Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

PNR Solidarity Saturdays

Now that Cuadrilla have invaded Preston New Road, people gather each day to delay their progress and receive huge support from passing motorists. Online too there is a wealth of support but not everyone can be at the demonstration each weekday 9am-3pm; so on Saturdays we are hosting a get-together nearby the site … just down the road at Maple Farm (next door to World of Water Blackpool.)

Ths is an opportunity for passers-by, drivers who honk support, visitors, residents, Protectors and others to get together after the long week, enjoy refreshments from the Nanas and chat as a community about what we do to ensure we stop this site from ever reaching the fracking stage.

There will also be Frack Free Lancashire merchandise, information sheets and plenty of people who can answer questions. You can park either here or at World of Water and Preston New Road is on the bus route (number 61 between Blackpool & Preston.

We do hope you can join us.

Actions at the Preston New Road site

 

As you are aware Cuadrilla has started construction work at the Preston New Road site.

We are planning to have a presence at the site between 9.00 am and 3.30 pm each weekday and 9.00 am and 12.30 pm Saturdays. We will only engage in peaceful and legal actions.

This is going to be a lengthy campaign and we need boots on the ground. Please do come along and give your support even if it’s just for half an hour.

The number 61 bus from Preston/Blackpool travels along Preston New Road. The bus stops near Maple Farm- marked bus on right of map. Walk towards Ma Bakers Cafe/Waterworld –  it’s only a short walk to the site from there. If you’re coming by car (PR4 3PE) you should be able to park at Maple Farm or Waterworld/Ma Baker’s. Please remember that these are business; please treat them with consideration and respect. Please also note that parking is not allowed anywhere on Preston New Road.

If coming by train you need to get off at Kirkham. The Blackpool South and most of the Blackpool North trains (check before boarding) from Preston stop at Kirkham. From Blackpool all trains to Preston stop at Kirkham. From Kirkham Station catch the 61 bus (Blackpool) and follow the instructions above.

map

The Blackpool Greenpeace Facebook page is maintaining an up-to-date list of events relating to actions.

Scroll down the posts below to see a day-by-day account of activity at the site, compiled by Tina Rothery.

Day 13 at Preston New Road

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Tina Rothery describes a day in which co-operation ruled. Protectors in Bolton stopped the lorries leaving from AE Yates and delivering their cargo to Preston New Road where only three trucks and one road sweeper arrived.
Day 13 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people found their individual ways to be heard, to impact this industry and to work together for great cumulative effect. Our movement is so very diverse, a kaleidoscope of humanity breathing out the same words – “They WILL NOT frack”… our steps are not all synched but our movements in the same direction, make the pull-and-push of us all, all the stronger. Much love for Protectors in all our shades and ways today x
So the day started with an excellent early action by strong-willed, principled Protectors at the entrance to the site on Preston New Road, rose through the day in good voice and fantastic mood at the roadside and for slow walks… then culminated in a gorgeous crescendo of activity at contractor AE Yates of Bolton – where Protectors gathered to make clear that this industry and those that enable it, will not be tolerated. An action now termed a ‘Pop-up Protest’. Come on AE Yates – there are better contracts to have than the soiled, dangerous fracking one… this choice will only bring disruption.
The Day unfolded thus…
PNR Early Shift:
In the early hours of the morning, some concerned residents went to the Preston New Road site in order to carry out a well-considered action to prevent the intrusive site from taking up too much of this busy and important road. Over the week, the fencing and cones have gradually edged out, limiting the lane for traffic and worse, delays to ambulances. We have witnessed 3 delayed ambulances this week and in the absence of Council Planning Inspectors to enforce safety requirements, residents took the task into their own hands. The delay to work lasted over an hour and ended with the fencing in a less dangerous position …and the assurance of an Inspector to come and clarify the situation. Brilliant.
PNR Day Shift:
Protectors started arriving for the slow-walks and demonstration, part way through the ‘siege of the fence’ incident; lining up to receive the gift of ‘honks’, the joy of the music, the gratitude for our solidarity and growing friendships… and the absolute delight that a mere 3 trucks and 1 road sweeper arrived, were slow-walked and went. Almost literally no work done at PNR today (there was though a lot of singing and dancing).
Meanwhile in Bolton…
Protectors gathered too at the gates of AE Yates of Bolton – the contractor helping Cuadrilla construct this monstrosity that threatens us. This solidarity action not only let this company know that they are now part of this unfolding drama… but enhanced the day of those at the roadside of PNR who were eagerly awaiting news. if we can all work together to stop contractors from supplying this industry, we can starve it to its end… long live the ‘Pop-up Protest’!!
The frack-free movement may not have an easily definable ‘strategy’ but we share like-minds, same goals and strong determination… this is the start of more to come.
These actions are I think evidence of our ability as a movement to not only overcome the troubles and tackle the challenges we face …but to successfully use our many skills to pull together, regardless of anything else. Protectors sometimes try to walk away when harmed by the intensity of all that this entails… but I have never met any who truly can stop. Once you know the truth of the threat this industry brings, you cannot UN-know it, cannot pretend it away or suddenly start trusting our government or regulators to miraculously care enough or have the skills required to keep our children safe. We’re stuck in this and the most we can do… is hold each other up through the hard bits.
The week ends with stronger hearts, tighter bonds and justifiable optimism. Much love to all… see you Monday?

