Communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid has overturned Lancashire County Council’s rejection of fracking, today, Thursday. He authorised gas firm Cuadrilla to begin its dangerous drilling for shale gas at Preston New Road in the village of Little Plumpton.
A decision on a second site has yet to be made. Both were rejected by councillors last year, amid protests and widespread campaigning.
It could become the first fracking to go ahead in Britain since Cuadrilla was forced to stop its operations near Blackpool after they caused earthquakes in 2011.
Tina Louise Rothery is a local anti-fracking campaigner and part of the “Lancashire Nanas” group. She told Socialist Worker, “They keep calling this a landmark decision. I don’t know how they define a landmark—for me this is the day they made our councillors impotent and our local democracy a myth.
“What are we left with? It’s only us now standing between a dangerous industry and our children’s futures.”
Fracking can contaminate water and severely damage the local environment. And the gas it produces adds to the devastating greenhouse effect driving climate change.
But not everyone is unhappy. Shamefully, senior GMB union official Stuart Fegan said, “This pragmatic decision is an important step forward for energy security.”
He added that it “will reduce the gas we will need to import from regimes fronted by henchmen, hangmen and head choppers”.
To address climate change there needs to be an urgent reduction in fossil fuel use—not finding even more gas.
Those in the local area will suffer the most immediate effects and they are preparing to step up their their resistance.
Tina—who could face jail next month for protests against fracking—said, “We have called a mass gathering at Preston New Road on Saturday and we hope a lot of people will come.
“There are no trucks for us to block yet—but we will be on the roadside verges and we will be making clear that this is the start of something.”