Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Escalating Police Violence Against Anti-Fracking Campaigners

PRESS RELEASE 8 March 2017

                              Frack Free Lancashire

  Escalating Police Violence Against Anti-Fracking Campaigners

Frack Free Lancashire is horrified by the escalating police violence that campaigners are facing daily at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site on the Fylde Coast, resulting with local farmer John Tootill being assaulted by police and arrested today.

Reminiscent of Barton Moss and Balcombe policing levels and force, peaceful protestors are regularly facing assaults and aggressive policing methods, including the use of pressure points to subdue peaceful protestors.

Frack Free Lancashire strongly believe that the right to protest is not being facilitated by the police, with repeated video evidence of aggressive, unnecessary force to facilitate the Cuadrilla over and above the rights of the community to protest against the undemocratic imposition of a dangerous industry that was voted against.

Kevin Blowe, the coordinator for the Networks for Police Monitoring (Netpol) said:

“Lancashire Police have a duty not only to ‘facilitate’ protest but to ensure the right to freedom of assembly is genuinely protected. When campaigners face uncertainty from one day to the next about whether they might suddenly face arrest or the prospect of disproportionately violent policing, this fundamental right is threatened.

“Once again, we urge the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, to publish a plan for the policing of protests containing a clear set of minimum standards and expectations about police conduct and tactics. They need to start listening to local communities about the right to protest against a site that has been overwhelming rejected by the people of Lancashire.”

Councillor Miranda Cox from Kirkham, stated:

“We have witnessed and experienced an increase in police numbers and a gardening of tactics. At times it has felt that we are being policed as if we are in a riot situation. Clearly there is a balance between public safety and public order and the right to protest, at present the balance appears to tilt in favour of industry rather than the protesters. Arrests appear to be used routinely.

Claire Stephenson from the Preston New Road Action Group said:

“The escalation of aggression by the police into what can only be described as gratuitous violence, seems inextricably linked to Francis Egan’s pleading visit to the Home Office to ask for governmental intervention on anti-fracking campaigners in Lancashire. The community and campaigners have been treated with utter contempt. Assaults carried out by police on protestors have caused many injuries, including two of our councilors. The daily planning breaches that are occurring, without consequence for Cuadrilla, clearly demonstrates the inadequacies of this non-starter of an industry and its imaginary regulations. The bias is staggering and we will continue to strongly, but peacefully, resist.”

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

  1. Photos attached, with attribution as required for photographer Peter Yankowski’s image.

 

John Tootill arrested

 

pnr-170301-peter-yankowski-6-1

 

PNR Solidarity Saturdays at Maple Farm – every Saturday!

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 get-togethers 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 for sale, information sheets and plenty of people who can answer questions.

You can park either at Maple Farm or at the rear of World of Water. If travelling by train get off at Kirkham and get the 61 bus just outside the station – there’s a bus stop very close to Maple Farm on Preston New Road. If travelling by bus from Blackpool or Preston, you need to catch the number 61 and get off at Maple Farm.

We do hope you can join us – the first few have been very popular and the cakes just get better and better!

Cuadrilla attempts to renew injunction on Preston New Road site

From Drill or Drop. Please see the Drill or Drop post on this issue.

Cuadrilla, is going to court on Monday to try to renew an injunction at its Preston New Road fracking site at Little Plumpton, near Blackpool.

 

A hearing before a High Court judge in Manchester seeks to prevent access to the site, where work began in January in advance of drilling and fracking.

Notices about the injunction have been  posted at the site. The claimants named on the notice include two Cuadrilla companies and 10 owners of the land. The defendants are named as “persons unknown”, “persons entering or remaining on land at Little Plumpton & at Roseacre” and Tina Rothery.

How many rugby pitches Cuadrilla?

 

site2

This latest drone photograph of the Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road was taken on 25 February 2017. You may have heard Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan assure residents that the fracking pad will be no larger than a rugby pitch. Well that is some pitch Egan.

We have contacted Lancashire County Council planning department as well as Sajid Javid as this is a breach of what was agreed. So far we haven’t had a reply from either. How dare Egan and Cuadrilla patronise residents in this way. If you feel the same way please contact Lancashire County Council Planning 01772 531929 or 01772 534181 and contact Secretary of State Sajid Javid  Email: sajid.javid.mp@parliament.uk Website: www.sajidjavid.com; Twitter: @sajidjavid; Facebook: facebook.com/pages/saj. Let us know how you get on at RAFFgroup@hotmail.co.uk

 

egan

 

Photo by Cheryl Atkinson

FFL statement on Saturday’s national anti-fracking rally

For immediate release
26th February 2017

PRESS RELEASE
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:

Fylde Police statement

New anti-fracking lobby group set to be major player in run up to local council elections

FFUnited

PRESS RELEASE

                                       United We Stand – For Election!