*Highlight of today’s

#PNR playlist: looking down the line of us all as arms stretched out in a dance move to Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ and imagining if this was a movie… it would absolutely be made by the Cohen Brothers & Tarrantino xxx

Day 12 at Preston New Road

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A slow day for Cuadrilla as the trucks were held up but a day filled with music for the protectors. Tina Rothery’s daily blog:

Day 12 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people brought the humanity, kindness, wisdom and joy to PNR along with steely determination and growing rage. Each day still unfolds something new and it’s only really at the end of it, when you stop, rest and look back, that you realise the tension, apprehension and high-alert you have been on. As this consumes much of our time, those at the roadside discussed ways to improve conditions and maintain energy… now our Nana music system is adding a new dimension to proceedings. This along with the continuous honks of support, gifts of food, sweets, masks (such a polluted road), hand-warmers and growing numbers, has brought lashings of positive energy with it



So today was another slow day for Cuadrilla and work is behind schedule… which is nice. They got 8 delayed-trucks in – nothing like the 20-30 they said would be the daily number. An ambulance was again delayed (third one now) due to Cuadrilla; this time with 4 vehicles oncoming in the single-lane that meant it couldn’t proceed till they cleared. Still no action from Inspectors at Lancashire County Council (LCC) and the reports of planning violations are mounting. We had two Councillors visit this week who worked on the rejection of the original planning application – they updated that the reports are being received and they’re pushing for action to be taken against Cuadrilla’s abuses. Video, photographs and testimonies make a clear case… so please, if you can, write or call LCC to register your concerns.

It was a different sort of day for us – our voices were raised in song and the little steps taken to keep us warm, turned to dance moves. Music does indeed calm the savage beast and it was impossible for anyone – even the ‘other side’ – to avoid the rhythm in the air. Sounds trivial? I beg to differ… PNR is a place where residents become Protectors as we discover what it is going to take to stop this industry – it isn’t pretty and the task ahead is daunting; there has to be something worth clinging to that is beautiful. Music, singing, dancing and sharing the laughter is every bit as important as the actions we will be forced to take to stop this powerful industry.

Admittedly my playlist is a bit odd and not adequate but it sufficed and now Julie has created a dedicated list of fantastic music covering everything from Motown to Grease, Sinatra to Whinehouse and much in-between that will enhance our tomorrows.

Although we prepare for the storm to come… we cling tight to these moments of joy, unity and power. Soon enough the task of stalling this industry will get harder and tactics and responses will change by necessity. For now though, residents are weaving our understanding of what we can each do as the ‘Protector’ in each gets ignited by the threat that literally is… right here, right now, right in front of us. Groups large and small are working with us too and although often unseen, will become more evident as things change. There may be many bumps in the road ahead but the many are working to clear the way. 

See you tomorrow?

*Playlist highlight today – two Protectors using their signs as guitars for Slade’s ‘Goodbye t’Jane’

Day 11 at Preston New Road

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More protectors joined the opposition at PNR today. At the same time there’s a call out for members of unions to see what actions their unions may be planning. At the same time, there’s a plea for Labour and the LibDems to get a whole lot more vocal in parliament and visible with their local frack-free groups. Thanks again to Tina Rothery for her daily blog.

