For immediate release
26th February 2017
Frack Free Lancashire
Frack Free Lancashire, supported by Friends of the Earth, Frack Off, Greenpeace, The Green Party of England and Wales, Reclaim the Power, multiple unions and other NGOs, saw a successful National Anti-Fracking Rally yesterday. The event was held at Maple Farm, just down from the site Cuadrilla is currently preparing for hydraulic fracturing, in the face of further legal challenges on the 15th March against the Secretary of State’s decision to overrule local democracy.
With an estimated 1000+ attendees, the audience heard many passionate speeches. Friends of the Earth’s CEO, Craig Bennett, talked about the urgent global need to reduce fossil fuel use. Labour’s MP, Cat Smith, also spoke to the crowds on democracy, along with a host of other community and national speakers. Musicians, face-painters and dancers entertained the multi-generational crowd, while the Nanas served their infamous helpings of cake, soup sandwiches and tea.
Representatives of groups travelled from across the country in solidarity with Lancashire and the Preston New Road community who are under threat from fracking company, Cuadrilla, after the government overrode local democracy and gave approval to carry out exploratory works at the Preston New Road site.
The event finished at 14.00hrs, when many people made their way up to the site entrance where a pagan group carried out a peaceful water blessing ceremony.
Frack Free Lancashire is disappointed with the number of officers deployed by Lancashire Police, the use of police resources and the closing of roads when it was unnecessary to do so. The Fylde Police’s quote of “Around 150 [protestors] proceeded to try to breach the fencing and to gain access to the site” is a factually incorrect representation of what happened. Around 15-25 individuals accessed the site of their own accord via an already-present breach in the hedge.
A large number of people gathered at the site entrance in a peaceful presence for the blessing, as is our right to do so. No fencing was “breached”. A loose Heras fence panel was pushed over, however, but there was an unnecessarily oppressive line of police and security guards blocking Cuadrilla’s site. It is not surprising people feel disenfranchised and enraged about the blatant facilitation by a Conservative government of an industry that was democratically refused entry to our county.
There were no arrests and the whole day was conducted in a peaceful spirit. Fylde Police’s account which was posted on Facebook, was biased, distorted and contained many inaccuracies.
After a week of us dealing with printed untruths by The Daily Telegraph with a resulting ongoing investigation by the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the quote now appears as if Cuadrilla themselves spoke it. Frack Free Lancashire will not accept such distortions of the truth without redressing the balance. We will seek to engage with the police this week and request an official amendment of their claims.
Overall, our National Rally day was a magnificent and peaceful event, where all age groups gathered in solidarity for family-friendly fun, with many pledges of support from individuals and organisations to join with us from now on, in our rapidly growing resistance against an unwanted fracking industry with no social license. ENDS.
Fylde Police Statement: