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Activists launch national protests against fracking



Activists have superglued themselves to the doors at the entrance of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) building in London, in a protest against fracking.

The action was timed to coincide with a number of protests across the country, including the occupation of fracking firm Cuadrilla’s northern headquarters near Blackpool.

Campaigners have hung a banner from a bridge at Salford Media City, while others have staged a “die-in” protest at the Blackpool branch of HSBC, the bank providing services to Cuadrilla. 

The London offices of iGas, another fracking firm, have also been targeted.

Members of the No Dash for Gas campaign group say Defra was singled out because it has refused to publish the full findings of a report on the potential environmental impacts of fracking.

At 8am, three activists blocked access to the department’s main entrance, and two linked their arms together with a ‘lock-on’ device.  

“Why is it that 63 segments of the Defra report were blacked out from public view? What is it about the dangers of fracking that our government doesn’t want us to know?” said Lindsay Alderton, one of the campaigners superglued to the building.

“Keeping secret the impacts of shale gas extraction on the rural communities that it’s going to affect is shameful – the public has a right to know the effects upon their housing and local services.”

A Defra spokesperson said the department would not be publishing an unedited version of the report.

This comes just a day after hundreds of protestors marched along the Blackpool seaside. They were showing their opposition to the plans of fracking firm Cuadrilla, who hope to drill for shale gas at two sites just outside of the coastal town.

Lancashire council is expected to decide on Cuadrilla’s fracking applications in November. Supporters of fracking – the UK government among them – argue shale gas can be an important fuel in the transition to a low carbon economy.

They also insist that welcoming the fracking industry to Britain could lower bills and help secure the nation’s energy supply. 

However, opponents say not enough is known about the processes environmental impacts. 

Fracking works by blasting rocks with water and chemicals, which then fracture the rocks and release the shale gas or oil contained within them. This process has been linked to water contamination, an increased risk of earthquakes, and leakage of methane at drill sites.

Experts have also warned that much more research is needed into the possible effects of fracking on human health.

Photo: Adam Vaughan ‏via Twitter

Further reading:

Hundreds of anti-fracking protestors to march on Blackpool Pier

Hundreds begin to arrive at anti-fracking campsite near Blackpool

Thousands plan to protest against Cuadrilla fracking in Lancashire

Cuadrilla seeks fracking permission in new Lancashire site

West Sussex council rejects fracking bid