Day 11 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people multiply as lunch hours are sacrificed, school-runs speeded up and leisure/commitments/family put on hold for this emergency. Despite being told by staff this morning to expect 12 trucks and one concrete mixer, only 6 trucks and one concrete mixer made it through in the allotted time – the slow-walks may be short (the space we’re in offers no real distance) but when applied to every truck during the brief delivery window of 9:30am-3pm, they impact not just the time taken but the flow of vehicles and work.
….

The act of opposing our government and defending ourselves is an exhausting and unpleasant thing to commit to but the creativity, smiles, hugs and warmth of those who do – softens the harsh reality and makes it bearable. This intense period of activity will only be possible because we support each other and also… if we can sustain ourselves by introducing some joy to the ugly task.

Today there was joy; Nanas brought the music system so that rather than slow-walk, there was some dancing and a great deal of singing, motorists passed yummy treats to Protectors at the roadside for sharing, Nana Rhona in Scotland sent delicious home-made fudge for everybody (along with lovely woollen hats to keep Nana heads warm) and the day passed not only without aggression – but with growing unity.

I sometimes think that when we stand with others who we don’t really know too well, yet share a purpose… that there is a kind of choreography that happens. In the frack free movement, we are ALL entirely in-step for the first move – agree that the UK MUST remain frack-free. The next step involves the tricky bit in this dance of strangers …to move together in ways that stop the industry. We are still treading on each other’s toes but at least that’s a consequence of trying – not a deliberate thing.

At sites across the UK where frackers came to poke their drills and test for shale, Protectors have done all possible to stop them; from slow-walks and lock-ons, to blocking gates with wind-turbine arms and much more besides. The term ‘Investor Removal Team’ became used as we noticed that with each action against this industry, the investors grew more nervous. Of course we weren’t able to prevent the sites being built (although a few companies gave up before starting) with these actions alone and even though the stands against drilling at Balcombe and Barton Moss for instance were hugely powerful… the drill still came. This visible public opposition is vital though. The slow-walks don’t stop construction – they delay and deter whilst alerting and making clear there is no social license for this industry.

What WILL stop this industry?

Looking at successful actions that actually halted unconventional energy companies from doing their dirty work… and it tends to be:
-powerful influence (*see New York Medical Profession ban)
-community legal challenges
-cross-party political co-operation (*see Victoria ban)
– or as with the glorious Bentley Blockade – a whole lot of people refusing to allow drilling.

Up at Preston New Road, we are witnessing and delaying the slip-road building stage but soon, it will be the pad itself being brought in and put together in order to accommodate the wells. We need to do all we can and need all the help we can get to ensure success in one or all of the ways we see that work. Currently:

-ALL Unions (except GMB) are against fracking and have declared support for the frack-free movement; we could do with more visible and audible opposition so if you’re in a Union, please ask what actions they are taking to stop this industry and if they can do more.
-There are two legal challenges pending that are getting vital additional arguments based on the abuses of planning at PNR. Please see Preston New Road Action Group for details.
-Labour & LibDems have caught up with the Greens to call for an end to fracking… we could do with them getting a whole lot more vocal in parliament and visible with their local frack-free groups– so if your MP or Councillor is LibDem or Labour (Greens already on this) it’s worth pushing for them to do their job and stand by their party’s public declarations.
-Residents who oppose this are growing more numerous and a whole lot stronger each day and the support from passing cars is overwhelming and deafening in the best of ways… visitors today came from all over and it was fantastic to see banners of support from Lancaster and Greenpeace. If you can come to PNR and show solidarity – it would be fantastic. We’re there each week-day 9-3 at the roadside and the groups in the area are also putting together events to bring more visitors on Saturdays when more are available….

One day soon, if bankruptcy, court or wisdom don’t get Cuadrilla first, we may need a ‘Bentley-sized’ solution so please prepare and see what you can do to make time in your life to help us stay frack free.

