Anti-fracking direct action plans announced

By agency reporter
April 11, 2018

Anti-fracking network Reclaim the Power has announced that they will take three weeks of direct action targeting Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road (PNR) site in June 2018. It will begin with a fortnight of action disrupting  companies across the UK supplying services and materials to Cuadrilla and the fracking industry. It will culminate in a blockade unprecedented in scale and duration in Lancashire’s seven year long anti-fracking history.

Kate Robertson, member of Reclaim the Power (London) said, “This summer we’re going all out to stop fracking. Fracking is a major threat to the health of local communities and does not offer meaningful secure jobs like a thriving renewables industry would. Westminster continues to force this on communities despite overwhelming opposition. Fracking needs access to our natural resources, vehicles, finance and politicians to survive. We will break those links in the fracking supply chain.

The fracking industry is on the ropes – plans are behind schedule and the companies responsible are losing money. Meanwhile the movement is stronger than ever. We have a commitment to the people of Lancashire and won’t rest until it’s defeated”.

The plans comes as part of United Resistance: three months of action between April and June, called for by local campaigns Frack Free Lancashire and the anti-fracking Nanas. The United Resistance began with a 100 women march last week, highlighting the increased risks of breast cancer near fracking sites. Block Around the Clock will conclude the United Resistance and feed into a summer of continued disruption.

Tina Rothery from Nanas Against Fracking, said, “The support of Reclaim the Power as well as others since Cuadrilla arrived in January 2017 – has been so welcomed and necessary. Our energy wavers as we continue for more than a year of unending campaigning, to turn up daily; the surge of support, energy and power that returns with Reclaim the Power, is a light in an often dark tunnel. We KNOW we can succeed because Scotland, Ireland and Wales have halted the industry as have others globally. It can be done and we’re not going anywhere till it is banned in England too.”

Fracking at PNR is currently a year behind the schedule set out by Cuadrilla in January 2017. This is due in part to Reclaim the Power’s previous campaign of ‘Rolling Resistance’, which shut down the site every day last July, along with protracted action led by local protectors.

This fresh wave of anti-fracking direct action comes in the context of wider attempts to expand the gas industry, also facing grassroots resistance. In the UK, Drax power station is seeking to convert its remaining coal units to gas. In Europe, the European Commission is using its Projects of Common Interest program to back the Trans Adriatic Pipeline construction, as part of the Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan to Southern Italy, under the guise of energy independence from Russia.

Chris Saltmarsh, member of Reclaim the Power (Oxford) said, “We oppose fracking here in Lancashire and across the world. That’s why we say ‘not here, not anywhere’ loudly and clearly when fossil fuel is imposed our communities. We need to keep all fossil fuels in the ground to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, which are felt disproportionately by women, the poorest and people of colour in the Global South. New gas is not a transition fuel, it locks us unnecessarily into dirty energy for generations to come.”

Claire Stephenson from  Frack Free Lancashire, said, “Here in Lancashire, we’ve repeatedly watched as democracy has been eroded by the government and Cuadrilla, changing the rules as they go to suit themselves. Public health and climate change are particularly neglected when it comes to having fracking forced upon us: the Conservative government is still relying on narrow, outdated health reports from over four years ago, failing in their public duty to act on peer-reviewed evidence demonstrating harm from fracking. We will continue strongly oppose any fracking development – in Lancashire and beyond.”

Break the Chain 2018 takes place 11-24 June 2018. It is a fortnight of direct actions targeting the fracking industry, its supply chains and political support.

Block Around the Clock takes place 27 June-1 July. It is the biggest ever blockade of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking site, in scale and duration.

* Reclaim the Power https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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