On Saturday 20 October, there was a bit of a protest in London. Something to do with Brexit, apparently. But meanwhile, in a small corner of Lancashire, a group of grassroots campaigners and locals had organised their own demo. And there wasn’t an EU flag in sight.
No fracking way
The campaign group Frack Free Lancashire held a “National Climate Crisis Rally” on Saturday 20 October. It was near the contentious fracking site Preston New Road in Lancashire. Groups and people from all over the country came out. They voiced their concerns over the climate crisis the planet faces. And they said a definite ‘no’ to fracking.
Campaign group Reclaim the Power had a message for the energy minister:
— Reclaim The Power (@reclaimthepower) October 20, 2018
Rock FM News did a good time-lapse video:
— Rock FM News (@RockFMNews) October 20, 2018
Apparently, there were “absolute scenes”:
— Jamie Peters (@jamie_pedro_) October 20, 2018
An incredible day of solidarity for communities fighting fracking & for #ClimateJustice globally as 1000 people line Preston New Road to say no to fracking!
— North West FOE (@NorthWestFOE) October 20, 2018
But it was Eddie Thornton’s drone view which, perhaps, best showed the scale of the demo:
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING turn-out at the #NationalClimateCrisisRally today at Preston New Road in Lancashire – Frack Free groups from all over the country have gathered together to tell the government NO TO #FRACKING! #BanFracking #ClimateCrisis (video from @EddieThorntonUK) pic.twitter.com/PkevRwFscp
— Frack Off London (@FrackOffLondon) October 20, 2018
An easy choice?
Frack Free Lancashire told The Canary around 1,000 people turned up to the rally. Former senior civil servant John Ashton spoke to the crowd. As The Canary previously reported, he broke rank recently, accusing the government of wanting to ‘have its cake and eat it’ when it came to climate change and the fracking industry. But he didn’t mess around on Saturday either. DrillOrDrop reported he said of the government and fracking firms:
I bet they thought they’d won. We’ve got news for them. We’re not going anywhere today, tomorrow or as long as Cuadrilla are in that field.
You cannot fix the climate and frack for shale gas at the same [time] and you have to choose. The people of Lancashire have already chosen to fix the climate.
Cuadrilla has permission to drill the site for shale gas, which has pitted it against local people. In July, the government officially gave Cuadrilla the go-ahead to start extracting shale gas. The decision was met by more protests from locals. Then, a judge jailed three activists (who another judge promptly freed). But a court case, bad weather and protests stopped it and Cuadrilla finally began work on Monday 15 October. This was met with more protests. But matters got worse, as experts then recorded five minor earthquakes near the site.
It’s this chaotic saga which sums up the fracking industry. The government and corporations are trampling over democracy and local people in the name of profit. But once again, campaigners have shown they’re not to be messed with. And nor are they going anywhere any time soon.
Featured image via Eddie Thornton/Reclaim the Power – Twitter
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?