Socialist Worker

Cuadrilla begins first fracking in Britain for seven years

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2626

Police protect the Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road

Police protect the Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road (Pic: David Lally/geograph.org.uk)


Fracking has once again started in Britain, another sign of how the government and big business are endangering the environment. Cuadrilla announced at 1pm on Monday it had started the first large-scale hydraulic operations for seven years.

There hasn’t been any commercial fracking since the practice caused two earthquakes in Lancashire in 2011.

The Preston New Road (PNR) site near Blackpool has been at the centre of the fight against fracking since 2016.  In October of that year, the Tories rode roughshod over Lancashire County Council’s decision to deny the frackers permission to operate.

The Tory government has since made it easier for central government to grant permission directly to fracking companies if local governments are opposed.

Two protesters from the Reclaim the Power environmental campaign blocked the main entrance to the site by locking themselves to a scaffolding structure at the gates.

Henry Owen D-locked his neck to the scaffolding attached to a parked van for around 12 hours. He said, “It’s absolutely vital because this industry has no social licence in the UK.

“It’s being pushed through by a government who don’t care about their commitments to take action on climate change.”

Fracking is a process where large amounts of highly pressurised water, sand and chemicals are injected into rock formations, releasing the gas or oil trapped inside.

Earthquakes

It’s a hugely dangerous process and has contributed to contaminated water, noise and air pollution and earthquakes for those unlucky enough to live near a well site.

But the effects of fracking are also felt on a much wider scale.

It is just one week since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called for urgent action to limit climate change.

It recommended keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, rather than the 2 degrees previously advised. But to do this carbon pollution would need to be cut by 45 percent by 2030.

Fracking flies in the face of these stark warnings, and is an industry that is devoted to expanding reliance on fossil fuels.

And the Tories are determined to aid the industry. Last week energy minister Claire Perry hinted that she wanted to relax rules that would stop fracking operations if they caused earthquakes.

Instead of relaxing safety regulations there needs to be renewable energy and proper investment in green jobs and the climate.

By propping up Cuadrilla bosses, they are ignoring local communities in Lancashire but contributing to environmental catastrophe that will threaten us all.

Bosses of energy companies aren’t bothered about pollution or long-term climate change, if they get to return a tidy profit. And politicians are happy to nod through industries like fracking if it keeps their fossil fuel donors happy.

Large-scale destruction of Earth is embedded into the way capitalism functions on a daily basis.

It’s important to get the Tories out, but also to fight for a society that doesn’t threaten our planet.

Together for climate justice, hosted by the Campaign against Climate Change. 12 noon, 1 December, central London. Details at bit.ly/StopClimateChaos

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