24th February 2017

For immediate release

Frack Free United is a new lobby group against the fracking industry. It was launched on the 13th February 2017 in Yorkshire and looks set to be a major player in the run up to local council elections in May 2017.

Established in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, another area facing the imminent threat of fracking on its doorstep, the network is made up of campaign groups and communities opposed to the industry.

Frack Free United is encouraging the public to come to its website and find out where the candidates seeking to represent them stand on fracking.

 Member of the Lancashire group, Claire Stephenson, said:

 “Here in Lancashire, we are currently facing fracking being forced upon communities by central government, when the parish, borough and county council voted against it.

“It is the responsibility of local politicians to represent us and stand up for their constituents. We’ve worked with Yorkshire communities to be part of this initiative, so that local canditates seeking election or re-election can make their stance clear against fracking.”

Lancashire County Councillor Gina Dowding stated:

 “As a current councillor and a candidate in the forthcoming county elections here in Lancashire, I really welcome this initiative to pin-down candidates on where they stand on fracking.

“As a Green Party councillor I have been campaigning for decades on measures to combat climate change. The last thing that UK needs is a new fossil fuel industry trying to get established.

“We need every elected politician up and down the country to fight against this industry and to fight for renewable energy for our for our future.”

Notes to the Editor:

1)    Frack Free United is a network of residents and campaign groups who are united in protecting our countryside and communities from the threat of fracking, strengthening and building a progressive alliance from all walks of life and working together to oppose fracking locally and UK-wide.

2)    For more information see: www.frackfreeunited.org  

3)    Frack Free United on facebook: www.facebook.com/FrackFreeUnited

4)    Follow us @ @frackfreeunited

5)    Lancashire contact: Claire Stephenson, hello@pnrgroup.org.uk

Daily Updates on Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest

Tina Rothery (and occasionally Miranda Cox) writes a daily blog about events at the Preston New Road site. These are detailed posts about Cuadrilla’s activity, the actions of the protectors and police behaviour.

Tina is at the roadside almost every day and we are indebted to her commitment and dedication in writing her blog. You can access it here.

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 20.24.52

 

Stop Cuadrilla from breaking the rules on fracking

Fracking company Cuadrilla are itching to get drilling in Lancashire. They’ve already started work on site. All against the wishes of local people.

What makes this even worse is that they haven’t carried out all the water testing they are required to by new laws.

We’re repeatedly told our regulation will protect us from the risks of fracking. But Cuadrilla aren’t completing the year’s worth of water tests the law says they need to before they start the fracking process.

The Environment Agency, who help regulate fracking, can put the brakes on drilling in Lancashire until all the tests are completed by updating Cuadrilla’s fracking permit.

Cuadrilla’s permit from the Environment Agency has not been updated since these new rules became law.

Please ask the Environment Agency to insist Cuadrilla plays by the rules. Email the Environment Agency Chief Executive, Sir James Bevan, now. Please click here and send your automated message. Thank you.

Frack Free United launches to put fracking on the election agenda

Frack Free United, a new lobby group against the fracking industry, is being launched today (13 February 2017) and looks set to be a major player in the run up to County Council elections in May 2017.

Frack Free United is encouraging the public to visit our website to find out where the candidates seeking to represent them stand on fracking.

Our mission
To put Fracking on the election agenda and encourage debate on the issue in the corridors of power.

Frack Free United will encourage candidates to make their position on fracking clear by signing our Fracking Pledge.

We need to let the policy makers know we are all watching the actions of our politicians and how they respond to fracking at all levels of government.

As a grass roots election campaign from across the 14 counties affected by fracking, we are asking candidates of all parties to publicly oppose fracking in our communities and across the UK.

The FFU website says:

Communities across the country can stand up and vote for a frack free future. 2017 is the first opportunity to have your say. Thursday 4th May is the date of the local government elections in England, Wales and Scotland, including combined local authority and mayoral elections. The majority of areas under threat from fracking going to the polls in May, and it is clear that to stop fracking we have to change the minds of those in power, or change the people who make the decisions. This is your chance to do so.

Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest

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

We currently have a presence at the site between 9.00 am and 3.30 pm each weekday and 9.00 am. 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. A Facebook page has been created to keep you up-to-date with events.

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

 

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

« Previous PageNext Page »