a couple of local talks from campaign group Frack Off alerted local people to the threat of fracking in the area. A meeting was hurriedly arranged in a Hovingham front room, from which the community campaign group Frack Free Ryedale was born. Nobody within the group had a great deal of experience of campaigning, and even less of fighting the oil and gas industry, and although we were all learning fast about the pervasive threats fracking poses to communities, the environment and the climate, we were struggling to get the message out to the rest of the community.

It was at this crucial point in the development of the Ryedale anti-fracking movement that Ian Crane offered to come up and give some talks on fracking to support our campaign. What was initially planned to be just two talks mushroomed into an epic ten-date tour of village halls and other local venues, including the Milton Rooms in Malton (see photo below). Posters for Ian’s seminal Is Fracking Safe? tour were designed, flyers were printed and distributed, the local media was alerted, and of course – this being Ryedale – delicious cakes were baked and sold to the audience in the intervals of each talk.

To say that the Is Fracking Safe? tour was a game-changer would be something of an understatement. Over a period of three weeks, nearly a thousand people attended Ian’s talks and heard his views on the clear and present danger fracking posed to North Yorkshire, the UK and the planet. As an ex-oil industry executive with many years of researching the impacts of fracking, Ian really knew his stuff, and night after night he delivered an incendiary, evidence-based talk that left most people in the audience shocked and angry about what was planned for their beautiful, peaceful part of the country. News of the tour spread fast by word-of-mouth, and for the last few dates the halls were so full you were lucky to find a seat.

Thinking back to that tour now, we remember arriving at venues with a car full of banners and leaflets, setting up chairs and projectors, the panic of wondering if anyone was going to turn up, then the panic when too many people did turn up and there was nowhere for them to sit. The evenings usually ended with everyone repairing to the local pub to discuss how the evening had gone, before Ian headed off in his trusty Rover to get a few hours of sleep in his battered old caravan. Being the generous man he was, Ian did the whole tour for free (all he asked for was expenses and a bite to eat after the gig). Ian was never one to care much about money, he just needed enough to do what he did best – campaign relentlessly against the government-backed fracking industry, which he despised with every fibre of his being.

The Is Fracking Safe? tour was a genuinely ground-breaking event (but not in a fracking sort of way) and spawned the creation of a network of ten local anti-fracking groups in towns and villages across Ryedale. It turned out that this network of community resistance groups, all collaborating under the banner of Frack Free Ryedale, was established not a moment to soon, as only a month later Third Energy announced that they planned to frack at Kirby Misperton, a small village in the heart of Ryedale where the company already had a conventional well-site. Suddenly for everyone involved in FFR, things had got scarily real and the fight was most definitely on. But at least now we had the knowledge, the organisation and a strong network of local campaign groups to fight the frackers every step of the way – and win.

Looking back today, it seems abundantly clear that without the local awareness and opposition that was a direct result of Ian’s passionate and expertly-delivered speaking tour, fracking would have almost certainly taken place in Ryedale, and Kirby Misperton would have become the first well fracked in the UK since Preese Hall in Lancashire in 2011. And if that had happened, who knows what might have happened next?

This is an extract from a longer tribute that can be seen here

Vera Scroggins

Grateful to Ian and his love of clean water and to preserve our Earth
from toxic fossil fuels. Love and blessings and Divine Light on your journey from here to there.

Carol Hutchinson

Thank you Ruth for this article. A fitting tribute to
This “titan” of the anti fracking movement.
RIP Ian and thank you.

Kenneth Lloyd

I am in a genuinely privileged position, in that I had the pleasure of interviewing Ian at Balcombe in 2013. Here is a link to that interview. We have lost a true hero. Roam in peace sweet brother xxx https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NvNzbhdKtg

Robert Poile

R.I.P. Ian , you won the fight , the war goes on, you will be a shining light , in the dark days to come .

David Cragg-James

What the frack-free movement has achieved over the last decade is, I feel, in no small measure attributable to Ian’s commitment to the cause of educating his listeners in the facts of fracking and its effects on our environment in climate change and destruction of bio-diversity, and in the related cause of inspiring his listeners to activism and action through his passion and integrity. His contribution to the creation of community, of such fundamental importance to us now, must not be overlooked: many of us now involved in community building and action, no matter how small our contribution, have Ian to thank for inviting reflection on the fundamentals of community, and for igniting that spark which has given many the motivation to stand against that which really threatens our liberty, – inequality and the power of the few.

Phil C

It’s awful news following Ian’s long term fight to overcome his illness. Ian was always a fighter, and his determination and truth loving character always showed through no matter what the issue was.

I only met him once at a protest site, quite by accident, just before he became seriously ill. Ian was instantly open and friendly and we chatted for a brief while with myself and others on the protest and how the fossil fuel corporations were becoming so aggressive and abusive in spite of the peaceful state of the protests.

Ian will be sadly missed by many. My thoughts go out to his daughter and her husband and his family and all who knew and respected Ian for the amazing character he was.

Wandering Dutchman

Ian Crane was an influential person in the community fight against fracking and other major issues that threaten our health and environment.
Like others who have had to give up the fight in the last few years, he will be sorely missed.

Frances Ocean

I camped with Ian at Barton Moss and saw him talk so many times. His passion commitment knowledge and humanity was hugely inspiring. Ian if we had many more of you we would not have poisoned our water.

You are a shining light and your spirit will live on with us together with our Polly Higgins Ecocide and all the other warriors who put their lives on the line for the planet and her people and those to come.

Blessed be Ian I was so glad to have met you.

Brian Irving

I was briefly involved in the anti fracking having seen Ian online, Barton Moss etc, fracking nightmare, spent time at Crawberry hill, met other activists,
So sad to hear of his demise, after horrendous surgery, I survived, sadly Ian moved on, …
Much love to his Daughter, family,

Peter Rees

I attended quite a few of Ian’s events. He organized some amazing seminars. The alternative view weekends were very informative and a lot of fun. It was great to meet up with like minded people and get the kind of up to date information on global issues and government and elite corruption that the mainstream media wouldn’t touch. he attracted great speakers like Lord Monckton, David Bellamy and Johnny ball, to name just a few. Ian will will be very sadly missed. A great teacher and a great activist. Rest in peace ian, and thank you.

Anne and Mike Brookes

We first met Ian in 2014 at Crawberry Hill in the East Riding of Yorkshire.  He and Joe were an inspiration to us as we were local residents who knew very little about fracking until it arrived on our doorstep.  Ian was always kind, patient and supportive of us and other locals and worked tirelessly around the whole area, giving lectures and showing his films.  Wherever we went he was there – at the protectors camp, on a march, outside the council offices, giving a TV interview –  always educating, informing and rallying opposition.

RIP Ian.  We were so fond of you. We also send condolences to his family at this sad time.

Ross Anderson

I will miss Ian and his energy. Loved to hear him speak. Top guy. Will miss the email updates and his positive drive via his vids.

Lee Gould

Ian has set great example for all of us on the importance of speaking out and doing the right thing for humanity. A true fighting spirit that will be fondly remembered and sorely missed.

Bill Gardner

I went to many of Ian’s talks, he opened my eyes, to the shit people who run our planet. We now fight on without him. But we will never forget. RIP my friend.

Anthony Smith

Sad loss to society has a whole, not just the “conspiracy” world. Always enjoyed listening to his videos on AV websites. God willing I am sure he has gone to a much deeper realm far away from all the global elite psychopaths. Rest in Peace.

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