Ending tonight with a few words from a new Protector:

“I went to the Preston New Road Peaceful Protest today for a few hours on a drizzly dark morning. As I arrived at the Frontier of Fracking in Great Britain – The Badlands of Gasland came into sight.
My usual place of work is on the shoreline, desolate, quiet and no human in sight. Only the roar of waves, the wind and seagulls to keep me company; so you can imagine the fright, fear and trepidation I felt as my mind and body told me you ‘have to go and show your support for the Protectors’. You believe so strongly in their cause, there is no other way around this. Wherever this leads to you have to see this through to the end

There must be many people in Lancashire and throughout the UK who feel the same way but perhaps have never been to a protest before. Slightly worried and wonder, oh dear dare I but really want to. I personally feel this is a natural human reaction that many have to move through.

The protectors need your support, they cannot do it all themselves.

The people of Lancashire and the UK said no and your Democratic decisions have been overruled by the powerful ones who are supposed to represent you. Pick yourself up and walk out of your door and just go and support them for an hour or two or three. Talk to them and listen to what they have learned. Do a little research.

I could go on for hours but feel at times perhaps I can put people to sleep with my thoughts. All I am saying is that millions of people said no or are talking amongst themselves at this moment saying: “I hate this Fracking idea but what can I do against the powerful ones?”

You must realise YOU ARE the powerful ones, the sleeping giants, but when woken watch out.

Go down and support the protectors. They will give you a warm welcome.”
………………………………………………………..

See you tomorrow? <3

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Day 10 at Preston New Road

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Another Blog entry from Tina Rothery -a  day in which Cuadrilla once again tried to breach their agreement by working beyond the allotted time included in their Traffic Management Plan. The protectors seized control and the lorries didn’t come. It was also the day we got our stolen sign back!

Day 10 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are beginning to growl audibly. The residents who laboured over the years with planning objections, appeal statements and all the research that went into informing these things – the same residents who saw the Council rejection of planning, have that decision stolen by Westminster… have run out of options, been abandoned by the state and are taking matters into the only hands they can trust to protect their communities… their own.

….So today marked a clear strengthening of mood and resolve by the Protectors on site. Yesterday’s decision at the roadside to act to halt breaches of planning, went a stage further today as at the end of it, Cuadrilla tried to overstay their allocated time (again). When told at 2:40pm that there were 3 more vehicles due, residents huddled to discuss how this threatened breach would be handled. Cuadrilla wanted to ram all the vehicles in and would still facilitate our slow-walks… but we knew this would mean running past the close down time (Traffic Management Plan) and we were pretty certain, they’d blame that on the slow-walks too.

Site staff and police had been told by Protectors yesterday that if they attempted to move the fencing again and risk emergency transport by closing the road (to turn the over-sized vehicles) – that we would each hold the fence panels in place and fulfill the role of the absent Planning Inspectors. Cuadrilla stopped the over-sized vehicles coming. Today after slow walking the 2:40pm vehicle, Protectors prepared to disallow any further vehicles. We headed to the gates to exit the slow-walk and were told – NO FURTHER VEHICLES would come today. This felt good for all of us who have turned up at the site and watched as the immoral, undemocratic, dangerous monstrosity begins to form – helplessness is inevitable – until you seize control of what you personally do in response to this attack.

Of course caution is advised but sometimes we forget…
John who runs a local business, Maple Farm has had brilliant signs made over the years and is an incredible force in this; for this roadside action, he made some big road signs and as he placed them this morning, asked if I’d keep an eye on them in case site staff tried to move them.

A few hours later I spotted a large chap from the site, walking off with a sign and although I could only see the back of it, I knew it was ours. I ran across the road and demanded our sign back – and promptly wrestled it from him. It was as I started to head back across the road that I realised it was bloody heavy lol! I dropped the back of it down and dragged noisily as metal skated on asphalt… then the funny bit happened: Cuadrilla complained that our signs were distracting motorists and were causing a danger on the highway!! They said an Inspector would be sent for from the Council to have them removed… oooooo we chuckled! We’ve been trying for 10 working days to get an Inspector here! The irony. We re-sited our signs and no-one tried again and no Inspector came.. again.

The day was full of power and the Protectors full of cake and mints that are frequently gifted by visitors and passing cars who want to show support. The tally of the day was in the end 6 x vehicles arrived and slow-walked – and at least 2 cancelled though with wide-loads not able to get through either, we know this to be higher.

