Ops note - Westminster rally calling for fracking moratorium on Monday

Last edited 23 January 2015 at 6:47pm
23 January, 2015


  • When: Monday 26 January 2015 from 12:30pm
  • Where: Old Palace Yard, opposite the House of Lords
  • Speakers: Bianca Jagger, Caroline Lucas MP, John Ashton, Julian Huppert MP, Vivienne Westwood
  • Organisers: Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace UK, 38 Degrees, The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Occupy Democracy, Reclaim The Power, Climate Revolution
  • Programme: Speeches from 1:00pm, and petition hand-in at 2.15pm

Over a hundred people including Bianca Jagger, Chair of The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, and residents from affected communities are expected to join a Westminster rally calling for an immediate fracking moratorium on the day of a crunch vote in the Commons on Monday.

The demonstration, supported by campaign groups including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace UK, Reclaim the Power, 38 Degrees, and the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, is announced as controversial fracking legislation contained in the Infrastructure Bill has come under fire from the government’s own ranks.

Former Tory environment secretary Caroline Spelman and the Tory chair of the environment select committee, Anne McIntosh, have both tabled amendments opposing measures to pave the way for shale exploration. Spelman’s proposal includes a moratorium on fracking on climate grounds, and McIntosh has expressed concerns about water contamination [1].

Bianca Jagger, in advance of her speech at the rally, commented,

“The UK Government has given the green light to shale gas companies for fracking operations throughout the UK. They are rushing through changes to the law of trespass to speed up the ability of shale gas companies to frack under people’s homes without their consent.

“The re-writing of the law is being introduced despite widespread public concern about the health and environmental impact of fracking and in the face of overwhelming public resistance concern and opposition from ordinary people. The Infrastructure Bill is a violation of our basic human rights and of our democratic process.

“MPs should support the call for a moratorium so they can take a proper look at the growing body of evidence showing the harmful impacts of fracking. New York State, Germany and France have already called a halt to fracking, and the UK should follow suit.”

The key vote comes ahead of much anticipated decisions by Lancashire authorities, later next week, on Cuadrilla’s applications to frack at two sites in the Fylde area. The company was dealt a setback earlier this week when planning officers advised county councillors to reject the applications because of concerns about traffic and noise. [2]

Under government’s proposals put forward in the Infrastructure Bill, shale firms will be allowed to frack under people’s homes without their permission and leave ‘any substance’ underground indefinitely [3]. The current regulations also fall short of banning fracking from sensitive areas such as national parks and the land supplying the country’s reserves of drinking water. [4]

A range of speakers are expected to address the rally, including fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and former UK climate envoy John Ashton.

A petition calling on MPs to vote against plans to strip homeowners of their rights to oppose fracking under their homes has gathered over 300,000 signatures. Campaigners will deliver the petition to MPs supporting Caroline Lucas’s amendment opposing the controversial measure.

Labour have also tabled an amendment to prevent fracking in the UK unless 13 loopholes in the regulations are closed. The conditions include a fracking ban on the land supplying the country’s reserves of drinking water and more robust monitoring for potential contamination.

Greenpeace research published this week has shown that 224 coalition MPs, including half of the cabinet, could face the prospect of fracking firms drilling through sensitive water protection areas in their constituencies. [5]

Announcing the rally, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, Oliver Hayes, said:

“Hundreds of thousands of people from Lancashire to London are united against fracking. This chorus of opposition will only grow louder should MPs fail to put the brakes on fracking at Monday’s vote.

“As evidence of health and environment impacts mounts, it’s clear that fracking is not wanted, not needed and not in anyone’s interest apart from a handful of oil and gas companies.”

Greenpeace UK energy and climate campaigner Simon Clydesdale said:

“Whether or not you support fracking, some things should never be up for negotiation, like the quality of our air and water. Yet ministers are acting irresponsibly by throwing open the doors to fracking despite growing evidence that it can both harm our local environment and damage the climate.

“For many MPs this vote will be a moment of truth. They can either toe the party line for the sake of an unproven and risky industry, or they can stand up for the well-being of their communities. Whichever they choose, their constituents will be watching.”



  1. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/22/ban-fracking-says-former-tory-environment-secretary-caroline-spelman
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-30913269
  3. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/14/uk-to-allow-fracking-companies-to-use-any-substance-under-homes
  4. http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2014/07/28/data-national-parks-protected-water-zones-licensed-fracking-exploration/
  5. https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/73143/mps-face-prospect-fracking-areas-feed-water-supplies/


Note - edited at 17.50

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