Socialist Worker

Two big marches take on the fracking bosses

by Kim Hunter and James Eaden
Issue No. 2543

March against fracking bosses in lancashire

Part of the march against fracking bosses in Lancashire (Pic: John Atkinson)


Hundreds of people rallied against fracking giant Cuadrilla near its Preston New Road site in Lancashire last Saturday.

Meanwhile more than 400 protesters marched from Eckington to Marsh Lane in north east Derbyshire. Marsh Lane is fracking firm Ineos’ proposed test drill site.

The Line in the Sand rally against Cuadrilla was organised by Frack Free Lancashire to stop what would be Britain’s first fracking operation since 2011.

Then Cuadrilla was forced to stop after causing an earthquake.

Residents and supporters from as far afield as Scotland and the West Country heard speakers offer solidarity to those on the front line.

Nick from the Roseacre Awareness Group said, “Preston New Road would be a foot in the door for fracking.

“Third Energy in Yorkshire is standing back and watching what’s happening over here—so resistance is vital for the national fight.”

Linked

The rally cheered Martin Empson from the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group when he said the fights against Donald Trump, racism and climate catastrophe are linked. “We are stronger when we link arms,” he said.

Leading campaigner and local resident Tina Rothery said she was delighted that pop-up protests initiated by Bolton activists had forced local firms to pull out of contracts with Cuadrilla. She urged people to picket suppliers across Britain.

Lancashire trades council was among the union banners at the event.

After the rally, protesters spontaneously marched to the frack site, where some broke through the fences into the field earmarked for fracking.

Christine, a local resident who had never been on a march before, was at the well site in the field.

“Nothing about this is right,” she said. “These people want to protest peacefully, but they aren’t letting them.

“We’ve been through every hoop, but they are just ignoring us. You’ve just got to do something, you’ve got to support protest.”

The rally was supported by Preston New Road Action Group, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Reclaim the Power, the Green Party and the PCS, UCU and Unison union branches.

Ineos bosses have been granted licences to explore for fracking sites across parts of Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Loud and confident

The Eckington march was loud and confident and received overwhelming support from local residents.

It brought together local campaigners and anti-fracking groups from across the region in a powerful display of unity.

The Marsh Lane site is the firm’s first attempt to test drill for shale gas in their licence area. If they are not able to go ahead as planned, it will be a big blow to their fracking plans for the region.

Bosses are waging a PR campaign to “win round” local communities. But they have met sustained resistance from anti-fracking groups which have sprung up across the area.

Ineos will need to get planning approval from Labour controlled Derbyshire County Council to go ahead.

Anti-fracking groups are focussed on putting maximum pressure on the council to come out clearly against Ineos’ plans.

Cuadrilla’s fracking plans in Lancashire have been imposed by Tory communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid.

They face a legal challenge set to be heard by the High Court in Manchester between 15 and 18 March.

These local marches can be part of a nationwide movement to resist the frackers.


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