Cuadrilla had sent word (to stir us?) that they were going to be ‘ramping up’ to 20-30 vehicles per day but there is not only no sign of this, it is actually impossible given the working hours for vehicle movements. We have a retired logistics chap in one of the residents’ groups and he was in the aeronautics industry – he has observed timings and process and calculates that even 14 vehicles arriving between 9:30am and 3pm – would be a challenge… so just another Cuadrilla pipe dream and a chance to ‘ramp’ tempers up too perhaps.

The rhythm of our days is a bit like improvised jazz… but we are finding our harmony amidst the cacophony. See you tomorrow x

Opportunity to grill regulatory bodies about fracking at Preston New Road

Staff from five of the major organisations that are responsible for regulating and/or advising on shale gas extraction in England and Wales have organised a drop-in event to answer questions about Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site.

The organisations are:

  • Environment Agency,
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Oil and Gas Authority
  • Public Health England
  • Lancashire County Council.

The event is on Wednesday 1 February 2017, from 2.00 pm-  7.00 pm at Wrea Green Institute, Station Road, Wrea Green, Preston, PR4 2PH.

Day 9 at Preston New Road

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A day that witnessed the frustrations of protectors as planning abuses multiply, road safety becomes more and more of an issue and we witness further an undemocratic  system that protects the industry in favour of the residents. Tina Rothery’s daily blog:

Day 9 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people grow more numerous, more affronted, more impassioned and ever-more determined to halt this dangerous industry and its obnoxious disregard of planning limitations, road safety and us. There is growing anger that abuses of Planning that are clear to all witnessing – go unchallenged. Why do they go unchallenged? Because the Council can’t afford the manpower… doesn’t bode well for if this gets further progressed to dangerous chemicals, waste, methane venting, masses of vehicle movements etc.

So a tactic/response was devised amongst those who spend time at the roadside of the A583 (Preston New Road)… Planning breeches would be monitored by those witnessing and the action causing the breech, halted by us. When we arrived this morning, the site staff and police were told that if any attempt was made to again move the fencing so that it takes the whole road, blocks traffic and risks emergency traffic in order to turn the huge vehicles… then we would be placing our bodies against the fence and any attempt to push us would be too dangerous. Unless a Planning Inspector is on site, we’re left with no option in the interest of the safety of our community. Workers had originally said that fence moving would be needed for large loads today – after they were informed of plans, only vehicles that could turn without fence-moving, came.

About that emergency traffic issue:
Protectors maintained the clearway for ambulances despite Cuadrilla’s fiasco of a traffic plan that has caused delays already to emergency vehicles. It is clear this would happen as an ambulance on this vital ‘blue light’ route has only one lane to journey on and if traffic is already oncoming in it, there is no way through. We work hard to ensure there is not disruption on this road but Cuadrilla have no regard. Cuadrilla PR has tried since the start of this, to say that we are causing traffic… rather than their red lights, fence movements and lane closure! Grrrr.

Each day that progresses brings a growing rage… personally, I see the steps being taken and although we are aiming to get this stopped in one of the legal challenges or because bankruptcy for Cuadrilla is so close – the powerful urge to surge forward and just STOP IT! Is hard to ignore. I see this growing in Protectors around me, of all types.

Today progress was impacted; 5 x slow-walks and trucks were held back at Whitehills Business Park. At the end of the day when some of us had to dash for school pick-ups, they were closing down for 3pm and said no more trucks. Thankfully others were still on site when a sneaky last truck came through – abusing planning at 3:30pm. All video and photographic evidence of breeches is sent to Lancashire County Council – where they appear unable to do anything about it. Then they wonder why actions escalate and people have to act in self-defence – our democracy fails us completely but serves Cuadrilla like a hand-maiden.

Some days I want to walk away – look for an exit and run… but since the day I discovered the truth of this industry, I have stood on some road somewhere – blocking the route to our young; this is just another road and the same one all at once and I know there is no exit till the threat is gone. See you in the morning x

Day 8 at Preston New Road

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Only three lorries entered the site today. Progress is slow  – it’s taken eight working days to put in a temporary lightweight pathway and some portable toilets and cabins – the site-road suitable for the heavyweight trucks to eventually come, is not started yet. Meanwhile, locals are coming in greater numbers again. Thanks to Tina Rothery for her continued dedication to this blog.

