Campaigners Block Work at Fracking Site in Lancashire
Volunteer campaigners, together with Greenpeace UK, obstructed the entrance to a fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire. They intended to stop preparation works for the first UK frack for gas, after the government overruled the local council decision to reject planning permission.
The ten campaigners, many from local areas including Blackpool, Preston and Wigan, safely linked their arms inside reinforced yellow blocks, adorned with the Lancashire rose, to create a ‘Frack Free Zone’ blocking the entrance to the site. They created an obstruction to stop trucks entering the site and delay preparatory work, adding to the major delays already caused by peaceful protest since work began at the site in January.
Many people in Lancashire have been tirelessly opposing fracking for 6 years, since the temporary ban on UK fracking in 2011. Local councillors at Lancashire County Council voted to reject the planning application for fracking in 2015, but following an appeal by fracking firm Cuadrilla, the government overruled this democratic process and granted planning permission in 2016. The Preston New Road Action Group, and other local individuals, made legal challenges arguing that the decision to overrule the council was made unlawfully, but these challenges were rejected by the judge this year.
Thousands of members of the public, and Greenpeace supporters across the country, sent messages of support to the campaigners blocking the site, and all those who have been protesting against fracking at Preston New Road this year.
At the beginning of the protest, Hannah Martin, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, said:
“Greenpeace is standing with the people of Lancashire against the industrialisation of the countryside for shale gas we don’t need. Lancashire said No to fracking, but the government overruled the democratic process and gave Cuadrilla the go ahead to frack for gas. Peaceful protest has caused months of delays and, since beginning work in January, this fracking firm has only really created a muddy field. But if the drill goes in, it will create noise, air and light pollution.
“In order to meet our climate targets, fossil fuels must stay in the ground. We do not need fracked gas and fracking is an unpopular, expensive and risky gamble. Together with campaigners from areas facing fracking, we’ve created a Frack Free Zone, blocking work at this site and asking the government to stop fracking in its tracks, and turn UK energy policy around. Cutting edge technologies, like renewables and battery storage, can drive economic growth and job creation for post-Brexit Britain, and give us plentiful clean power for decades to come.”
Following the protest she said:
“Facing arrest for protesting is scary, but the prospect of fracking in Lancashire is scarier. That’s why 10 determined campaigners ‘locked-on’ to boxes adorned with the Lancashire Rose for more than 8 hours, creating a ‘frack free zone’ and blocking entry to the Preston New Road fracking site.
“Some of them are from local areas like Blackpool, Preston and Wigan, and some just felt strongly about supporting the people of Lancashire who said No to fracking and were overruled. Protests will likely increase in frequency as committed individuals do their utmost to stop the fracking drills going in, preventing the industrialisation of the countryside, noise, air and light pollution.”
Photographs and footage are available on request.
Media contact: Alexandra Sedgwick, Greenpeace UK Press Officer, 07773 043 386, firstname.lastname@example.org