Hundreds of protesters gathered at short notice on a rural stretch of Preston New Road in Lancashire last Saturday against the Tories forcing through fracking.
Communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid last week overturned Lancashire County Council’s rejection of fracking.
He authorised gas firm Cuadrilla to begin its dangerous drilling for shale gas in the village of Little Plumpton.
A decision on a second site has yet to be made. Councillors rejected both last year amid protests and widespread campaigning.
This could become the first fracking to go ahead in Britain since 2011.
That’s when Cuadrilla was forced to stop its operations near Blackpool after they caused earthquakes.
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 childrens’ 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”.
There needs to be an urgent reduction in fossil fuel use to combat climate change. Finding even more gas will make matters worse.
Local activists are preparing to step up their resistance.
On Saturday’s protest they chanted, “Shame on you”, rallying on both sides of the busy road and walking across it.
Nick Danby of Frack Free Lancashire said, “We will take this to the nth degree. It will not happen—we have a duty to the next generation.”
Tina said, “There are no trucks for us to block yet—but we’re on the roadside verges and we’re making clear that this is the start of something.”