Day 8 in the Cuadrilla House… 
and the good people gathered under blue skies and sunshine for a day’s tally of only three vehicles entering the site and all were delayed and slow-walked. A portaloo, a generator and a road-sweeper were all that was delivered on this day of high winds that forced the moving-in of the fencing so that if it was blown down, it would fall within the coned-off area rather than the traffic.

Numbers are recovering now as residents numbering 30+ came and went according to availability and the honks of support, get louder and more numerous every day. Site building progress is slow and sluggish; all they’ve done in the 8 working days is to put in a temporary lightweight pathway and some portable toilets and cabins – the site-road suitable for the heavyweight trucks to eventually come, is not started yet.

Incompetence and arrogance are key characteristics of Cuadrilla sites here in Lancashire and the safety failings and traffic plan breaches that happen daily, can now contribute to the two outstanding legal challenges. Today an ambulance was delayed at lights as the oncoming traffic had filled the single lane.

Thankfully we usually have one or more Councillors amongst the Protectors and video and photographic evidence is being sent to Lancashire County Council’s Planning Department for investigation.

A new notice has appeared on site, it’s a ‘Method Statement’ produced by Cuadrilla for the Health & Safety Executive and Lancashire County Council and deals with the slow-walking. No-one had any input on this and as far as we’re concerned, it does not have any impact or power… especially as the road it names is not even this one (PNR is the A583 NOT the A538 in Cheshire). We will continue as residents/Protectors to decide how each day goes, according to those who are there – whatever notices they put up.

The terminology in the notice is rather specific and one of the Protectors who is a Psychologist, noted the way it seemed designed to imply consent or agreement – despite no-one being ‘consulted’. She also noted that the impact of the document could cause suspicion and division and was probably why it was written that way.

There is an interesting article that deals with the methods used to demonise protesters and stir internal division to break any growing unity – 5 Ways Powerful People Trick You Into Hating Underdogs – it is worth your time and says things I recognise like:

– If you can just convince them it’s a competition, they’ll spend all their energy hating each other and none of it trying to fix the system.

– Find an example of a successful member of the group and exaggerate their power.

– Simply wait for a member of the activist group — any member — to commit a crime. Then the media will focus on the crime not the reason for the protest; because riots and broken glass make for even more exciting photos and videos than the demonstrations. The majority — who fears crime and instability above all else — will then associate the movement with violence from then on.

– Talk about how environmentalists are only in it for the money (in this case, Al Gore), and there you go — soon you’ll have common folks looking at rising gas prices and saying, “Thanks a lot, Greenpeace.”

– By highlighting the silliest of complaints from a group, you inoculate the audience against any real complaints that might come along later. Because they’re ridiculous complaints, they get all the coverage and become the face of the movement. And, as a result, no meaningful change will occur.

– With just a little nudge, the people – even the good people — will do it (label the protesters as irrational freaks) themselves.

I mention this because throughout this campaign to keep the UK frack free (and before it at Occupy), I witnessed the way our unity was clearly the biggest threat to those in power and how much was done to break it. Right now as we gather each day, we also witness the online provocation of those who don’t know enough about the situation or people involved, to know what is true. It is easy though to find truth if you research the people involved, the behaviour they have exhibited over time and the possible motivations behind their involvement.

Enough though now of the down-side… the 8-day rollercoaster looks to have hit a nice pause as the residents’ groups were told the site would not operate tomorrow (it didn’t last Saturday either) – we’re not trusting this of course and have residents who will be there anyway and will call and post online if there is any movement.

So back 9am Monday if nothing changes, please do join us for the roadside protest and/or the slow-walks. Expecting to start the week as we finished it and to respond to any changes as they come. We’re requesting somewhere for disabled parking as our elderly and less able bodied residents are struggling each day with the long walk and lack of a place to rest. Being hindered from the right to protest because of age or disability is unfair. Will update when the groups are told..

On a personal level I’m feeling the weight of the week like many others but there’s no way off this road and we’re here till we stop them. Thank you to the very many who do this stuff throughout the country and those who have only just joined us, it isn’t easy but it is essential.

