Protesters rallied outside Blackpool Football Club in Lancashire on Tuesday at the beginning of a five week inquiry that could determine the future of fracking in Britain.
Lancashire County Council rejected fracking firm Cuadrilla’s application for drilling sites near the hamlets of Roseacre and Little Plumpton.
Cuadrilla is now trying to get the decision overturned.
More than 40 witnesses are to testify. Roseacre campaigner Barbara Richardson, one of the witnesses, told Socialist Worker, “Fracking would be devastating for the local community.
“There would be heavy goods vehicles going down the little country roads and we worry about safety and noise. Then there’s air pollution—and it only takes one accident for the water to be contaminated.”
“Burning fossil fuels also means we will miss our climate change targets.”
The only fracking operation in Britain to go live was Cuadrilla’s site at Preese Hall in Lancashire.
It was stopped in 2011 after causing earthquakes—a setback the industry has yet to recover from.
Overcoming the opposition in Lancashire is essential for the Tories to get their “shale gas revolution” back on the road.
Barbara said, “We’ve a strong case for the rejection to be upheld.
“But we’re very concerned that the government’s ‘dash for gas’ fracking policy is going to override local decision-making.”
Protest for the Heathrow 13
Construction bosses who stand to make billions out of the project have urged the government to build a new runway at Heathrow airport.
They wrote a letter to Tory chancellor George Osborne this week.
A third runway would vastly increase Britain’s greenhouse emissions and add to climate change.
It would make air and noise pollution worse.
Thirteen activists who held a peaceful direct action in the airport against a third runway are due to be sentenced on 24 February.
A solidarity protest is planned outside the court on the day.