Anti-fracking tributes to Dame Vivienne Westwood 1941-2022

The anti-fracking movement has paid tributes to the fashion designer and campaigner, Dame Vivienne Westwood, who died yesterday, aged 81.

Vivienne Westwood campaigning at Balcombe in West Sussex in 2013. Photo: Lee Butler

Dame Vivienne famously drove an armoured vehicle to the Oxfordshire home of the then prime minister, David Cameron, in protest at his support for fracking.

She visited anti-fracking protests and protection camps across the country, including Balcombe in West Sussex, Upton near Chester, Preston New Road in Lancashire and Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

In 2014, she supported a nationwide series of debates, organised by Talk Fracking, and warned David Cameron in a Christmas message: “Don’t let fracking be the next asbestos”.

During the 2015 election campaign, she was photographed cradling a bloodstained doll with a missing hand in a protest against fracking. She said:

 “I’m trying to get across to people, the danger we’re in. We have to stop the destruction.”

Later that year, she joined rallies in London against the Infrastructure Bill, which sought to allow companies to drill and frack under private land.

Dame Vivienne also played a high-profile role against protest injunctions taken out by shale gas companies, particularly Cuadrilla and Ineos.

She modelled clothes with anti-fracking slogans outside Ineos Upstream headquarters in Knightsbridge.

She also threatened to break the injunction outside Preston New Road.

In 2018, she delivered to Downing Street her representation of Armageddon, which she called Planet Ineos, caused by plastic pollution and climate change.

Also that year, she supported a successful legal challenge against the government’s pro-fracking changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.

In 2020, she was among campaigners, scientists and celebrities who urged the government to replace the moratorium with a permanent ban on fracking. She said:

“If we’re serious about saving the planet from Climate devastation, then Fracking – or any other form of extreme energy extraction under a different name – like acidisation – must be totally outlawed”.

Dame Vivienne had this advice for campaigners:

“Be reasonable: demand the impossible. If in doubt, dress up!”

“Doughty campaigner” and “true radical”

Tony Bosworth, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, described her as a “doughty campaigner against fracking”. He said:

“Her role in supporting and invigorating the movement in the UK was absolutely invaluable.”

Greenpeace UK described her as a “true radical”.

William McCallum, the organisation’s co-executive director, said:

“She saw the urgency of the climate crisis with clarity and demand action with passion. If we could all live this idea the world would be a better place. Our thoughts go out to Vivienne’s family and friends.”

Claire Stephenson, of Frack Free Lancashire, said:

“Vivienne was a unique force and voice in the world, in the most authentic way.

“She was a powerful advocate for the environment and was vehemently against fracking. The movement will be forever grateful for her and her son, Joe’s involvement and support. From driving a tank to former Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency home, to walking a pop-up catwalk outside fracking-for-plastics company, INEOS’s London HQ, to mocking former Prime Minister Theresa May’s robotic dancing by being a Dancing Queen outside of Cuadrilla’s fracking site gates in Lancashire…Vivienne continually used her public platform for activism and advocacy, drawing global attention to crucial environmental issues and social causes.

“Frack Free Lancashire’s love and thoughts are with Vivienne’s family at this sad time.”

Frack Free Glossop, in Derbyshire, said today:

“For most people she will be remembered as a pioneering fashion designer who was present at the birth of punk. To us though she is Glossopdale’s most famous daughter, and a powerful advocate for many good causes, who joined us for the fight against fracking. She will be missed. Rest in peace.”

Nanas Against Fracking wrote:

“She visited many anti-fracking camps and brought the media attention we needed. Her knowledge was legendary.

“She has been a powerhouse, inspiration and fellow Nana and we will mourn the loss of her.”

No fracking in East Kent said:

“A truly unique person who combined so many interests and fought against fracking here in the UK with her son Joe Corre.

Steve Mason, of Frack Free United, said:

“We would still be facing up to fracking in our communities without Vivienne and Joe’s contribution, support and influence.

“Her contribution to society has been far reaching. Vivienne shaped the mindset of so many people across the decades. Her legacy will live through us all.

“I raise a glass to the queen of punk. Rest in peace Vivienne, and thank you.”

Individual campaigners also paid personal tributes on social media.

Jamie Kelsey Fry tweeted:

“I spent two years working with #VivienneWestwood and her son Jo on an anti fracking project. We travelled the U.K. on a double decker tour bus hosting talks on fracking. She would emerge from her little cabin looking bloody amazing every morning and went 100mph all day.

“She was dedicated to working on the climate crisis, hated the power of corporations and their influence over Whitehall, was kindly and interested towards everyone we met and was genuinely down to earth. Firmly, proudly anti authoritarian to the end. Rest in power.”

Jacqui Stainburn wrote:

“Very sad to hear about Vivienne Westwood.  She was a great support in our anti fracking campaign and visited our protest camp in Upton three times.”

Anti-fracking campaigner Helen Chuntso said:

“I will always remember what good work you did for the anti fracking community.”

Climate campaigner Hannah Martin tweeted:

“She was a true punk and also an avid campaigner against fracking and in the fight against climate change way before most celebrities and influencers got on board.”

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