Namaste x

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Day 7 at Preston New Road

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Thanks to Tina Rothery for her blog on today’s actions at PNR.

Day 7 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people keep on keeping on, whatever happens. The gathering began again this morning ready for the placing of the temporary traffic lights. It was clear by the concerned faces that this exhaustive business of trying to protect our communities from this industry, takes its toll. WE though, the people of this country… are all we have that is keeping the UK frack free and for those who do – it is impossible to walk away.

After actions yesterday that closed the road, the Emergency Plan is still in use which means truck movements are able to come from a different direction at times and there is heightened policing. What it doesn’t allow for though is the breaching of the Traffic Management Plan. As we have two outstanding legal challenges, it is useful that Cuadrilla prove our concerns right: twice today the fence had to be moved and ALL traffic from both directions halted, as three trucks could not turn in the limited space and were stuck. This… we knew would happen – it’s part of why our wise Council refused Cuadrilla’s unworkable planning application – their Traffic Management Plan was not made better when the Government overruled our Council and decided to try to frack us anyway.

We checked with the site about when the trucks were due and that we would be given access to the site to slow-walk each of them. All agreed. A brief note about this in light of questions: after the violent and dangerous scenes of Day 4 at the site, the residents who were shoved by fences and nearly mowed down by a reversing truck, insisted on the right to protest and importantly, the right to do it without harm. The police too told Cuadrilla that the situation was dangerous on this major road and they would have to facilitate protest. Cuadrilla had to comply. We are permitted 15 minutes per truck that in reality is half an hour with us getting in and out of the fenced area and position and it puts as in the site, disrupting flow and making them appear as if they don’t have full control of their work area. Today we only had three slow-walks as Cuadrilla stopped any other truck movements themselves due to the ones that got stuck and ate up all their work time.

Those Day 4 images are what brought concerned Protectors to us yesterday – showing what happens when any Protectors are attacked. We had warned Security that if they treated us this way, others would come and other tactics would be used. I don’t think they actually believed us… so although yesterday was challenging and full of tense uncertainty – it certainly served to show the truth and reality of the determined, passionate and committed opposition to this industry.

This struggle to keep ourselves frack free means EVERY day is different… just as each protection site has differed too. I actually feel more out of my depth with this particular site than others….even when those others were brutal with heavy-handed police lines protecting this vile industry, it made the method of protest, obvious. This way has always come with a guarantee of trauma, bad press and valuable Protector time wasted in courts and jails … it has also led to the exclusion of some residents who want to object but are scared or less able-bodied.

Here at this site on PNR, the residents have fought hard for years in councils, courts, parliament, streets, MPs offices, public meetings, industry events and everywhere in-between and clearly want to stop the industry. It is also clear though – they want to try it first in a peaceful, safe and yet effective way – how that looks is unclear but unfolding. We are finding our way and it is unfamiliar – but I think that’s good. I know my body will end up somewhere between a drill and earth if it comes to it but will do everything I can to NOT meet that stage. I don’t know any in this movement who will give-up or give-in until we drive the frackers out.

There is every chance too that the industry could screw this up themselves with their usual inept behaviour PLUS there is talk in business/finance press of ‘energy bubble’ and there is also hope then that if we can just stall it long enough (we’ve done 6 years so far) then the investors will pull the plug.

I have no idea if what any of us do is the best way or the one that will do the trick, I think actually that it is the diversity of our actions that will be key. Here there is a different way being tried in the hope of having a long-term impact rather than single disruption. This is also about building community resistance techniques. My hope is that each community that is under threat – creates inclusive actions that allow the members of that community to become activists when needed so that industries that bring threats to safety, can be resisted by local people effectively – without the need for experienced activists to have to travel to all the calls for help… with all the licenses, those who came yesterday, will never be able to be everywhere.

The week nears its end after tough days, tough lessons and a heck of a drop in temperature! There is a long road still ahead but a far longer one behind us and we near breaking point with this industry. Tempers have been frayed, friendships stretched to breaking and my hope is …the sore parts where we’ve rubbed each other the wrong way, will us knit closer together in the healing.

Arctic chill on it’s way… but on the bright side, no rain due tomorrow 

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